Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Baby is EIGHTEEN!

Okay, today is my first baby's birthday. My Andrew is 18 years old! What the heck happened? Where *did* the time go? It really seems like it's was just little while ago and he was in my arms, nursing sleepily while I rocked him. I would kiss his little head over and over wondering what he might be like when he was 4 or 11 or 16. Now, according to the powers that be, Andrew is an adult man.

He came into my life in a way that most would not prefer. I was single...a young woman, not even really involved with the young man who helped to co-create Andrew. Anyway, there I was...22...a Christian (ha! right!)....and pregnant. Well, at the very least (and, to me now, the most important aspect) in my walk with Christ, I knew that the baby I was carrying was a gift to this world, a precious individual who had every right to life, as we all do. So, I went and told my parents and my younger brother (as I still lived at home...thank you, GOD!) about the newest addition that would be joining our family. They all took it really well. Providentially, I had a loving non-judgemental mother and have a loving, albeit nutty, non-judgemental father and brother.

So the months passed, the male half of Andrew's DNA along with his mom, offered to pay me to "get rid of it". My family up north tried, in there intellectual way, to persuade me not to go through with "this" as I was young and had my whole life ahead of me. Praise be the Lord Jesus Christ that I didn't listen or entertain their ideas for MY baby. Then there were some close to me, not my parents or brother, that suggested adoption. Nice idea. One that is amazingly selfless, but I was too selfish...and I am thankful that I was so selfish in this instance. No, this baby was my gift. I had screwed up. Thrown my sexuality around in a way that is not of God, but God says He works all things for good to those that love Him. So, I trusted in His promise that this would be good.

So, on to his birth. It wasn't what I hoped for or wanted. I wanted natural. I got an emergency C-section (the kind they knock you out for). I didn't see my sweet boy until the day after he was born. I had no name. I wanted to see my child first. I didn't know if he was a boy or a girl before he was born. I remember coming to and hearing my mom say, "Rachie, you have a little boy." and then I went back to sleep. When I really got to see him and meet him, I fell in love in a way that is utterly unspeakable. There are no words. However, it did hit me like a ton of bricks....that there were others in my same situation that did not give their babies a chance to live. I cried so hard as I hugged him close. I cried for all the babies that never got a chance to be born, I cried for all the mothers who, for whatever reason, erased their own preborn children. I cried, most of all, in sincere thankfulness and gratitude that God's perfect love for me, and my imperfect love for Him, had prevented me from assigning my sweet, sweet son to a horrible fate. I cried because I was so loved by God to have received such a priceless gift...this boy. Mom and I kept calling out names to each other and all of a sudden, I looked at my angelic boy and said, "Andrew, he is defintely my Andrew." The years went on and Andy grew. His Grandparents adored him, my brother adored him. I adored him. He was nursed and attachment parented and unschooled. God found him a Daddy and me a husband. By the age of 6 Andrew had a family and a little brother on the way.

Andrew has been through so much. We moved from West Palm Beach to Atlanta when he was 5. It was the first time he was away from my parents, who we had lived with (I was a single-stay at home mom) and it was so hard. But we were embarking on a mission from God...that of a family. Robert asked me to marry him and asked Andrew to be his son and if he (Robert) could be his (Andy's ) dad...we all said yes. Andrew was our ringbearer. He looked so handsome in his tux.

Then next big event was a baby brother,Ben, and then legally becoming Robert's first son. Andy's brother, Ben, would grow up to have many issues to be sorted out. Andrew was a fabulous big brother through it all...and still is. Then, Andy would get a baby sister, Autumn. He loved both of them as babies and toddlers (now, it might be a different story. LOL). Finally, my parents were moving here to be near their babies (not my brother or me!)but my kids!! Shortly after Mother's Day 2000 we got the horrible news that Mima (what the kids called my mom) had Colon cancer. Just a month later I would be in a horrible car accident with Autumn (she would be okay, but I would end up in life long pain) on the way to the hospital for my mom's first surgery. Afterward, we would find out that the cancer had metasticized and Mima wouldn't have long. Andrew ADORED my mother. When I had to tell him that Mima was dying I don't know if my heart broke more over the fact that my precious mom was dying or that my sweet 10 year old boy was utterly devastated. Only five months later I would come home, late at night, to tell my sweet boy that his beloved Mima was gone to God and we would hold each other and cry a long time. At her burial, Andrew would not leave until the very last grain of dirt was spread over her grave.

Huge changes were now on the horizon, around the time Andrew was 13 I would feel called to become Catholic (and that is a whole 'nother story!). Andrew was already a professed Christian, and had been baptised at 2 months old, but I wanted him to make the choice for Catholicism, not me, especially since he was old enough to do so. I took him to Mass, he saw Christ on the Crucifix, he touched the Holy Water, found out that Jesus was really present in the Eucharist and decided that he wanted to be Catholic. So, a few months after I was received into the Church, Andrew came in, through RCIC on April 10th 2004. Praise God, again!

After being homeschooled, and mostly unschooled at that, Andy decided to try public highschool. Well, he ended up really liking it and has done particulary well in his favorite field, film/video making. He made friends, became a drummer, and formed a band. The lead singer of which is presently lying in an ICU unit after a terrible car accident. Andrew, ever the wonderful person he is, continues to visit the hospital to let Will's family know that he is there. Andrew is still best friends with his oldest homeschooling friend from Florida, Trevor (they met when they were 3 and 4 respectively).

Then there is Claire, whom he met when he was 5 and she was 4.

They are still as close as ever. Claire was Andrew's first friend in Atlanta. They met when we were moving into our first house.(Actually, both families are very close and we even go to the same parish.) The bottom line is that Andrew is a great friend. I am so proud of him for that. I guess if there is something good Andrew has learned from me is the importance of family and friend relationsips. Andrew knows and lives out his belief in God, and friends are complete gifts from God, and Andrew treasures his friends.

So here I find myself, the mother of a highschool senior, an 18 year old man. He could get married, fight for our country, vote, buy a home, get a credit card so much stuff. Where did my little Cheetah boy go. He is so funny, smart, handsome, faithful, loyal, honest, caring, understanding, respectful. I have no doubt he will be a wonderful father, loving husband. The kind of guy you can count on to do the right thing. A man who will always have your back...and be there when you need him. He is a complete gift to me, his dad, his siblings, his friends, this world. I am so glad he is here. I am so happy he is mine. I am so proud of the man he is becoming. Thank you, God, for my Andrew. I love him so much!!!

Bless Andrew all the days of his life, keep him faithful to you and keep him safe. Amen

Monday, October 8, 2007

It was 7 years ago today...

... that my amazing, wonderful, funny, loving, caring, smart mom passed into the arms of Jesus. It was just weeks before she would turn 54 on November 1st 2000. In the picture above, we are at Autumn's Baptism (this was prior to my becoming Catholic, so it took place in my Presbyterian church) it was on Mother's Day, May 14th 2000. Thank God, it was a wonderful Mother's Day and we all had such a great time together. Because, just a few days later, Mom would find out she had cancer. And 5 short months later she would be gone.

From left to right is Ben, my Mom, Autumn, my Dad, Andrew in front, and me. Robert was taking the picture.

I have no idea if Mom's stint in purgatory was short or nonexistent, but I believe she is with her Lord. Mom wasn't Catholic. At the time of her passing, neither was I. However, the whole family was devout Evangelical Christians. And, yes, at the time I believed in the "Assurance of Salvation"; but I know believing in it doesn't make it so. However, Mom suffered so horribly the 5 months between her diagnosis of cancer and her death that I think she may have zipped right through her purgatorial fire. During those 5 horrible months Mom had quite the firey gauntlet to run in order to get to Christ's arms. She did love him so much.

Mom didn't know about Redemptive suffering. However, her suffering sure redeemed me. I was alread a Christian, but seeing her faith in Jesus through her final months, only made me realize the truth of the God I serve. (Granted I was really mad at Him for a while after Mom went to Him, so I gave Him up that Lent ...and I didn't even celebrate Lent.)

Anyway, I believe it was my Mom's prayers from Heaven that brought me to the Catholic Church. I was raised in churches that believed the Catholic Church is a cult. I would never have thought to step foot in one had I not been nudged. And just like Mary leads us to her Son...my mother always lead me to Jesus (because we didn't know we had Mary). So, after death, in her Heavenly life, my mom realized that she needed me to know the full Christian truth of Catholicism. So, out of nowhere I felt this need to go to a Mass...the rest is history.

Thank you, Mom, for the greatest gift you have given me, beside my life, my faith. I love you and I miss you so much.

Your Rachie

Mom's final resting spot in the mountains of North Georgia where she loved to visit.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Feast of St. Francis

Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.
– St. Francis of Assisi

I really don't have a ton to write in regard to St. Francis, I just really love the above quote. It's the "it all begins with me" philosophy. Nothing is going to get better unless I start with me first. And, Oh, there is much to sanctify in the way of me!!!

I had a really nice day. I took the book I Believe In Love which is about St. Therese and her Little Way theology to a wonderful friend, Sara, as a birthday gift. We were talking about all sorts of stuff, unschooling being one of our main topics. I told her that after Autumn and I had gone to Adoration, this morning, that Autumn asked me to read a little coloring book she has about St. Therese. It is a really sweet little book, with really pretty pictures to color, not schlocky made-for-kids-type of illustrations. Anyway, in one part of the book it talked about how Therese saw herself as a little flower in God's garden of souls. She thought that there were grand and tall souls like lili's and little souls like violets. I said to Sara, that we I need to think that same way in terms of who my children are and how they learn. That when you know what kind of flower you have you tend to it properly. Some prefer to be left mostly to themselves and flourish;
others wilt and virtually die if little attention is paid to them.

So, to me, just like there are those with big souls like Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II, there are those with little souls...like me. We all need to pray and ask God continually if He will give us the grace to know His will for OUR lives and that He will give us the grace to live out his Will. The same goes for our kids. I want them to grow up and follow God's will for their lives... not mine. One may want and need me to be more hands on...another may want and need me to be more hands off...but I need to remember that neither is better than the other...just different.
And there is nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Always behind

You know, you'd think I would have all this down by now. I am, afterall, 41 years old. But NO! I am sitting here posting on my blog about what a procrastinator I am. I have to be at a different parish than mine in 30 minutes with a 2 hour lesson, with crafts, on Reptiles. I live with an amateur herpetologist (our 17 year old, Andrew). He's the one who unschooled himself in all things REPTILE by watching hours of Animal Planet and Discovery Channel. Did I ask him? No. Anyway, I'm praying this morning goes well. Why oh why did I the non-lesson-planner-shoot-from-the-hip-kinda-gal agree to do this! Grrrrr!