June 12, 2020

The miserable rain today eliminated the possibility of a walk, and I’m caught up on church work, so this afternoon I decided I’d write about my kids when they were small. The first child I thought of happened to be Patrick, and instantly I knew he deserved his own stand-alone post. 

As the fourth child in our noisy family, it might be assumed that P.J. either faded into the woodwork, or acted out defiantly for a share of attention. Neither was the case. While he certainly made his presence known, he got along really well, with everybody.

He was a late speaker but an early screamer (more often shrieks of joy than anger). When he finally became verbal, he made up for lost time, and I’m so glad I scribbled down some “Pooterisms” (yes, for a while we called him Pooter, and it is a tribute to him that I can share this nugget now, without infuriating him.) 

 Playing miniature golf, he would say every time before putting, “10-9-8-1-2-3-shoot!” Fishing with his dad, he would pull up his line every minute or so, exclaiming delightedly, “I caught another worm!!” He thought the State Park summer camp the older kids attended was called “Jurassic Park Camp,” and expressed a bit of concern that dinosaurs would eat his siblings. He loved our children’s theatre plays, and understood the plots quite well, though he insisted on calling the ogre in Puss in Boots the Wicked Yogurt. When I took Rose for a shopping date, he asked if he too could have a date to shop with me—for bananas. 

 P.J. was willing to fill any supporting part required in the older kids’ imaginative games (he spent MONTHS playing the thankless role of Rose’s pet dog, Strawberry.) There would come a point, however, when he’d had enough. One day the kids were bickering over who would get to board a friend’s boat first. Patrick waved a sibling ahead, saying, “You go first. Then, if the boat sinks, it’ll be my turn.” 

Where did the years go? Soon, he was in elementary school, and the Pooter days were over. He decided when first grade began, that he wanted to be called “Pat,” which I informed our neighbors. The next day at the bus stop, Mark said, “Good morning, Pat!” He was rewarded with puzzled silence, as little “Pat” had totally forgotten his new name. “P.J.” our son remained through college, when at last he did switch to “Pat.” 

I don’t see nearly enough of him these days, as he lives in Downingtown and keeps absurd chef’s hours at a restaurant. When life is just too much, and my anxiety level goes through the roof, there is nothing in the world like Patrick’s hugs, and the gift of his supreme good nature. My blood pressure is going down just writing this! 

 Thanking God for #4, and the thoughts of his sweet, sunny disposition that banish the gray clouds on this gloomy day. I’m one lucky mom. 


    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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