Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Saints Day and Happy Birthday!

Today is just one of those days when my emotions are all over the place.
  1. It's the birthday of my fantastic daughter (and saint-in-progress), Anna. She's 18 today, a legal adult in the US, and I'm just not sure how to feel about that.
  2. It's the day when I, both personally and along with the universal Church, honor my relatives who are the uncanonized saints, most particularly my own mother.
Yes, you may think it's a bit presumptuous to believe, as much as I believe anything, that I have some saints in my family tree, but I do. I do pray for them and will pray for them tomorrow (All Souls Day) too. I'm sure God understands me hedging my bets.

A little about both:

At 10:10 a.m. on November 1, I gave birth to Anna. She's been a blessing to our family in two ways. First, she's given us great joy, (humble) pride, wonder in how such a great kid came from us, and a sense of hope for the future. She taught us to see the world with the eyes of a child, where everything is a toy, and everything has potential and wonder. I can't wait to see how life turns out for her.

She's also a blessing in another way--like most kids, she gave us a laboratory of "virtue development." She made us PhD and Masters Degree educated parents realize that there's a lot we don't know. She taught two "professionals," respected in their fields, who thought they could control a lot in how their day-to-day lives unfolded, that control is an illusion.

She also taught us that we were tougher than we ever thought possible, but we were still no match for her. For example, Anna NEVER slept. It was amazing. Okay, she did sleep, but it was in 20 minute increments scattered throughout the day. We read every book, tried every trick, etc. to get that kid to sleep longer. I went home and cried in envy when a friend said that her son woke up every three hours and it drove her crazy. I couldn't remember the last time I had that much sleep at one time.

When I showed our pediatrician Anna's sleep log, he too was amazed. Anna was just fine. We just had to surrender. Lesson learned--there are just some things you can't control. You have to accept the way things are, the way people are, and live with it. You CAN live with just about anything if you know it won't last forever. This too shall pass, and it did. We could choose to have the sound of a crying baby in our house 24/7, or we could carry her around, doze when she did and just make the best of it. That's what we did.

We learned to keep our mouths shut when well-meaning people gave us their advice on how to make our kid sleep, how to get the baby to relax (yeah--like we hadn't thought of that). We learned that the tenacity and persistence Anna exhibited as a baby are only annoying BECAUSE she was a baby. Those same qualities have served her well in school, sports and life-in-general. Looking back, I'm glad she was tougher than we were back then.

And today--well rousting a teenager out of bed can be a different kind of challenge too.

I can't let this blog about Anna pass without saying a few words about my mother, who began her own journey in eternal life almost three years ago. I miss her every day, but there are times that I hear her voice coming out of Anna's mouth. The genes run true there! It's a comfort to know that the qualities I loved about her (and some that I didn't) will be a part of my life as long as I have my daughter.

Happy All Saints Day, Mom; and Happy Birthday, Anna. I love you both so much.

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