Mad for…Rita

The greatest marriages are built on teamwork…a mutual respect, a healthy dose of admiration and a never ending portion of love and grace. (F. Weaver)

This week, a really special couple, Rita and Danny O’Malia, celebrated 50 years of marriage. I’m almost halfway there, since Tom and I will reach the 25 year mark this coming October, so I think I am just beginning to realize what makes a marriage great. Folks like my own parents, my in-laws and the O’Malias have all given me great clues about how to get there from here. Several days ago, I wrote about Danny O’Malia and today I’d like to say a few words about his amazing bride, Rita.

Rita is the mom and grandmother to a large and amazing group of folks, many of whom are close friends. I consider her a friend, too, actually. She’s sassy, thoughtful, and incredibly upbeat. She makes the world brighter with her sunny face and warmth. It seems to me that as one half of a terrific couple, Rita knows interiorly that a successful, long marriage isn’t about being perfect but accepting with love and grace the flaws of one another. I kind of adore the witness of both she and Danny on this point and have tried to remember that in my own marriage.

Straightforward, forthright and outspoken, Rita is stunningly generous with her love and her time. She’s nearly always had a grandchild under toe when I’ve seen her in the years I’ve known her, and she’s got the gift of hospitality without a doubt! She’s genuine and utterly unafraid to tell it like it is! Nothing appeals to me much more than authenticity, so this is probably one of the reasons I most respect her.

Rita is a faith-filled woman who always seems to be busy helping others. She fiercely loves, generously forgives, and her heart is beautiful. She’s a blessing to all and an example to everyone who knows her when it comes to perseverance through traumatic crisis. I cannot imagine as a mother myself conducting myself with the grace that Rita has displayed after the loss of a child. She’s the example of living our faith, trusting that God’s grace is sufficient, even when our hearts are pierced to inconsolable.

I want you to know, Rita, that I miss Shannon too. I continue to pray for you and your husband, Con and Danny, Jan, Colleen and all the rest of your clan. You honor Shan’s incredible memory by the way you live your life, by your frequently offered smile, and especially by the way you treat others kindly. CONGRATULATIONS on your 50th Anniversary! You are a fantastic human and I have mad respect for you!

Mad for…Andrea

May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord will be with all of you. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

Today is the birthday of a beautiful fellow Guerin Catholic mom. She’s pictured above (far right) with her husband and her five gorgeous kiddos! Her oldest son, Matt, who is sitting just in front of her in this terrific family photo, played basketball with my middle son Drew and that is how I first met her. What is it with me? It’s always a smelly gym, ha?!! Matt just graduated from GC, and in a few weeks he will be headed off to my hometown to become a BOILERMAKER! Good choice, kid!

Here’s the thing. This is Andrea’s first child to head off to the next adventure, and I know from experience that it’s a tough hill to climb for loving and involved moms like Andrea. That’s why I chose the scripture quote above to honor her on her birthday, because I’d bet about now she could use an extra large scoop of calmness in her heart. My special prayer for her today was to ask Jesus for exactly that!

I’ve watched this caring and kind soul from a distance over a few years and I’ve noticed that she’s always willing to pitch in, she has a genuine smile, and she’s both sunny, humorous and faith-filled. We have several mutual friends, and when I’ve inquired about Andrea, what they always say is the same. They use slightly different words, like considerate, courteous, understanding and good-hearted…but they all boil down to one common denominator. She’s just plain KIND.

The world is crying out for kindness, and there sits Andrea, bringing the sunshine for the rest of us. Today, I just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to a terrific gal that I truly hope I will get to know a bit better!! THANK YOU, Andrea Parenteau, for being a light for those around you. BOILER UP!!