Summer Solace

It happens every year:  after weeks and weeks of summer break, there are times when I just can’t take one more minute of family “togetherness.”  The bickering.  The teasing.  The incessant need to be entertained.  Sometimes I let the kids out of the car at the bottom of the 500-foot driveway and make them run home, just so I’ll have an extra ten seconds of peace and quiet as I park in the garage.  On really bad days I slip into my room, locking the door for good measure.

Even so, they find me in no time. “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. MOM!”  (Cue incessant pounding.)

*Sigh.* “Yes, dear?”

Long pause. “Are you in there?”

Mentally I hunt around for a suitably pithy retort: “Nope, this is the answering machine.”  But even on very hot days, that won’t fool them for long. Unless I send them on a treasure hunt for popsicles in the freezer. That could buy me another five minutes or so.

Today we ran out of popsicles, so I flopped on the bed and pulled my favorite quilt over my head to drown out the screams.  Is this the position God assumes when I come to him again and again with the same request . . . sending in saintly enforcements as my sense of urgency increases?

Do my heavenly brothers and sisters ever wish I didn’t pester them so much?  The other day, it was my car keys.  I’d misplaced them for the third time this week, and we have electronic keys that cost over $200 to replace. So when I couldn’t find them, I told my husband about it, and when he couldn’t find the keys either I suggested that he put St. Anthony on the job.

Craig rolled his eyes. “Seriously?” I assured him I was completely serious.  So he did it – grudgingly. And we waited. Two more days, we waited. Then Sunday afternoon as I was putting away Craig’s Sunday suit, I noticed my key ring . . . dangling from his tie rack.

I still don’t know how the keys got there. But that didn’t stop me from waving them in front of Craig’s face. “See?! Anthony was leaving them where YOU would find them, since YOU were the one who asked for his help.”

“Umm-hmm,” he grunted noncommittally. Then he looked at me, his eyes alight. “But maybe we can get him to find you a job. Is there a patron saint for the unemployed?”

“Well, St. Joseph is the patron for workers. But then, we’re going to need his help to sell the house, so maybe we should hold off on that one.  St. Jude is good for lost causes – and I have been on a lot of interviews lately (like every other unemployed person in the state of Michigan).”

His eyes rolled again.  “Oh, you’re not a lost cause. Hey, St.  Joseph! Send Heidi a job!”

The next day, I got called for a second interview.

I don’t know if the saints crave “summer solitude” the way I do.  Maybe not, since they’re perfect – something I cannot possibly claim.  Perhaps they just smile and pluck all our intentions out of the air like so many ripe, juicy blueberries. And then they go have a Popsicle.

Jesus, I trust in you.  Help me to be as patient with my children and their needs as you are with me and mine. Help me to become the kind of mom I’d want my daughter to be one day. And for all your blessings, from car keys to summer breezes, make me truly thankful.  Amen!

Heidi Hess Saxton, new Editorial Director at Ascension Press,  is the author of Raising Up Mommy and My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories. Heidi blogs at A Rosary for my GPS, an online resource for mothers of adopted, fostered, and special needs children. She and her husband foster-adopted their two children in 2002.