My perspective on work has evolved since we became the owner/operators of a small family restaurant. Before we assumed the role of employers, I hadn’t given more than a cursory thought to my children’s future employment situation. I mean, I knew they must have jobs and I recognized the importance of discussing vocations with my children, but I was unaware of the very real problems that are facing today’s youth when it comes to their long-term employment picture.
Now as an employer, I no longer enjoy that ignorance. Now I see first-hand the sad results of what happens when the workforce is ill-prepared for the duties of work.
Springtime in my fourth grade year, they lined us up, boys on one side, girls on the other. The boys got shuffled off into one classroom, while we girls got ushered into another. Giddy and curious, we whispered and fidgeted while the teacher set-up her materials. That was the day I first heard about periods. By the end of the lesson, I knew enough to utilize a maxi-pad and understood the general gist of the fact that my body could one day grow a baby.
Over the years, my knowledge pool would grow (I’d graduate to tampons, discover Motrin for cramps and get myself put on contraceptives). But aside from the basic facts of menstruation and the understanding that I was fertile, the extent of my education hadn’t increased far beyond that fourth grade lesson. No worries though, my annual trips to the gynecologist were enough to leave me feeling confident that I had it all under control. Continue reading →
“Your children are so well-behaved,” says the woman in the pew behind us. “We enjoy sitting near your family in Mass,” reports an older couple.
My husband and I hear these kinds of comments frequently. But before you judge me a braggart and quit reading, let me say that it has taken a lot of hard work (and maybe a bit of blood, sweat and tears) to make parenting look easy inside of the pew.
From the early morning battles to wake a sleepy head to the perpetually missing church shoe, we know first-hand the real life struggles (like loading 10 individuals into a maxi-van by 8am on Sunday morning). Additionally, there’s the antsy toddler and small-bladdered, elementary schooler to contend with during the gospel.
Truly, with 8 (strong) personalities in our care, you have to know that we fully understand the challenge of getting to and sitting in Mass every week.
Growing up as what you’d call a cradle Catholic, I lived in an area of the country where Catholic churches demarcated the boundaries within every town. In my hometown, there were three. Sacred Heart on the south-side, St. Thomas on the north-side and St. Valentine’s smack-dab in between. Each boasted a grammar school and your parish (as well as your allegiance) was dictated by your address.
Coming of age in that setting, I considered my faith a de facto component of who I was. Just like my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother before me, in the line of my great-uncle the priest and eldest aunt the Sister, I was a Catholic.
Standing there in the aisle of Toys ‘R Us, my eyes darted left then right. It was such a hard decision; choosing how to spend my birthday money.
I can’t recall how many aisles we’d visited, but I do remember settling myself among the baby dolls. There were babies that cried and those that wet. There were molded-haired dolls and ones with blonde locks ready for brushing.
After a busy morning of wrangling my children followed by an afternoon manning a craft table at a children’s Christmas Craft Fair, I decided to appease the requests of my younger crew members (aka sons and daughter under 12yo) who’d been begging to visit Santa at the mall.
I had a few errands to run beforehand (think clothes shopping with 4 less-than-interested companions), so I figured that the promise of a stop-over to see St. Nick would be ample incentive to keep the whining at bay. Continue reading →
With a wide range of ages in my household, I’m always looking for novel ways to include all of my children in the beautiful traditions of our Catholic faith.
During the season of Advent we try to keep the focus on anticipation and preparation. But it’s not always easy to keep those sugar-plum dreams of Christmas at bay for four weeks.
We’ve found that having a traditional Advent wreath can be a great help.
Hardly surprised that we were headed toward troubled waters again, I thought I knew enough to weather the storm (fairly) unscathed. After years of marriage, we’ve endured more than a few disagreements, but most of the time we’ve easily found our footing and resolved our differences.
Marriage is hard work for every couple, we knew that. Yet, when the winds of discord got stirred up this time, I almost abandoned ship. Continue reading →