I am measuring my son’s arm span this morning to fit him for a cross. Last night, I wove a crown of thorns. As I worked, I was thinking things like, “Hmmm…those thorns don’t look sharp enough. How do I make them sharp? Do I have enough big thorns?” I feel like I am in a really terrifying Twilight Zone episode!
We are putting on a Passion Play and my son auditioned and received the part of Jesus. The director spent quite some time preparing him for this role. Not only mentally and emotionally but spiritually. She is a nationally recognized professional who has been in all sorts of performances, but she shared with him that anyone who takes on the role of Jesus Christ is always in for a tremendous journey of faith. I can see that I am in for a journey, too.
When I found out my son had the part of Jesus, tears welled up in my eyes. I have such a deep devotion to our Blessed Mother that I have very intense feelings of her sorrow during her Son’s Passion. I am not sure how I will be able to be the Stage Manager while watching my son walk the Way of the Cross.
As I shared all of this with my dear friend, she turned to me and said, “How do you think I feel? My daughter is the tormentor!” We both laughed until tears ran down our faces. Thank you, God, for dear friends who can make us laugh when facing something difficult.
My younger brother has always been my chum. I’m not from England, so I really don’t know why that word came to mind, but it fits our relationship perfectly. I don’t recall us ever fighting as children. Sincerely, I mean ever! We are less than 16 months apart in age, but never felt in competition. He did, however, make my life quite interesting.
My brother has a brilliant mind. He has a photographic memory. When he took the aptitude tests trying to discern what work suited him best, the tester basically said, “Pick anything you like, you can do it all.” If you think I am bragging on him, you are wrong. This is a huge burden for anyone, especially a Christian: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” Yikes! All of this to set you up for the story of his kite.
One day, another brother of mine told me to come up to the third floor of our home. We lived in a large, old house with three stories, two staircases, and many bedrooms. A family of 13 requires some space! Anyway, when I came upstairs, I see my brilliant brother hanging out the third floor window. “What are you doing?” I ask. He smiles and shows me the largest spool of kite string I have seen in my life, “Flying my kite.” “What?” I say as I see that the spool is unwinding. My eye follows the string out the window. I cannot see the kite. It is so far away that it just looks like a string going up into the air. I ask my brother, “How long is your kite string?” He smiles and says, “At least one mile.”
I decide to get on my bike along with two of my other younger brothers and follow the string. It’s hard going because the kite flies as the crow flies, not as the streets go. We figure out a system, and between the three of us, we finally spy the kite flying like a dot way up in the sky about 9 blocks from our house. Right as we all see it, the string breaks and the kite starts flying away. We get on our bikes and chase it as it falls from the sky into a giant pine tree many more blocks away. There’s no getting the kite out of that tree whose lowest branch is a couple of stories high. We ride home to tell my brother about where we found his kite and laugh a long time at the thought of flying a kite out of the third-story window with string a mile long. Like I said, life was never dull growing up with my brother.
When was the last time you laughed so hard, you started crying? I mean the kind of laughter that is so contagious that everyone around you just starts laughing, too? I have to share a story about my youngest son. He has the ability to make me laugh harder than I ever thought I could. I hope this story gets you giggling at least.
We were driving home from school on a Friday. It was about a 40 minute drive one-way, door step to door step. I always packed snacks for the kids because I knew they would be starving no matter what. I especially knew that my youngest son would be hungry because he is a picky eater. Actually, I cannot really say those are the right words to describe him. Let’s just say his stomach cannot handle very many things well.
As we are driving, I start asking the usual questions, “How was school today? Did anything interesting happen during class or at recess? What was your high today? What was your low?” Each child is contributing, when I finally get around to my youngest son.
“What did you have for lunch today?” I ask. That mild question was actually quite loaded because it was a Friday during Lent, and we are Catholic. Lent means no meat on Fridays. Alternatives like peanut butter sandwiches were out because of all the peanut allergies these days. That’s a real burden for my son who seems to survive off of peanut butter. Grilled cheese is out for him, too, because of a lactose intolerance. In a very casual voice he says to me, “Well, I had slop on bread.” Without missing a beat, my older child says, “Hey, that wasn’t slop, it was tuna salad, and I liked it.”
I almost veer the minivan off the road. The delivery is hysterical. I am crying now so hard that my children are worried that I’m going to wreck. All I can see in my mind’s eye is a Cafeteria Lady with a hair net scooping up a big ladle of “slop” from one of those giant commercial-sized stainless steel pots and slamming it onto a measly piece of white bread. Tears are running down my face as I try to navigate around the roundabout. All of us are laughing and I seriously cannot see where I am going. I finally pull it together as we start down the on ramp to the highway. Oh my. Slop on bread–such a delightful meal. Next time, I’ll tell you the story of my son’s noodles-in-a-bag incident!