Give her something to eat.
--our Blessed Lord’s Words after He raises Jairus’s daughter in Mark: 5:43
I was somewhat surprised this year, as Advent prayers marched toward the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, that the three Sullivan young people--being ages, 11, 14, and 16--were brimming over with such excitement, as Christmas morning drew near. I was hoping that it would be so, as the prayers during Advent and the presents under the lovely tree should ideally be expressions of love, in thanksgiving, for the unmerited Gift of the Incarnation. I had been begging our Lady, as Seat of Wisdom, to help me keep the materialism in check, to help Mama and Daddy Claus, as we “made our list and checked it twice,” being mindful of what makes kids “naughty and nice.”
Well, the inspiration really had begun over Thanksgiving, when we were in Kentucky spending the long weekend and preparing a big family meal for the first time without our beloved “Mimi,” my husband’s mother, Joy Sue Blevins Sullivan, who died in March 2012 (Please pray for her and us.). Mimi was a wonderful cook and, quite possibly, one of the best mothers-in-law Earth and Heaven have seen. Even though she had had three open heart surgeries, she was a loving, involved wife and mother. As she was very disabled, she had piles of books and catalogues nearby her red sofa to keep her creative in the kitchen.
Back to our recent visit: Jerry’s dad handed me a pile of catalogues, “You might find something in these that you like.”
Looking at the pile, it hit me like a flash.
The King Arthur Flour and baking catalogue was right on top. I would order an heirloom crepe pan for Maggie. But what about our other daughter? Having two daughters only 19 months a part, I pray that I treat them equally in my love and attention, as did their beloved grandmother. When we got back to Georgia, I placed the order, happy they had the crepe pan, made in France, with a lovely, beeswax finish. The item I had chosen for our younger daughter was back ordered. I quickly chose something else, feeling a bit uneasy.
Maggie “wowed” us with homemade crepes over the holidays. One day, well in to the “Twelve Days,” Joybeth and I drove up to Dawsonville, Georgia, to the Williams-Sonoma Oulet store. There it was! And, half price! A scone pan.
“Mom, can we get this for me?”
“Yes!” I said.
“Darling girl of my heart,” I thought, for she is named Joy Elizabeth after her beloved Mimi, who was named Joy Sue. Both women have the God-given gift of carrying and transmitting joy and peace to family and friends. I believe, with all my heart, that our Mimi, like St. Therese of Liseaux, a long-time family intercessor, is spending her eternity, “doing good things on earth.”
I am about to put down my pen to hand wash the scone pan (…neither the crepe nor scone pans may be put in the dishwashing machine…). Joybeth made cinnamon scones after school yesterday, and took some this morning to her friends at school. She said over breakfast today, “Mom, there was honey in the recipe.”
“Maybe that is why they were particularly light and flaky,” I said. With tired eyes, our faces both softened into slight smiles, we said nothing and we nodded quietly – and, it was 6:30 a.m.
Earlier this month, during my morning prayer time, I heard a little inspiration for a sort of family motto/new year’s resolution, that “God is in the details.” This gave me both a smile and a chuckle, as I have a temperament challenge (sanguine!) in being at times distracted, in starting projects and not always finishing them or finishing them promptly. I am often tempted to be a “Jill-of-all-trades” type and not concentrate on the duty of the moment, as I ought.
A deeper lesson hit me a little later, that “God has us covered.” (I often pray that our Lord Jesus shower us, as a family, in His Precious Blood…) I think He knows that we need affirmation and constant reminders, especially during these somewhat turbulent tween/teen years (not to mention the intense anxiety of our crime-laden culture), that we are his beloved children, “with whom He is well pleased.” Praise be to Jesus! If He, our sweet Savior, cares so much about cookery pans, and teenage daughters, and slightly anxious mothers, how many more graces and miracles, through our Mother, Mediatrix of all Graces, will He give us to build the works of apostolate, works both large and small. Some of us may remember when those “not-sweating the small-stuff” self-help book were so popular, about ten years ago. I beg to differ.
Note: When the Sullivan’s son, Jay (now 11), was an infant, they had their family and home enthroned to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This month, at our section’s recent patron party, one of Mrs. Sullivan’s teammates received her patron card for her for this year. It was St. Therese of Lisieux, a saint beloved by the Sullivans, as she has answered, over 12 years, some very difficult life events with amazing graces. God loves the details of our lives!