Four Kids; Four Tidbits

Blogger’s Note: Thought I’d share a little bit about the family from the past few weeks. Just random stuff. Little things …

I was digging through a closet and found a stack of National Geographic magazines from the turn of the century (the 21st Century, unfortunately). The April 2000 issue has an open-mouthed great white shark on it, and as soon as I saw it, I had a flashback to when Brendan was about three years old. I flipped it open and found a feature story called “Yemen United.” I flipped several more pages and found a full-page portrait of a dark-skinned, graceful Yemeni girl, her face more African than Asian, with deep brown eyes, wearing a purple headscarf with black flowers, a colorful floral-and-stripes dress, and a beaded necklace and silver rope chain around her neck.

I showed the cover it to Brendan. “Do you remember this?” I ask.

“Yeah,” he said. “We watched a show about those sharks.”

I open to page 52. “Do you remember this girl?” He is confused by the question and shakes his head no.

“She was your first crush,” I tell him. “When you were three, you used to find the shark magazine every night, look through it until you found this picture, and tell this girl, ‘Good night.'”

He looks embarrassed. “Really?” he asks.

No reason to be embarrassed, Bren. She’s beautiful.*

* * * * *

The Easter Bunny brought the kids Night at the Museum on DVD. Sunday afternoon, Trevor said he couldn’t wait to watch “Hotel After Dark.”

Later in the day, one of the kids said something about the Easter Bunny laying eggs in our house. He or she quickly changed it to hiding eggs, but the whole deal got a big laugh .. and got Trevor thinking.

“I know!” he said. “What if it was Christmas time, and Santa was a polar bear that laid presents!”

* * * * *

After Mass the other day, Father M called Gabriel (and the rest of us) into the vesting sacristy to give Gabe something. Because our middle son thinks he may want to be a priest when he grows up, Father had hinted that he had communion set of some sort for Gabe to practice with.

Gabe was so excited, but almost had to be pushed into the sacristy because it felt “off-limits” — like he was backstage without a pass. Father turned to him, smiling, and presented him with a long purple cleric’s stole, which appeared hand-woven south of the border. “You must always kiss it before you put it on,” Father said, and Gabe nodded, wide-eyed. Then Father gave him a large brown stoneware chalice and paten with the Words of Consecration on their rims. He took them, and stared, and said next to nothing.

Jodi and I both thanked Father, then coaxed Gabe to do the same. He did, haltingly. “We don’t use clay in this church,” said Father, “but this is a real set. Someday, when you’re ordained, you’ll get your own set, but you can practice with this one.”

Gabe said nothing, but nodded. “I think he’s in shock — a little overwhelmed,” I said.

As we walked to the car, I told Gabe that I had thought Father was going to give him some sort of kid’s set: a tin cup and plate, or something. “This was very generous of Father,” I said.

“Dad,” he said, “when I didn’t say anything right away, it was because I was surprised, and overwhelmed, and a little disappointed all at once, because I thought it would be gold, and it wasn’t. I didn’t know it was a real set.”

I told him that I understood how you get something in your head, and when it comes out differently, it can disappoint. “But remember Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? When Indy had to pick the right Grail and drink from it, but if he picked wrong, he would die? Of all those beautiful cups, which was the right one?”

Gabe’s face lit up. “The carpenter’s cup!”

“Right — the clay cup. Jesus wasn’t rich man, and neither were his disciples. He wouldn’t have had a gold cup!”

You should see him now: he kisses the stole, puts in on, and carries his chalice and paten with such care!

* * * * *

Emma has been working for several weeks, 10 to 15 minutes a night, to read Beverly Cleary’s Runaway Ralph. It was slow going at times — a “stretch” book from the get-go, since she’s just finishing first grade. But she insisted, persisted … and today got 10 out of 10 on her Accelerated Reader quiz, which means she understood what she read. Yeah, Rosie!

* * * * *

* I’ve search the Web over, and cannot find this photo, and I don’t feel right about scanning it. The photographer who shot it has books of famous National Geographic portraits and photos, including this famous Afghan girl. He does good work, and I’m sure he protects his copyrights.

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