Wherever God has put you, that is your vocation. It is not what we do but how much love we put into it. –St. (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta
Day 122 of 365: Julia Mattei
Having just returned late last night from some much needed R&R with my main squeeze, who needed a few days away from work to recover from another tax season, I arrived home to Mom, Dad, Zach….and drumroll please….Drew. Drew’s no longer a college freshman, and Mom has already done all his smelly college laundry. Moms (and grandmas too) are pretty awesome like that. That got me thinking about who I might write about today and it occurred to me that tomorrow is May Crowning at St. Louis de Montfort. So, it seems to me that the Holy Spirit is nudging me about motherhood today. Therefore, I decided to share with you one of the most outstanding moms I know! Meet Julia Mattei. She’s pictured above with her husband, Steve, a gem of a guy who has been known to make a mean margarita.
Julia is a long-time friend and old neighbor of mine. She has four AMAZING children: Michael, Jack, Megan and Joey who also attended SLDM like my sons. My crew of three grew up around the corner from the Mattei clan. Because her oldest son is just a touch older than mine, Julia was the woman I kind of considered my “mentor mom” over the years. She cleared the kid hurdles just a bit ahead of me, and while they were still fresh in her mind, I would pick her brain. “Is he too young for a sleepover?” “What’s it like having a driver?” “Do you think he’s too young for a cell phone?” The questions never ended. Her advice, just like Julia, was always perceptive, thoughtful and flat out astute. She’s a smart, loving, and amusing lacrosse mama. Actually, she can be downright hilarious and she tells one humdinger of a story if you get her going. Good-humored and full of life, Julia is a mom I always wanted to emulate.
The Mattei and Thieme families have a little history. They came up to the lake in Michigan with us, and we made a trip or two later down to their cottage in southern Indiana. We enjoyed some backyard fun and our kids shared all the snow days. Michael and Jack showed Nick the ropes on how to go tubing behind a speedboat. Megan taught Drew how to bait a hook at their lake house and we all tried to keep Zach and Joey from running into the street or otherwise injuring themselves while the older kids ruled the roost. Julia is a generous and warm sister and daughter. She’s a smiler. The blessings of life are what she focuses on, and her extremely successful and jovial, positive kiddos are the result. I admire her tremendously for the way she has lived her vocation as a mother and daughter all these years.
I’ve got an unflattering nickname for Julia. She earned it fair and square though, by being a smart aleck right as I was in the middle of paying her a compliment. It might have been wine-aided on both of our parts….but it’s a dubious honor nonetheless. I’ll not share it here, lest I ruin my 120 day run of writing articles without using a single curse word. I’m sort of proud of the curious streak. You know who you are though, my friend!!
The month of May is devoted to Mary in the Catholic Church we both share and love, so it seems fitting to celebrate a truly faith-filled, joyful and grateful friend who is an incredibly fantastic mother. Julia, I admire you for the way you take care of your own mom and I am thankful to you for introducing me to the St. Augustine Home and the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Thieme family has been so blessed by you over the years….because you care for other people’s children just as lovingly as your own. As a friend and mentor mom, you’ve been, as the kids would say, “the absolute GOAT”. Love you, S.B…..