Archive of ‘Mass’ category

To My Nani Nine Years Later.…..


Nine years ago today was one of the most emo­tion­al­ly thrilling and equal­ly dev­as­tat­ing days of my life. Just the day before, I had an over­whelm­ing urge to take a preg­nan­cy test, some­thing that had nev­er even crossed my mind before. I was home alone and stared down at those two pink lines know­ing that my life was about to change in the most pro­found way, but hav­ing no idea what that real­ly meant. My first incli­na­tion was to tell my Nani, even before my hus­band or my moth­er. She had been my very best friend for my entire life and I always shared my biggest news with her.

She was very ill, in the hos­pi­tal, and I knew that my time with her was like­ly com­ing to an end. But she was a cat with nine lives and I hoped that she would give us all one more mirac­u­lous recov­ery. After shar­ing my news with The Grillin’ Fool, we decid­ed to head out to see her and tell her about our baby.

For the past few days the hos­pi­tal had been filled with our extend­ed fam­i­ly, vis­it­ing, pray­ing and lov­ing our Nani. There wasn’t a sin­gle moment that a cous­in, Aunt or Uncle wasn’t keep­ing vig­il over her bed. Because of the con­stant flow of vis­i­tors, I had not had a chance to tell my own par­ents that we were expect­ing. I felt a bit guilty, but knew that ulti­mate­ly they would under­stand why I chose to tell her first. I opened the door to her room and wait­ing inside were my three broth­ers, my par­ents and Nani lay­ing peace­ful­ly in her bed. Just my imme­di­ate fam­i­ly, no one else. I knew that God intend­ed for us to share this news right then and there with all of them.

I leaned in, kissed my Nani on the fore­head and said,

Nani, I have some­thing to tell you. I am going to have a baby.”

You could hear a pin drop. There were looks of shock on the faces of my fam­i­ly, but no one said a word. She opened her eyes, ever so slight­ly and smiled.

Oh hon­ey. I am so hap­py about your baby. That makes my life com­plete.”

The next day, she passed away. My heart broke in a way that I had nev­er expe­ri­enced. But even in my sor­row, I took solace in the fact that my final con­ver­sa­tion with her was to share the most amaz­ing news of my life and I knew that she would watch over me through­out my preg­nan­cy.

I believe in God, I believe in mir­a­cles and I believe in signs. I have felt her pres­ence in my life many times in the last nine years. As I was prepar­ing for Hand­some #1’s bap­tism the May after she died, Mau­r­mi brought over the sil­ver cup that Nani had given to me as an infant. It was hor­ri­bly tar­nished and the inscrip­tion was illeg­i­ble. Mau­r­mi scrubbed and pol­ished that cup until it looked brand new. She hand­ed it to me and as I read the engrav­ing, my heart skipped a beat.

Colleen McK­er­nan Dilthey

April 22, 1979

Most infant cups have the baby’s birth date on them. My Nani had mine inscribed with my bap­tismal date. That seem­ing­ly benign date also hap­pens to be Hand­some #1’s birth­day, the boy whose bap­tism we were prepar­ing for. She was there the day he was born, she was there the day he was bap­tized and she was with us in my kitchen as my moth­er and I cried star­ing at that cup.

Life has moved on in nine years and mine has changed so very much, but I don’t think that she has missed a thing. Sure, I wish that she was still here with me, but as I have grown old­er and wis­er, I use that word very cau­tious­ly, I real­ize that you have to live your best life while you are here on earth and your guardian angel will take care of you. When I need a lit­tle boost, I think of her and the won­der­ful things she did for me. I could write a book just about her and the Fri­day nights that I spent at her house watch­ing Love Con­nec­tion and eat­ing peanuts and drink­ing Sprite in bed.

While I miss her like crazy and I wish she was here, I watch her daugh­ter and she has embod­ied the very best of her own moth­er and is becom­ing her. My Nani was at every game, every per­for­mance, every thing that she could be for her grand­chil­dren. She was the ulti­mate cheer­lead­er and we could do no wrong. If you look out in the stands at St. Simon today, you will see that same fierce defend­er of her grand­chil­dren with a smile on her face and more love in her heart that any­one I know. Her name is Mau­r­mi and her grand­chil­dren adore her.

For the first 28 years of my life, I watched my Nani and my moth­er with envy. They had the kind of rela­tion­ship that many moth­ers and daugh­ters dream of hav­ing. I was close to my moth­er, but noth­ing like the two of them. My Nani had been my very best friend and it wasn’t until she was gone that I tru­ly began to appre­ci­ate my own moth­er for the wom­an that she is. I used to be a bit jeal­ous of the way that my children’s faces light up when she comes in the room, but then I remem­ber my own child­hood and real­ize that is the way it is sup­posed to be.

As a mom, I admire her. I know that she learned from the best in the world and I want like hell to be like them. No words can accu­rate­ly describe the way that I feel about my mom. She is my best friend, my part­ner in crime and the source of more laugh­ter than any per­son on the plan­et. Every min­ute that we spend togeth­er is cher­ished. She loves her fam­i­ly, her faith and her friends and will drop any­thing to help oth­ers. I can­not imag­ine what I would ever do with­out her. Many wom­en dread hear­ing, “You’re turn­ing into your moth­er.” To me, it is the ulti­mate com­pli­ment.

God sur­prised us last sum­mer and gave my hus­band and I a fourth baby. Like always, we decid­ed to keep the gen­der a sur­prise, tru­ly want­i­ng noth­ing but this bless­ing. I prayed for a smooth preg­nan­cy. I prayed for a safe deliv­ery. I prayed for a healthy baby. God grant­ed me each of the­se. Unlike my pre­vi­ous deliv­er­ies that all began in induc­tion, with baby #4 my water broke in the mid­dle of the night and we head­ed to the hos­pi­tal despite the fact that I was sched­uled to deliv­er via c-sec­tion a few days lat­er.

After painful con­trac­tions in the hall­way, even worse pains in pre op and mis­er­able pains before the spinal block was in, the surgery start­ed.

Before I knew what hit me, my doc­tor cheer­ful­ly announced,

Oh my God, Colleen, it’s a girl. It’s a girl!”

As I looked at my gor­geous pink bundle of love, I knew that my life was forever changed for the fourth time. I was once again inspired to be a bet­ter moth­er. I looked at my hus­band, both of us with tears in our eyes, and fell in love with him all over again. My heart was so very full. Togeth­er we have cre­at­ed an incred­i­ble fam­i­ly and I am so very proud.

That beau­ti­ful girl, Dar­ling, was named after my Nani and Mau­r­mi in the hopes that she will pos­s­es their spe­cial breed of mox­ie. I know that she is des­tined to make her mark on this world. Every day, I look at her sweet lit­tle face, and I hope that she and I will have the kind of rela­tion­ship that my mom and I and she and her moth­er had.

Nani, nine years has lit­er­al­ly been a life­time for me. I was just a girl when you left me, now I am a moth­er of four try­ing to get it right. You cer­tain­ly left an impres­sion on the hearts of those who knew you. Believe it or not, peo­ple still talk about you and your con­stant pres­ence when we were grow­ing up. It has not gone unno­ticed the impact that you had on your baby girl as she has tru­ly embod­ied your spir­it and con­tin­ues to make you proud con­tin­u­ing your lega­cy as the best grand­moth­er out there.

I miss you more than ever and I wish I could have you back for just one day to laugh and smile and eat of loaf of jel­ly toast in your kitchen. I know that you will con­tin­ue to watch over us all and to bless each of us in your spe­cial way. I love you so and appre­ci­ate what you have helped me to become more than I could ever explain. She is a fire­ball with smil­ing Irish eyes and I promise that your name­sake will do you proud. I can’t wait to see you back in two and two.…..

Because I’m Bad, I’m Bad.….….…really, really bad.…..

I should have seen it com­ing. I should have been pre­pared. All of the signs were there. How could I have been so stu­pid? There were both phys­i­cal and behav­ioral changes, and yet I did noth­ing to pro­tect myself or to be proac­tive.
He began to grow a majes­tic, yet angry mane
He danced on tables with­out fear
As his broth­er looked on in hor­ror
This hap­pens to novice par­ents, not experts like me. But this morn­ing, as I gazed into those beau­ti­ful blue eyes, it was as if I could see the flames flick­er­ing. I real­ly only have myself to blame.  I have got­ten cocky. One good week at Mass, and all of a sud­den my son is ready for can­on­iza­tion? Not quite, after this morning’s per­for­mance, I think that he may be closer to excom­mu­ni­ca­tion.
It start­ed out inno­cent enough, real­ly it did. We arrived at 10:30 Mass, my strap­ping lads and I, and made our way to the cry room. Bren­nan was get­ting a bit rest­less by the end of the first prayer, but with Thomas the train in one pock­et and a bag of Kix in the oth­er, I was gold­en. He began with the cho­rus of “Up, mom­ma, down, mom­ma, up mom­ma, down, mom­ma.” So, I plugged his mouth with a sip­py cup of apple juice and went on about my busi­ness. Unbe­known­st to me, Hand­some #2 was wind­ing up on the pitcher’s mound ready to beam an unsus­pect­ing parish­ioner in the head. I watched in hor­ror as the cup went fly­ing through the air, miss­ing a gen­tle­man, by mere cen­time­ters.  Humil­i­at­ed, I sheep­ish­ly made my way to the front of the room, apol­o­gized and sat back down.
(Please note, this was tak­en after Mass, and is mere­ly a rein­acte­ment, well sort of, he was real­ly try­ing to get out)
As I made my way back to the pew, he stood on the bench, looked at me and cack­led. He ran back and forth, taunt­ing me with his eyes, “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, you can’t get me.” It was like try­ing to catch a fish with my bare hands, I final­ly grabbed hold of him and he slipped right through my arms and made his way to the cry room door. “Help, help. Peasseeee help!” He screamed as if he was locked in a cage filled with live ani­mals. I grabbed him again and attempt­ed to sit him on my lap. But instead he made him­self as stiff as a board and howled in agony.
At this point, poor Hand­some #1 tried every­thing to get him to calm down. I think he was afraid that the child was either going to burst into flames right there, or that I was going to make good on my threat to leave some­one behind. After hand­ing over trains, cere­al, cups and his own prized pos­ses­sions Hand­some #1took a leap of faith and lead his broth­er by the hand to the stained glass. At this point, my heart melt­ed. He stood and patient­ly told his baby broth­er about the col­ors as Hand­some #2 point­ed and repeat­ed. It was beau­ti­ful to see the love that my boys had for one anoth­er and I beamed. That was until Hand­some #2 caught my stare and imme­di­ate­ly began to scream. “House, Mom­ma! House now! Now! Now!”
Imag­ine this with­out Mau­r­mi and wax fig­ures and insert stained glass and peo­ple try­ing to pray in silence

I soon real­ized that the rest of the cry room’s inhab­i­tants had moved far to the left of the room, I think that they were afraid that the pea soup he was cer­tain to spew was going to stain their Sun­day best. For the next 15 min­utes we fought, posi­tion after posi­tion for him to find com­fort. We nev­er found that mag­ic spot, but it was time for Holy Com­mu­nion and a nice walk. You would have thought that he was walk­ing on to a stage, his demeanor changed imme­di­ate­ly as we walked out of the door. As we made our way down the aisle, he sweet­ly waved bye-bye and said Amen! Mak­ing all of the old ladies smile.

As Mass came to an end, we walked out to the park­ing lot and I was stopped not once, not twice, but THREE times to tell me how dar­ling and well behaved my chil­dren were. I smiled sweet­ly, said thank you, and inhaled deeply to be sure that I was not know­ing­ly let­ting any­one who had clear­ly hit the Bloody Mary bar before church dri­ve home and kill any­one.
I buck­led Bren­nan in first and made my way to the oth­er side of the car to get Finnegan set­tled. He is a big boy and buck­les him­self, so it is a fast effort. As I turned on the car, buck­led my seat­belt and checked the review mir­ror, this is what I saw……….Perfect…….