…and so they did!
That visit I wrote about? Well, this past Saturday was the day!
We had ten Novice brothers and their Novice Master, Father James Sullivan, come to visit at our house. They dropped in to see us, as promised, on their way back up the St. Gertrude’s. We spent the morning prepping what we could (because some things just can’t be spiffed up in a jiffy, like the balls stuck way up in the high roof gutters…) Little Gabey was beside himself with excitment, literally bouncing and careening around the house all morning. They showed up later than expected; once again reinforcing the fact that Dominicans do things their own way (which is part of their unique charm, seriously). Gabey started some serious whining and sulking and I have to admit to a bit of pacing myself.
Finally, they arrived! Literally, knocking on our door at the same time that Gabey ran out to jump them and we all felt time freeze for just a half second. Then I ran, (yes, literally) out to see them and ran smack into Peter Joseph for a huge hug. Maybe a tear or two but all simple grinning clapping happy. I hugged each and every Novice. They hugged me back. I hugged Fr. James and whispered my thanks into his ears. Then they all were tugged and hugged and hustled into the house and more hello’s were said and hugs were passed around.
We sat, we visited, they munched on cheese and fruit and crackers and salami and devoured MamaDo’s brownies and lemonade and iced tea was poured. Jokes were cracked, stories were told. Small boys dragged big ones in habits out to play basketball. Rooms were wandered.
Quiet, private long conversations were impossible but that wasn’t the point of this visit. This visit was a particular sort of gift. This visit was to soak in the presence of each other….
…to see the brothers interact, josh, joke, hang out with each other and us too. To touch base and touch habit, literally. To feast our, my, eyes on my boy and my other boys by extension…..for I feel something like a mom to them too. I looked at them with “mom eyes” and hugged them with “mom arms” and got them brownies and milk and coffee just like I do happily for my own. I’m putting up all our pics, just so you moms and families (if you’re out there) can scour them for your sweet sons….That’s what I’d do too!
If any of you other Novice Mom’s of these boys by chance read this blog…..thank you for sharing your son with us for a few hours. It was a pure gift. And know that I tried to give them a hug with your love in it and a snack with the same care you might. I saw them and listened to what they said and what they didn’t say. And this is what I saw and heard: These young men, they are so good. They are happy. They are well. Extrapolating our from my son, and applying to yours: They have grown into themselves. They are more themselves, in a fuller deeper way. They seemed very bonded together as a community; they seem very ready for first vows. They are totally ready and excited to see all of their family’s in a month too! It is so good. It is all good. I hugged them all again, stand in mom, as they got in the car. They have phenomenal manners. And Fr. James is one of the most gracious men I’ve met.
But, they all left smiling, for what it’s worth.
My stupid grin was on my face all afternoon and softened into a tired happy one later that night. But it filled my and our hearts. It gave us all a chance to connect that was everything. Everything.
Two hours, of jokes and hugs and smiles and brownies and wild children scrambling around these great young men. Bliss. I am so. Very. Grateful.