Sunday, April 29, 2007

Happy Birthday, Dad!

My dad was born 99 years ago today. He died in 1988, 6 weeks after TP was born, two weeks after he turned 80, and 1 day shy of my 34th birthday. He had two goals toward the end of his life - to live to be 80 years old, and to see his youngest child (me) become a mom. God was merciful to grant Dad the achievement of both of those goals.

My dad was a rugged fireman and bricklayer. He had an 8th grade education, grew up in a fun-loving Canadian family with Irish and Scottish roots (in fact, there is a little town in Scotland which bears my maiden name). He met my mother and instantly fell in love, but she wouldn't marry him until he converted to Catholicism, which he did. He was never a religious man, but he believed in God and hard work and having a good time and loving his family - so I believe his shortcomings were far outweighed by the good in his heart and his actions. I was, without a doubt, my "daddy's little girl", and I knew how to wrap him around his little finger. When I became a teenager, and right after the loss of my mom, Dad and I had many bitter fights - but we grew closer once I was out on my own. We grew to respect each other, and we were more alike than different in many ways.

A year or two before my dad died, he was in the midst of congestive heart failure, so we were called to his bedside. He was obviously in great distress - his arms were thrashing repetitively in a motion similar to the one he had used when laying bricks years before, and he was talking about all sorts of things of which we couldn't make sense. There was great discussion amongst my family members about whether or not we should "let him go peacefully" or put him on life support. The decision was miraculously taken out of our hands the following morning, when he began to dramatically improve. He pulled me aside for a private talk, and told me that he had seen mom the day before! He had also seen his brothers and a friend who had died a couple of weeks earlier - all of them were urging him to return to earth to finish his life, and that they'd be waiting for him to return someday. There were tears in my dad's eyes - because he honestly believed that he had had a glimpse of heaven! I had tears in my eyes, too, because here was a guy who'd never even heard of an out-of-body experience, actually having one - and it drew him closer to God in his last years of life.

So, Daddy, I know you're in heaven now, celebrating your birthday with Mom and all of our other loved ones. Say "hi" to Mom for me, let her know I'm doing fine and so are the kids. I miss you, and I look forward to seeing you some day for all eternity. I love you!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Being Still

I am listening , Lord. I have finally banished all distractions and unwanted images. I have fially stopped fidgeting and wriggling, both symptoms of struggle. I am no longer staring at book titles or smears on window panes. Nor am I wrapped up in the torrents of words which too often consume my time with you -those lists of people whom I want to remember, things for which I am grateful, petitions for the suffering world. I am still, within and without.

In this silence, in this stillness, I wait to hear your voice, Lord. I have told you so often about my desire to serve. I have offered you my gifts, time and time again, hoping you find them acceptable. I want to be commissioned for some glorious task, to pour myself out that others may come and find you. But it is always the same: the only words I hear are softer than the beat of my heart. "You are the gift," you say. "I want your love - nothing more." ~Elizabeth-Anne Vanek

Monday, April 23, 2007

Good News/Bad News

A short post - just too much stuff going on right now.

It's been 3 years almost to the day since TP's diagnosis of lupus nephritis. It's been a long 3 years in many ways. Nonetheless, at her six month check up on Friday, her doctor was very happy with TP's continued good health and remission. TP will continue on one medication only, and have blood work every 6 weeks to monitor any possible flare. So, we are blessed and thankful for this great news! Thank you, dear Lord.

The bad news I can't really share right now - there are two different things which have happened recently which have caused me to feel pretty deflated. I would dearly love to have a small vacation away, all by myself, to just pray and contemplate and find answers and healing.

I keep all of close in thought and prayer every day - even though I don't write often, I still think of you!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Blogging Anniversary

My two year blogging anniversary is coming up, on April 22nd. Actually, my first entry was just a couple of sentences in March of 2005, but I didn't actually "start" until almost a month later.

I'm also nearing my 20,000th visitor. Not monumental at all when compared to other blogging buddies' numbers, but hey, I've always said I'm not in this for popularity or recognition - I'm just here because I enjoy writing about my life as a mom. Nonetheless, even though my numbers are low comparatively speaking, I'm amazed that I've even had 20 thousand visits to this lowly little blog!!!

Wouldn't it be cool if somehow, some way, I'd reach 20,000 by my anniversary on the 22nd? It's probably not going to happen because that would mean "only" 1,500 hits in the next 6 days, but it would be kind of a neat anniversary present!

Anyway, if there are any "lurkers" out there, please say "hi" over the next few days. I'd love to officially meet you and get to know you.

And to all of my blogging friends - thanks. Thank you SO MUCH for being there with me over the past two years. All of you are so very special to me. I love you!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Daddy's Girl"

DQ has been on spring break this week, and it's been nice to hang out with her and have some "alone" time. I've re-discovered a few neat things about this daughter of mine.

She's a pretty deep thinker. She is very intuitive and is a good judge of character. She has a great sense of humor. She is very, very sensitive and cares deeply for her family. She worries a lot - especially about her older sister, TP. She is a "Daddy's Girl", and that is truly o.k. with me because when I watch her and her dad together, it makes me smile to know that they have such a deep bond. Now that TP is at college, at times I feel left out when DQ and her dad hang out and do "nerdy" things together, but again, I really don't mind.

I'd like to say that we've done some really fun things this week, but we haven't. We have done some spring housecleaning, we've run some errands together, I've taken her to her new job as a waitress - so, nothing exciting. Nonetheless, it's been a very pleasant week - just hanging out and getting to know DQ even better. She's a pretty delightful young lady, and I'm grateful that I'm her mom!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter!

May you and yours have a blessed Easter! I shall say a special prayer for each of you at Mass. I thank you for you friendship and prayers, especially over the past couple of months!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I Love My Girls

I am so blessed to be a mom. Despite all the difficulties and heartbreak and pain that I've gone through over the past couple of years, I would never consider quitting this vocation. Simply put, I would die for my girls. I would give my life for them.

The blessings are abundant. I've watched them grow into beautiful young women with hearts full of love and compassion for others. I've witnessed their joy on Christmas morning. I've snuggled with them while reading "Little House on the Prairie" books to them. I've taught them how to discern right from wrong, and I've seen them make a few tough decisions along the way which made me very proud of them. I've heard their laughter and giggles while they were playing with their Barbies on the balcony.

The burdens have been abundant, too. Each of them have faced challenges which weren't "fair" - TP with her illness, and DQ with prejudicial treatment by others - but those challenges have taught all of us how to live and love without fear. I've watched them stumble and fall (literally and figuratively), and I've been there to help them back up and brush away the tears. I've been hurt by some of their actions, just as they have been hurt by some of mine, but somehow we are always able to go beyond those hurts and forgive each other. Sometimes, the pain we have gone through seems almost too much to bear, but we seem to be able to remember that our love for each other is stronger than the pain is, and God is there to help us through it all.

Each of my girls are going through some difficult times right now. While I wish desperately to be able to take away their pain and make it "all better" like I used to be able to do when they were little, I know that I am not able to do that. It grieves me to see them struggling, it kills me to know they are hurting. All I can do is just offer my open arms and an open heart so full of love for them to help comfort them and guide them through these rough waters.

I can't imagine NOT being a mom. I can't imagine what life would be like without my girls. I would never want to imagine anything which might separate me from either one of them. I just want to be the my kids mom - the best mom God intended me to be for them.