Tuesday, May 18, 2010


A birthday is always cause for celebration, but some seem so much bigger than others. As we come upon my eldest daughter’s thirteenth birthday, I find myself become extremely emotional, more so than for any other of my children’s birthdays that have passed.

The reflections I have in looking back on her life so far are as much about myself as they are about her. The studies I read about human developmental stage in earning my Psychology degree – especially those of Erik Erikson – make so much more sense now that I have lived through early adulthood and have a child entering adolescence.

To everything there is a time and season. According to Erikson, we must progress through stages successfully in order to go on to the next. It is our job as parents to help that happen, by encouraging them in the right direction. But the individual has to master skills on his or her own – if the parent does too much it stifles development. So parents are constantly weighing what is the right thing to do – or not do – as their children grow.

We see our children as a product of ourselves, so our own self-esteem is wrapped up around how we perceive our children. If we are happy with how they are turning out, we can feel good about that; if not, we are filled with waves of self-doubt. In both cases, we have to offer up our children to God, giving Him credit for who they are and asking for grace to deal with the challenges we face as their parents.

Being a parent has changed my whole perception of reality. I have learned exponentially with each year more about God, life, and myself. I see that I worried unnecessarily about little things years ago that don’t matter now. I see that you can direct your path to a certain degree but some things you can never predict.

I look with wonder and awe at a child who biologically is the product of me and my husband and who has been shaped to a certain degree by us, but who constantly amazes us with qualities that could only have been God-given. I think of all the choices we have made and the results of those and I am happy that God guided us; and that we listened.

I think with hope toward her future and pray God will continue to guide us in the right direction; that she will continue to listen to the Holy Spirit in all she does and constantly grow in her faith and as the person God has meant for her to be.

I pray for all the parents out there in whatever stage they may be, that they can be thankful for whatever it is they have been given, and put themselves and their children in God’s hands, accepting the past and embracing the present, always looking forward.

Pictured above: Audrey reads "The Weight of a Mass" by Josephine Nobisso to the Little Flowers group at Our Lady of the Island.

Monday, May 3, 2010


I finally learned how to keep the scorebook for my children’s softball and baseball games. That is, I got the basics down. My husband explained to me how it is a constant learning process because there are so many intricate rules to a ballgame that it takes a lifetime to fully understand them. Every ballgame he watches on television he says, “There never ceases to be plays that have never happened before.”

During a 20-inning Met game, I sat down with a scorebook and practiced. I had to keep asking my kids to explain what was going on and by the end I thought I had it. Then I tried to keep score at my daughter’s game and messed up the very first inning, after looking up and responding to someone’s question. My husband said it was virtually impossible to score a girls’ softball game because of all the errors that take place. It also goes much faster than a major league game - where you have like five minutes in between batters and replays in between.

I kept practicing and in the process have been given a greater understanding and appreciation of the game. Between scoring and calculating statistics for the league, I now see the game in terms of numbers. If my daughter gets an out going to first but brings in a runner, I can say, “Oh, that was a sacrifice…it’s okay because she brought a runner in.” I now have a grand slam recorded for each of my daughters and look forward to the day my son will hit one.

Finally I was ready and the coach surrendered his book to me. I stood way off from everyone and refused to acknowledge anyone who tried to talk to me, knowing it would throw me off. I like to keep track of the balls and strikes as well; but it is so easy to concentrate on the pitcher and batter and then lose track of stolen bases and errors. You have to constantly be scanning the field and noting where all the runners are as well. And because the plays happen so fast and you’re trying to keep track of where everybody is, sometimes it becomes necessary to ask someone else what just happened.

Parenting is like this too. The little things do matter – but you can’t lose sight of the big picture. Your big dreams have to be constantly kept in the background, knowing that it is all the small decisions you and your children make each day that will bring you there. Constant change in focus and perspective is necessary to keep it all in balance. And one person can’t possibly do it all. Husband and wife need to keep each other appraised of what is going on play by play, from different viewpoints. If a single parent doesn’t have that on a daily basis, the job is so much tougher; he or she needs to have as much support as possible from other trusted adults.

I Thessalonians 4 captures both the intricate and the life summation in one short passage. In Christianity every thought and action that takes place in your daily walk is of importance; it all leads to eternal salvation. We are told not to “fall asleep” – we must be constantly aware and ready. Like we tell our girls not to fall asleep in the outfield because when that ball comes to them they have to be in “ready position” or bad things happen (like homeruns being scored on errors).

1 Thessalonians
Chapter 4 (NAB)
Finally, brothers, we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, as you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God--and as you are conducting yourselves--you do so even more.
For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
This is the will of God, your holiness: that you refrain from immorality,
that each of you know how to acquire a wife for himself in holiness and honor,
not in lustful passion as do the Gentiles who do not know God;
not to take advantage of or exploit a brother in this matter, for the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you before and solemnly affirmed.
For God did not call us to impurity but to holiness.
Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not a human being but God, who (also) gives his holy Spirit to you.
On the subject of mutual charity you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.
Indeed, you do this for all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Nevertheless we urge you, brothers, to progress even more,
and to aspire to live a tranquil life, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your (own) hands, as we instructed you,
that you may conduct yourselves properly toward outsiders and not depend on anyone.
We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself, with a word of command, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God, will come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together 4 with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Thus we shall always be with the Lord.
Therefore, console one another with these words.

Picture is of Audrey playing catcher in a travel game October 2009. If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy reading “Statistics: Who Needs Them?”