I am pleased my children do not know my current struggles. The Lord and very personal friends and family have been my mainstay. As I sort through some of life's greatest challenges, and while some would consider I am experiencing much loss, I think about what I am thankful for. Here are what is most important to me:
"I have the laughter of my children, their warm embrace, their little stories, and our 'bug hunts' at night. We pray when they go to bed and when they get up; when their friends are sad, for their mom when they miss her, their grandfather who died not long ago, and for others who are less fortunate. We attend Mass during the week. And, we visit our place of worship and still volunteer to clean the area around a Marian statue where others meditate. We tickle each other, we sing together, we talk about silly stuff, and we have a usual routine at night (three nights a week).
My oldest (5 years) shares her insights about life, and tells me new things she is learning everyday at school. My youngest (3 years) makes the sign of the cross by tapping her head three times, and I tell her 'That's perfect, Babe...Good job.' And, she likes to run around during Mass, as I stand their solemnly praying, with one eye open to see she doesn't get too far (okay the tears are really there now). We pray the Lord's Prayer, and we say the Rosary together. We have 'faith reading' and 'Anything we want, Papa?' I love washing their clothes, and trying to keep house for them (though I just hate losing those little socks and not find one or the other's mate in the washer, when I know I put both of them in). And I love making them breakfast, and lunch, packing their snack, and drawing funny faces on their snack bag.
I love helping with homework, and taking their pictures, as they love taking them of me, us and whatever catches their eye at the moment. And, when we used to go out more than we do now, I love watching them be independent and order their own food. I love giving my oldest the opportunity to plan with me the night's course of activities...'Let's see, what is your preference, homework first, bath, dinner, faith reading, movie, get ready for school? What's it going to be?' She loves contributing to our family routine, and doesn't know I'm helping her prioritize, sort, and develop executive functioning skills. I love my little one enjoying the bubbles of her bath, and watching her give her bath toys new life. I love hearing her sing, as she splashes about. And I love my oldest wanting to help me in every way, and having to remind myself to reinforce those skills and teaching moments, even when tired and believing I 'need to get this done.'
I love being called in the middle of night, 'Papa!! Papa!!' for a glass of water, or because an 'accident' occurred, and a change is needed. I love them riding on my shoulders, and pulling my hair until it hurts. I love watching them hug their friends, call their names as if their friends will be for life (and some may be). I love their memories, as they remind me, 'Papa, you said...' and being able to say, 'You are right...Thank you, for reminding me...' I love them growing so fast, their clothes are still new. I love drizzling honey from three feet above the cereal bowl, as they try to interrupt the stream with their little fingers that get 'all sticky'. I love their little shoes, hairbands, broken crayons, perfect drawings, unmade bed, and cuts and scrapes that apparently and magically become better with a small kiss and a hug.
For this, and so much more, I am eternally thankful to my Lord."
"Come what may, girls, I am happy to see you grow. And, with our Lord, we will overcome. Always remember Romans 8:38-39. "