We had one last hurrah Wednesday night before his trip. The bishop had invited all the altar servers of our diocese out for a hot-dog picnic and to watch the Red Hawks, our city’s baseball team, take on a Canadian team on a beautiful summer night.
Here we are with our parish’s youngest and oldest priests: Father Metzger, recently ordained and assigned to our large parish, and Father Cote, retired but still helping us out on occasion. They were fun to mingle with. My favorite line of the night, which I record here for posterity, was when my hubby, Troy, offered some of his hot peanuts to the priests, and as Father Cote tried to figure out how the whole peanut-eating thing works, he asked Father Metzger, “Where do I throw the shells?” To which the young priest replied, “On the ground, Father. It isn’t a sin!”
Our youngest guy enjoyed seeing the Knights of Columbus help lead the night, and learning that his Great-Grandpa Joe had been a Knight and used to dress the part, too:
Our team lost, but a good time was had, especially by our youngest, who takes in life with a certain zeal. Indeed, in our family of mostly introverts, I can safely say that our “baby” is the odd-man out, with enough energy for all seven of us combined.
When the two of us excused ourselves from the stands for a bathroom and snack break, he insisted we check out the Red Hawks accessories store. He’d brought some cash and it was burning a hole in his pocket. He happily settled on the foam Red Hawks “claw,” then proceeded to eat his Dipping Dots with the claw.
The headband was all earned. When it was announced that those with dance moves had a chance of earning one, our extrovert immediately sprang up from his seat and set about doing what was needed to get one of those headbands. And fling, one landed in his lap.
Earlier, a family friend who caught one of the coveted T-shirts that had been shot out of a propelling device into the crowd gave his “win” to Nick. So our guy was well-attired by the time we left the game!
I am celebrating him today because by the time this posts, he likely will be on his way to Kansas with his grandmother, my mama. She has two dear college friends and rotates visiting them every other summer. Years ago she began taking one grandchild a summer on her adventures, thereby offering them their first plane ride. After many years of waiting, our youngest finally gets his turn.
Last night, sitting in the baseball stands, we kept seeing planes go by overhead, being near the airport and in the flight path. “Just think, two days from now, you’ll be up that high,” I told him. We marveled at the thought of it. He’s excited, and maybe a little nervous, too. It’s a big thought, after all.
And, I’ll admit it, I’m excited and maybe a little nervous too. Happy for him and my mom, and a little sad, too. He’s been gone a lot this summer. First to camp. Then to his grandparents’ home near the lake. We just got him back and now he’s leaving again.
But this is the stuff summers are made of. Adventure, relationship, expanding one’s mind by experiencing new things. So more than anything I am excited for him.
As always, though, there will be a part of my heart lurching for the one who is away, and a mama can’t help but go on living but with part of her heart suspended until her little chickadee is home again.
Life will be quieter for a while, in some ways more manageable, and in many ways, less sparkly. This guy isn’t always the easiest child with his wild, wide range of strong emotion. But he’s also creative, fun-spirited, bright and loving, and that is what will be missing here most of all when he’s gone.
Have fun baby bird. I can’t wait to hear all about it. Fly home soon, love!
One final note today. As we left the stadium, the most brilliant sunset appeared and I had a good shot of it from where I was standing before descending the stairs to the parking lot. With the Canadian wildfire smoke getting in the way of most sunsets these past weeks, I haven’t gotten a good glimpse of one for a while, so felt particularly grateful. Only minutes later, I learned that a very special young lady in our lives lost her precious father to ALS just a short time earlier. So, I am dedicating this sunset to this dear family, and ask for prayers for them. “May the perpetual light shine upon you, Mark Loock.”
Q4U: What memories do you have of summer adventures, of your own or those your children have taken?