Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Ordinary Duties as We Return to Ordinary Time

The past few days I've found myself immersed in the ordinary duties of family life. After a week of a dozen house guests coming and going, I've been changing beds, doing laundry, putting away the punch bowl and party plates, cleaning out the refrigerator and making soup and freezer dishes from leftovers, picking up stray toys (I keep a stash for the grandchildren), and generally "redding up" as my West Virginia husband always says.

I actually like to fold laundry. Since my children were young I've made it practice to pray for those who will wear the clothes, sleep in the beds, use the towels, etc. Today I've also been praying to St. Anthony that all the items in the Camp Kreitzer lost and found will return to their rightful owners.

I find ordinary tasks soothing and a comfort. They remind me that amidst a world gone mad, a blessed family life can continue. As I straightened the family room I thought of all the evenings we gathered for night prayers and had an expanded "decade" of the rosary as everyone offered Mary a bouquet of flowers and a Hail Mary. To hear sweet little voices saying, "I give Mary a bouquet of blue bonnets" or violets, daffodils, tulips, roses, etc. reminded me of the little children of Fatima gathering wildflowers in the Cova. When we were finished Mary had quite a profusion of flowers around her virtual Camp Kreitzer shrine.

As I clear
off the dining room table (except for the puzzle still in process) I think of the birthday tea for two granddaughters using their great great grandmother's (my dad's mom's) hand-painted luncheon dishes. I'm sure she used them when she had her bridge club over although there are only seven sets left. Perhaps one got broken or lost or strayed. I also think of all the games played around that table -- and I don't mean video games. We learned a new word game (I can't recall the name) that involved giving clues but it was much less chaotic than Outburst or Password and even the middle school kids could play. It was lots of fun and lent itself well to large teams. The children's wilder games were relegated to the sunporch to separate their raucous laughter from the old ears of grandparents used to a quiet life.

What a lovely holiday! I'm never sorry to return to the more ordered and less chaotic routine of our "ordinary time," but there's always a twinge when everybody is gone. How blessed we are that our "empty nest" didn't last long. Our first grandchild arrived when our youngest hit double digits. I was missing babies when that little one filled my arms and they've never been empty for long since then. I don't really understand the grandparents who say, "Better you than me," when I tell them I'm expecting our 24th grandchild. I generally respond, "How can there be too many flowers in Grandma's garden?"

Every one of our precious grandchildren is unique and special: the "wild things," the calm, the dancing princesses, the musicians, the writers, the gamesters, the runners, the soccer and basketball players. Each one brings joy to our hearts and every night when Larry and I pray our rosary each of our five children and their families gets a special decade with offerings for their individual needs.

Ordinary time here is generally a peaceful time (although we are fortunate to have a family nearby who visits often) but I confess that I'm happy that Easter comes early this year because I always look forward to the return of my favorite people in the world.

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