How is it December already? It seems like I was just mourning the loss of my favorite green leaves and fresh, juicy vegetables. Now we’re lighting Advent wreaths, scheduling around school concerts and shopping for Gingerbread house supplies. (umm....anyone want to come over to make gingerbread houses?????)
Bob and my 15yr anniversary is coming right up. It’s interesting to sit and remember ‘daydreaming’ and discussing what we would be like when our marriage had approached this point. All I know now is when I look around me, there’s all these growing boys! Where did they come from??? Last I knew they were little bitty people!
In the midst of a life on fast forward, the reality is that time swiftly flies. My children are their own people, never more so than at this very moment, and have their lives to embrace. I acknowledge that they are not only growing, but have a right and responsibility to voice their opinion and not necessarily adopt what mom or dad say simply because ‘we say so’. Which must entail some responsibility to voice that opinion in a respectful and loving way. (Something not necessarily natural to a teenage boy). It’s also been no secret to our children that we have been through some especially trying times in the course of 15 years (if only I knew, in my new-love bliss, how hard being married would be!)
We have been very open and honest as to the fact that, now matter how much you love someone, arguments happen. One lesson to the boys, often taught, is Don’t ever, for one second, think that marriage will be easy, no matter how much you love someone.
This new liturgical year began with Advent. 2011 is the Year of Grace—one I will embrace wholeheartedly. I need God’s Grace to embed the last bit that I can on these boys. I need God’s Grace to help me remember where my input is needed, and where it is not. I need God’s Grace to pour on my family and children, enhancing their wisdom and guidance for their coming years as they begin a new phase in their lives.
I tell myself this often, as the kids ask me things like “Mom, what do you think I should do when I’m an adult? What do you think I’d be good at doing?”. It’s not my answer to give them, it’s theirs to seek with God. I have to be ever vigilant to keep my opinions quiet until needed. My prayers, however, can be frequent and urgent! I must also be watchful that my words don’t betray my prayers - that I don’t do something such as say “just continue to pray for guidance as to what your vocation should be” and then go on to say things such as “now, when you come home for the holidays with your wife…” That, unconsciously, can close the door to a religious vocation. I tend to be very aware of that considering I have five sons.
The awareness and hard truth came very clear to me the day I had come across an article in the Catholic Weekly years ago. The author, a young mother, was writing very eloquently about her prayers of the future for her toddler son. In her ponderings, she began to write a letter to her son’s future wife. It was a beautiful letter, full of happiness, prayers, wishes, and love. And yet, all I could do while reading it was think she shut the door. I would imagine, being a Catholic mother, she would be attending Mass. I would also hope that her priest would encourage, talk to, and model the vocation of priesthood to that young boy as he grew. This loving young mom, however, in her innocent prayers for her future daughter-in-law, missed the second half to that letter - one possibly to a Bishop and a parish for the care and love towards her son.
We all have a responsibility as parents and grandparents to help guide, love and pray for our children. We must not stand in the way of what our children are being called to do—we must only help them discern the voice in the midst of all the ’noise’ of life.