Small Success: where Divine Providence seems obvious


This past week, I took my middle son out to South Bend. We traveled by train and visited my daughter at Saint Mary’s College (my school), saw my Shakespeare teacher, and took in the Notre Dame football game. Being thirteen, he alternated being supremely happy to be part of everything and extremely bored at all the grown ups talking about past classes, past trips, past games and past glories. It’s hard not to take it personally when feeding the squirrel acorns holds greater interest than hearing stories about your mom from other people.

The trip allowed me to catch up with old friends and hear their family stories. It is my favorite part of returning to the campus, to hear the stories I never knew, to hear the stories I already knew, and to discover that every family has within it, treasures which while singular in experience, universal in appeal. Standing in line at the bookstore to buy t-shirts, I heard family lore all around me, all about Notre Dame, past and present and even future.

Sitting at the grotto, I watched generations of families place their hands on the rock from Loretto, light candles and pray. How do I explain the specialness of this place to my son? The announcer at the game always makes reference to “With reliance on Divine Providence,” as part of the pre-game. Divine Providence might be the best way to explain: the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s College are why I exist; my mom and dad met there, they’re why I am married and have this blessing of ten children. I met my husband the third day at school. Both schools are where I found my career, (volunteering in Special Education Program), and where I learned how to write. The schools hosted my favorite professors, (all but one of them deceased). I’m reduced to trying to get my son to see the beauty of the place, the energy, and giving him the history. Even though many of the people I loved here are gone, coming here I find them close. “Their blood is in the bricks.” I know it’s true for the people wandering the campus, and I think he catches a whiff of it while watching the band.

A priest who helps us with directions gives my son a short pep talk on what he’ll need to do if he wants to go here too. He listens and repeats it … it seems he’s taking in more than I thought. If it gets him excited for tackling 8th grade and high school, I’ll consider that much bigger than a Small Success. I sat wondering if I was getting yet another example of Divine Providence, preparing my son for the future.

Hope your week is full of moments where Divine Providence seems obvious. Happy Small Success Thursday!

What small successes are you celebrating this week?

Copyright 2017 Sherry Antonetti


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 Comment

  1. I love that you got to take your son to see ND. I have yet to get back there. Next summer it will be 30 years since graduation.
    In the Department of “So Far, So Good” I didn’t blow up at my teenager over something he could and should have prevented, and instead figured out a workaround for next time; I’ve stuck with the #Rosaryathon photo challenge on Instagram for 5 whole days now, which is definitely some sort of record; I’m making progress in getting my office overflow stuff out of my daughter’s bedroom before she comes home for the weekend. (Now if I could only bring myself to throw away the big stack of magazines that I can’t bear to toss before I page through … )

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