Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mother Mary

“Happy Birthday, Dear Mary!”  Luke and Nina sang with glee earlier today as Jack gave a smile from his seat nearby and I brought cupcakes to the table.  Yes, we were having our first Liturgical Tea in a very long while – one in honor of the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Due to an unexpected health issue on Mama’s part, this Liturgical Tea was simpler than planned.  No Mary story from the Catholic Children’s Treasure Box.  No reading of Young Mary of Nazareth.  No related crafts.  To be honest, we almost no tea at all.  I just wasn’t sure I was up for corralling materials and cooking treats for it.

But, Luke woke so excited to have Mary’s birthday party, I couldn’t let him down no matter how “off” I was feeling.  Truly, just after waking up, our little man ran to the cupboard to find out muffin tins to lay on the table, ready to be filled with homemade cupcake mix.  He, then asked if we could use the “treat” whipped cream we’d bought.  How could I say, “no” to that:  young boy eager to celebrate Our Blessed Mother?  This Mama had to rally.

So, throughout the morning, the kids helped me make a variety of blue and white foods in honor of Mary – crockpot tapioca, blue (okay purple) gelatin wigglers and white cupcakes.  Then, they helped lay out a blue table cloth before decorating the table with a large picture of Mary, a number of smaller ones (our Mary Matching Cards) and a baby doll that they swaddled in blue to represent baby Mary.  From there, they worked together to set the table and lay out the foods we had made, along with a bowl of vanilla yogurt and some blue grapes (which I had purchased earlier in the week with visions of doing something fun for the Our Lady of the Grape Harvest traditions mentioned at Catholic Culture.  There's always next year!)  Then, unable to resist temptation, my two eager, sneaky preschoolers cut the gelatin wigglers into their own designs while I took out grape juice and milk in lieu of tea.

Almost ready for our "tea", we rummaged for some blue candles, popped them in some cupcakes and lit them.  The singing and blowing commenced, followed by saying a Hail Mary and asking Jesus and Mary to look after GG Mary (my grandmother who fell ill with pneumonia this morning at the ripe old age of 95).  Then we dined as we briefly discussed how Joachim and Ann prayed for a child in their old age, God gifted them with Mary and Mary, later, said  “Yes!” to God, so we could all receive Jesus in our lives.  This discussion ended with the kids' growing curiosity about how to make the whipped cream canister (a novelty in our household) work.  Ahh, the explorations of preschoolers.  Gotta love and laugh at them!  (Too bad our camera was already put away.)

Getting back on the Mary track, after eating, while the kids played, I read the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary aloud (which I, admittedly, had never really read in its entirety before and which struck me for all the wonderful descriptors it contains for Mary) and searched out Mary the Dawn on YouTube, since I had read about the hymn earlier, but could not recall ever hearing it.  My response to both was greater than the kids.  Indeed, they didn't really respond to any of this at all.  But, at least they were exposed to the prayer and hymn, so that they might wish to become more familiar with them at another time.  For, it is certainly true that what we do one time comes back another time...   For example, we had played Mary Matching in the spring.  Then, earlier this evening, when I could not find our 3-Part Life of Mary Sequencing Cards, Luke and Nina piped up that we should play Mary Matching “Go Fish” since we had the cards out for our tea time table.  We did, followed by the Slap Game.

Finally, we closed our celebration of Mary's birthday at bedtime when we sang "Happy Birthday" again before praying for Mary's intercession with a few things and continuing on with the rest of our bedtime prayers.

So, all in all, we had a delightful celebration of Mary’s birthday here today.  Song.  Cupcakes.  Games.  Prayer...  And, yes, reality!  I wasn't feeling my best.  The kids had their "moments".  I had mine, too -- you know, the less-than-best-model-Mama ones.  Thankfully, though, God expects none of us to be perfect and Mary, our gentle Mother, understands our humanity and is ready to intercede for us.  So, we cannot fail as long as we strive to know God and follow Blessed Mary's modeling.

"Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.’"(Luke 1:38)  If we endeavor in some small way each day to be equally open to God’s will, we will, ultimately, be blessed.

Happy Birthday, dear Mother Mary!

We'd love to hear about some of your favorite Mary games, traditions, recipes, hymns, etc.  Please leave a comment!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Your children are so very cute! You are making so many memories for them.


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