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Every once in a while the Lord sends a day that will stay in the memory bank for all happy reasons. It was a gorgeous day in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with deep blue skies and a mild breeze. Today was Will’s long awaited organ concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. A nice crowd came out to hear him.
Will’s hard work and dedication paid off with a confident performance. As a parent, you watch in amazement as your children develop their God-given gifts. Today was one of those days. Emily was sitting on my lap which explains the rather jerky video I took of the concert finale, Acclamations by Langlais. The piece is powerful but dissonant. It ends, however, in triumph on a major chord. Will made that old church vibrate on the last notes.
Thank you to Will’s excellent organ teacher, Sr. Mary Jane Wagner, Michael Batcho of St. John’s who organizes the Fine Arts program at the Cathedral. I want to personally thank Pastor Mark Knappe and his wife Diane who attended the concert today. (That’s Pastor in the photo below.) They have been such an encouragement to Will, embracing him like one of their own. Will served as fill-in organist for their church for the better part of a year. He not only was able to use his music for the Lord in corporate worship, but gained valuable experience.
It was a joyful day, and the beautiful music took my mind off the awful things going on in our world and placed it on God, the author of all that is good.
“I have a little shadow…” begins a well-known children’s poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. Mothers of young children will very much get this post.
Emmy is my shadow, day and night. Without siblings to talk with during the school day, outside of preschool friends twice a week, I am the only conversational option. If you’ve never been shadowed by a preschooler you have missed quite a conversational experience. It goes something like this…
I’m trying to dash off a work email, and Emily at my elbow solemnly presents me with two plastic tea cups, taped together, one upside down on top of the other.
“What is it?” I ask.
“It’s a Wi-Fly.” (She makes it sound like Wi-Fi.)
“What is a Wi-Fly?” I ask.
“Yes, his name is Sophie. Do you like that name?” she asks, suddenly doubtful if Sophie is the right name for a male mouse.
“Well, Sophie is a girl’s name.”
“What do mice eat?” she asks with that startling change of direction at which preschoolers excel.
“It depends if they are indoor or outdoor mice,” I say, trying to remember the diet of mice. Nuts? No, that’s squirrels. I start typing gibberish on my email and give up.
“Emmy, I am a little busy right now, let’s talk in a few minutes, OK?”
“Watcha busy about?” (That’s the way she always phrases it.)
“Please send my photos to my email then,” she says in a very grown-up voice.
“Emmy, you don’t have an email, and what photos?”
She picks up several snapshots off my desk. “Here they are.”
I take them from her, and she sits on the floor next to me. As I attempt to finish the business email, she begins making various bird sounds, trilling and chirping and clucking and cooing. Great for concentration.
“Mama, I’d like a really big fish tank for my birthday. I could put it by my bed maybe? I could keep baby dolphins and whales in there.”
“That’s not going to work, Em. Fish tanks are a lot of work, and I have no idea where baby dolphins and whales can be bought. I imagine they’re pretty expensive.”
“What do dolphins eat?”
“What is plankton?”
“Small creatures in the sea,” I hazard.
“No, definitely not like chickens.” I’m picturing a chicken of the sea with a life-jacket on, flailing away.
And so it goes, from the time her feet hit the floor until her (early) bedtime, a constant flow of questions and ideas, some of which are downright astonishing. This phase of childhood is fun, but it is frankly, exhausting.
She informed me this morning that she is running a drive-through pet store. I sat out on the deck in the sun today, and she ended up selling me a rabbit, a mouse, a large dog and a Panda out the window of her playhouse. If you’re in the market for an exotic pet, I hear Emmy’s got some Llamas on sale cheap this week! Stop by before they’re all gone.
With Mother’s Day this Sunday, here are a few quotes I have enjoyed on the subject of motherhood. Both as a mother of six children, three of which are grown, two of which are nearly grown, and a preschooler (!), and as a grandmother of two (the second one is to arrive, Lord willing, in September), and also as a daughter, I have many thoughts on the topic of motherhood that are touched on by these quotes.
One good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters. - George Herbert
I long to put the experience of fifty years at once into your young lives, to give you at once the key of that treasure chamber every gem of which has cost me tears and struggles and prayers, but you must work for these inward treasures yourselves. - Harriet Beecher Stowe
My mother… she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like her.” ― Jodi Picoult
I know enough to know that no woman should ever marry a man who hated his mother. ― Martha Gellhorn
All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. ― Abraham Lincoln
A daughter without her mother is a woman broken. It is a loss that turns to arthritis and settles deep into her bones. ― Kristin Hannah
Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did – that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that – a parent’s heart bared, beating forever outside its chest. ― Debra Ginsberg
Mother, I love you so, said the child. I love you more than I know. She laid her head on her mother’s arm, and the love between them kept them warm. – Stevie Smith
Sweater, n. Garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.” ― Ambrose Bierce
Mothers can forgive anything! Tell me all, and be sure that I will never let you go, though the whole world should turn from you. ― Louisa May Alcott, Jo’s Boys
Before becoming a mother I had a hundred theories on how to bring up children. Now I have seven children and only one theory: love them, especially when they least deserve to be loved. ― Kate Samperi
Gilbert put his arm about them. ‘Oh, you mothers!’ he said. ‘You mothers! God knew what He was about when He made you. ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams
This is what we do, my mother’s life said. We find ourselves in the sacrifices we make. ― Cammie McGovern
The clocks were striking midnight and the rooms were very still as a figure glided quietly from bed to bed, smoothing a coverlet here, settling a pillow there, and pausing to look long and tenderly at each unconscious face, to kiss each with lips that mutely blessed, and to pray the fervent prayers which only mothers utter. ― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom. – Henry Ward Beecher
Most all other beautiful things in life come come by twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, rainbows, brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins, but only one mother in the whole world. – Kate Douglas Wiggin
The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. – Honore de Blazac
A man never sees all that his mother has been to him until it’s too late to let her know he sees it. – William Dean Howells
No matter how old a mother is, she still watches her middle-aged children for signs of improvement. – Florida Scott Maxwell
A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces that she never did care for pie. – Tenneva Jordan
A mom holds the hands of her children for a little while but holds their hearts forever. – Author unknown
*Note: I posted this a few minutes before the terrible bombings at the finish line there in Boston. Lisa crossed half an hour before the explosions hit. We are all praying here for the victims and their families. We also pray that those who caused this unspeakable carnage will be caught.*
My sister Lisa just crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon a short time ago with a net time of 3:27:37. I’m so proud of her!
Last night I posted a Welsh folk song and lullaby familiar to many. Tonight I am posting a more contemporary lullaby I have loved from the time I first heard it many years ago. The songwriter wrote it for his little girl he would tuck into bed each night. Many lullabies are written from a mother’s perspective. This one is different and very beautiful.
We had the supreme pleasure of babysitting for our grandson, Peter Samuel, this weekend. Aunt Mary and Auntie Emmy were able assistants. Uncle Will also had fun, and even Uncle Jonathan stopped by to spend some time with Peter. So far, Grandpa Tom wins the prize from Peter. He really likes Tom. Then again, anybody with any sense would!
P.S. This is my blog, so Grandma’s brag photos must now be endured.
One of my favorite memories will be Emily’s expression on Christmas Eve as Uncle Mike and Aunt Kris, Tom and kids and I sang carols with Will accompanying us on the piano.
As we began singing the first carol, Silent Night, Emily’s face literally lit up. She had never heard all of us sing together like that, let alone a song that she knew. With her eyes shining, she joined in. She has been singing that song for weeks with some of her own lyrics thrown in for good measure. The beauty and innocence and holiness of the first Christmas night was present there in Emily’s little face, and it blessed me to watch her.
Another precious moment came when I heard one of the family members telling Emmy that we celebrated Christmas because Jesus Christ came here to earth. With the literal, trusting mind of a child, Emily looked over at the door expectantly. In great excitement, she asked me,
“When is He coming?!”
The excited thoughts of every true child of God. “When is he coming?”
I hope it is soon.
We are enjoying a few days rest. Son Charlie said last night that this was the best Christmas ever. In God’s amazing kindness and providence, and thanks to the love of my sister and her husband and kids, Tom’s sister Kris and husband Mike, and the dear friends who called and emailed yesterday, it really and truly was a wonderful Christmas.
And…in another glad note, I am thrilled to write that my grandbaby, Peter, and his mother and dad are moving here to Wisconsin from Colorado Springs. Our son Sam has just taken the position of Communications Director for a wonderful pro-life organization here in the state, and my darling grandson, son and daughter-in-law, Laura, are going to live 15 minutes away! It doesn’t get any better than that for starting off the New Year!
All gratitude is to God, who is the source of all love and goodness through his beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! ~ 2 Corinthians 9:15