It all goes by so fast. I can honestly remember the day we brought her home from the hospital uttering …”Please Lord, just don’t let me kill her.” I knew so little, nothing in fact. She was so tiny and she did not come with an instruction manual. I was nervous and scared. It had been a very rough pregnancy so I had had many hours, days, weeks, months to lay in bed and think about what it would be like… her entire life. This was one of those moments I had dreamed about. And, by God’s grace, it came.
When she was little and I had her sister, then her next sister...three under four...I can remember someone telling me I looked as if I were “dripping with children” and that is just how I felt. The trip to the grocery store was quite the scene. I had the newborn in the snuggly, the two-year-old in the cart, and the four-year-old perched amongst the over flowing articles of formula, various sizes of diapers and anything she could grab as we wheeled by items within reach, sometimes clearing off shelves as we whirled past. I just kept moving.
These were truly the “longest days and shortest years,” as Susan Yates would say. I can remember falling asleep while putting the girls down as dinner party guests waited patiently at the table for the next course. And then those same guests would return for a New Year’s Eve celebration, only to call it quits by 9:00 pm, as we were all too tired to stay up!
Milestone after milestone came: babbling, words, teeth, walking, potty training, school, sports teams, driving, dances, dating, proms, graduations...they grew up! And then, ironically, I was wishing again for diaper rash and ear infections, worrying about broken bones, broken hearts and broken dreams.
And it is not just their dreams you hate to see unfulfilled. It is very hard to have long held dreams for your children and, at the same time, be detached to let them be “them” and have their own dreams and even more importantly...let God’s dreams for them come into being. I was told that detachment means you have no preferences as to the outcome of things and want only whatever God wants. This is something I not only have to remind myself about, but teach to my children as well.
I am learning that God can, in fact, be trusted with my dreams and theirs. I read that we so often don’t totally commit to God, give Him our entire self, because we think that He will in some way, somehow take advantage of our trust in Him.
That is not the God I am learning to trust. He is truly faithful to His own Goodness and if I can constantly remember this, then even when things don’t turn out as I would have liked or planned, I know that God is in charge, that He is all Good, and in that fact I can trust and rely-- not only for my children but for myself as well.
I heard a wise person say, “I do not know what the future holds...but I know Who holds the future.” Thank goodness! Praise be to Him! Jesus, I trust in You!
When you start mapping out your family's life goals and dreams--the milestones you hope to see laid down in their lives, all of the opportunities you hope to provide for them: their ability to graduate with a great education, to have skill sets to play on the “best sports teams”, to be savvy enough to land a fantastic job, to be emotional intelligent, to embrace an amazing partner, and all the rest--please remember the MOST important milestones of all, the one that will be paramount in making all of the rest work--teaching them to love God, know His word, have an ability to pray, to develop deep within them a virtuous moral compass, and to be devoted to the Sacraments and teachings of the Church. These are the essential keys to living a great life. Start with the goal of imparting these lessons and arrange the rest around them. This is what will truly serve them from among of all the things you can hope or dream to give them.
And remember one more thing--don’t blink.
Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. Psalm 90:12
Oh my goodness! Another huge milestone! Transitions are difficult. Life is difficult. But also so full of Your unfailing Goodness and Love! I am beyond blessed that You are in the middle of it all with me. I am so thankful that You go before me and behind me and encompass me on every side, and my family as well. Please give me the grace to trust totally in You and know that You will never take advantage of my trust. I praise You that You are worthy of all of my life and that of my family. May we always live lives that are pleasing to You and may we hold our dreams loosely so that Your dreams for us may be joyfully, graciously and miraculously fulfilled.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
(This photo is of my daughter Emma who graduated from Catholic University this past Saturday with a BS in Biology. She hopes to be a doctor and work amongst the poor. She already serves the homeless and the marginalized. We are very proud of her, not just for all of her hard work, but because she has a heart full of love for God and all living things. God is Good. :)