Home' Aurora : Aurora March 2011 Contents 24
| Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle | www.mn .catholic.org.au
LAST YEAR I was called upon for
regular deliver y ser vices. The
‘parcels’ were two grand-daughters - one
aged 10, to be delivered to Holy Family
School Merewether, the other, aged 12,
to St Pius X High School Adamstown.
I approached this mission a little dewy-
eyed, reminiscing about my own children’s
‘deliveries’ so long ago.
The first day went off without too much
trauma. We quickly solved the “who sits
in the front and who sits in the back”
dilemma by applying the NSW Traffic
regulations: under 12, you sit in the back.
The trip passed without mishap. I felt
like Solomon, wise and experienced,
and was lulled into euphoria, seeing
myself as a highly organised matriarch,
rearing children with kindly efficiency.
Oh dear, vanity of vanities!
The next day, I arrived on time. The
children appeared and dutifully got into
the car. I was lovingly greeted, the children
waved goodbye to their mother. We had no
sooner turned the corner when it star ted!
A subtle kicking on the back of the front
seat applied by Parcel No 2 in the back led
to “Don’t do that,” from Parcel No 1 in the
front. “Do what? I’m not doing anything,”
said No 2.
“You are. Stop it.”
“Don’t do that, darling,” I said.
“I’m not doing anything,” replied Number
2. “You’re just picking on me.”
“No, no, don’t be silly, darling, just stop
doing it and we’ll all be happy. Be a
“I am being a good girl. You’re being mean.
I’m going to tell my mother.”
By this time, I had run three red lights and
was about to speed through the 40 kph
school zone. I pulled myself up just in
time, reeling from my indiscretions, and
then, in a somewhat loud voice, I said to
No 1 parcel, “Just pull your seat forward,
“Why?” said No 1.
“Don’t ask why, just do it. It doesn’t
“Oh, yes it does,” said No 1. “Oh, no, it
doesn’t,” said I - and so it continued.
A fierce internal struggle raged. I was
getting nowhere. I pulled over, turned
around and simply said, “Shut up the pair
of you or I’ll put you out and you can walk
the rest of the way.”
Stunned silence. Good Lord, did I just
No 2: “We’re not allowed to say ‘shut up’.”
“Be quiet,” I said and turned to the
business of pulling up at St Pius’,
just in time to avoid skittling a bevy of
The rest of the journey
continued in silence as I
concentrated on driving
and not on the sulking
Miss in the back seat.
On the way home, I
scolded myself. I had a
word with the Holy Spirit.
For anyone who gets a bit
fed up with praying to God
the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit is
the answer. I find great inspiration and
hope in praying to the Holy Spirit and so I
approached my duties on the morrow with
And the morrow commenced the same
way. Happy greetings, fond farewells until
we reached the corner and the first set
of lights. Mission impossible was about
to become possible, I thought. I took a
“Now, children,” said I, “we’re going to say
our Morning Prayers commencing with the
Hail Mar y! Take it away, No 2!”
I admit this was a rather sensational
approach, but the results were fascinating.
I led the prayer and after a moment of
hesitation while my passengers recovered
from their surprise, we were all saying the
Hail Mar y.
Good, through the second set of lights
“Okay, girls, the Our Father please, No 1,”
and away we went, the three of us chanting
like enthusiastic Benedictines at Matins.
Third set of lights passed.
“Right,” said I, “we’re going to say this
little prayer to our Guardian Angels to keep
us and our
family all safe today,”
and line by line they recited
my prayer. And then it was time for
the first deliver y.
“Goodbye, Grandmama, I
love you,” called No 1.
“Goodbye, darling, I love
you, too. God bless you.”
“I love you, too,” said No
2, not to be outdone.
“Of course you do. I know
that. Just sometimes you
don’t show it.”
Time to drop off No 2.
“Goodbye, grandmama, I
love you. Go the Angels.”
I smiled and drove home relaxed. Good
on you, Holy Spirit. I knew you’d show me
The next day began with a prayer, and then
we value added: we prayed for our family,
our friends, the sick and dying in our parish,
peace in the world.
The next week, I spoke to them of Acts of
Charity, or as they’re now called, Random
Acts of Kindness. We discussed how we
could help our friends during the day.
“Do you mean,” said No 2, “that if one of
my friends falls over and I help her, that is
an Act of Kindness?”
“Yes,” I said, “you’ve got it.” And so the
implications of being kind were explored.
When the children got into the car and
I asked if they had performed an Act of
Kindness that day, they were able to tell me
what they had done. They were also honest
enough to say when they had forgotten.
There were no implications for their having
forgotten, just encouragement for the
Sometimes No 2 says, “I don’t want to
say a prayer today”, and we begin to talk
of other things usually involving some
topical event with a moral implication. “You
know, I heard something interesting on TV
yesterday - what do you think about that?”
It’s amazing what comes out and it’s also
quite amazing that the little problems they
have also emerge. To my great delight, they
have now begun to ask me questions.
Evangelisation, then, my dear fellow
grandparents, comes in many ways, even
from the mouths of babes when least
expected. I learn from them, they learn
from me. We talk about peer pressure,
about being strong and standing up for our
beliefs, of not being afraid to speak up and
out, of being proud of oneself. We speak of
honesty and how dishonesty hur ts us; we
speak of loyalty and the value of religion,
the value of having a belief.
Instead of dreading the deliver y ser vice,
and the prospect of gradual destruction
of a relationship with grandchildren, we
have established a trustwor thy and loving
relationship in a relaxed environment - and
now they leave me with words that give me
great joy –
“Goodbye, Grandmama. God bless you,
Angels guard you. I love you.”
And I love you, too, darling - and thank you,
Holy Spirit. Let’s keep spreading the love.
Grandmother Shirley McHugh
of Waratah shares some wisdom
acquired on the road.
“For anyone who gets a
bit fed up with praying
to God the Father and
the Son, the Holy Spirit
is the answer.”
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