Small Success Thursday: Hold the Bells and Whistles


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Sometimes I wonder if I sound like the equivalent of a Catholic Pollyanna. It would be true if the decision to count blessings were based on a manufactured optimism, a decision to ignore the pains of everyday. (Not enough sleep, having a kid sick for a week, bills, looming start of school, projects unfinished, and the prospect of a rigid fall schedule returning). However, the purpose of Small Success Thursday, is not to brag or to pretend “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!” but to stop and consider how blessed the days, the weeks of our lives are, even with the thousand scourges we can discover in a day, from splinters to speed camera tickets to forgotten deadlines.

This week, is the last week of summer. One of the greatest blessings of this week, was my husband took a few days off for a staycation, to just spend the time with us. We played cards, went to the park, the aquarium, ate out (we never do this), and had a date night. We also did the mundane –school supply shopping, clothes, nagging through those final book reports, meetings for high school, and for elementary and for middle, hair cuts and shoes.

Sunday, I found myself sitting outside of church, waiting on the daughter who didn’t make it to the earlier Mass. Praying the rosary, (working on returning to the daily habit), Mary revealed a spiritual weakness I have, my tendency to want/expect an emotional connection, rather than to seek simply to pray. Not wanting bells and whistles is my spiritual challenge. I tend to daydream about being a famous writer, being a professor, or becoming more prolific in publication, maybe giving talks…but then I stop and recognize, these 8 people still at home, have constant needs. I cannot just indulge my goals or desires or dreams, not because God is being mean or anyone is oppressing me, but because being their mom means choosing to put them first, even when tired, even when it’s hard, when I don’t want to, even when it seems like it would be so so soooooo much easier to turn on the tv and let them veg out. You can’t be a Catholic Pollyanna when your internal monologue sighs and says, “White Martyrdom stinks, but it beats the alternative.” Press on.

The goal is not to find the biggest experience we can to infuse love into, but to infuse the biggest amount of love we can into whatever we experience.  Small Successes serves as a weekly gut check on my weaknesses; to recognize the bigger opportunities being placed before me are the ones no one else will see except as the fruit. Consoling one daughter with a hug and ice cream, addressing a letter, instructing a son on what he needs to do; the kids will do the work, whether for common application for college, writing a cousin, or cleaning a room. My job will have been to be the air which made all of that possible, not seen, not noticed, but present.

Copyright 2015 Sherry Antonetti

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About Author

Sherry Antonetti is a mother of ten children, published author of The Book of Helen and a freelance writer of humor and family life columns. You can read additional pieces from her blog,


  1. Sherry,
    You are so right. I feel so blessed to have been taught to look for positives, no matter how small, at a young age.
    What a great post.

  2. I’m celebrating this that despite some stressful moments, my son has learned a lot, accomplished a lot, and had a lot of fun in the process

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