One day, about 15 or 16 years ago, we were thinking about getting involved with our church’s youth group. There’s a history here…but I’ll be brief. Sort of.

My husband and I met at church. I highly recommend it. We already knew that we had a major part of our lives that aligned with each other. I realize that isn’t a thing for a lot of families, but I can’t stress enough the value of being on the same page with your faith and value system. It’s huge.

Anyway, back to my point…

We had met at a church, and soon after we got married, we started to work with our church’s youth group. We had no kids yet so we could pour ourselves into planning activities and retreats for the parish’s kids. It was a lot of fun!

It wasn’t long before the ‘we had no kids’ part of our lives ended, and we welcomed Brendan into the world. Then Bridget…we were on a roll!

We kept up with the church work as well as my husband’s career as a journalist, which required some travel. This meant that I was, at times, on my own with the babies and working with the youth group kids as well. It wasn’t too long before we realized that it was time for us to take a hiatus from the youth group and focus on our growing family.

Enter Kelly (#3) and a move across the continental U.S. to Maine. Then Keegan (#4).

Finally, after finding our parish in the Great White North, we settled into a routine.

Routine is dangerous for Catholics… Abby (#5 ) came soon.

But, I digress.

As we were meeting with the gentleman from our church in regards to what service we could be, he asked if we wanted to speak to the congregation after Mass to introduce our new middle school youth group plan. I hesitated, “But nobody really knows us…we’ve only been here for a couple years.”

He just smiled and looked at me for a moment. Then he said, “You can’t possibly think that everybody hasn’t noticed your family yet.”

I was totally baffled. We were just living our lives…who was noticing us? I guess I was oblivious, or just busy.

While we thought we were just plodding along, I guess we were doing something unusual. We were teaching our kids to show love to each other. It seemed to me to be the natural thing to do, but I guess that’s unusual in this day and age.

We always tried to sit in the front pew at church. We wanted the kids to be able to see as well as not get distracted. Fortunately, in a Catholic church, the front pews are usually empty.

So it seems that people were noticing that Brendan was quietly reading a “God book” as we called them. We had a small collection of books, all stories relating to God, that the kids could only have on Sundays in church. In hindsight, that was one of my more brilliant ideas, but I didn’t have a clue then.

Maybe it was the countless times Kevin had one toddler on each knee and another with their arms looped through his. I used to just smile because it meant that I had breathing room for once.

Or maybe it was Bridget and Kelly taking turns holding their infant brother, Keegan, and showering him with kisses. I’m really not sure, honestly. But apparently, it was noticeable.

Either way, the lovely man at our kitchen table made me aware that something was going right with us, and I made it my priority to remember his words. He had no idea how much they meant to a busy mom.


One of the literary staples in our bag of “God Books.”

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