Saturday, January 1, 2011

A look back on 2010: Family

Early this year, when my mom was in the hospital and most of our days were spent with her, we talked a great deal about how to define our year ahead. 

I chose the word "family"

There were several significant decisions that I made at that time in regards to our family -- stepping back from commitments I had made in order to reprioritize. For each "yes" for my family, there needed to be a "no" to something else. At times, those "no" responses were extremely difficult.  And times when I didn't say "no" and should have, I learned a very valuable lesson in the process.

In one of my favorite movies, Sweet Home Alabama, Melanie's dad Earl Smooter delivers this priceless line:
"You can't ride two horses with one ass, sugarbean."

And this sugarbean tried her best to avoid doing so.  :)

Throughout the year, I began to discover what was waiting for me in choosing my family. 

In the spring, I began classes in a french cooking school in Seattle. As I gained confidence in the kitchen, dinners at our home became a special experience each evening, usually timed out to begin as Jonathan was walking in the door.  Typically, five of the seven evenings in the week were spent around our table, recapping the day, sharing our highs and lows, and being amused by Thomas's excitement for the whole eating experience. Dinner would be followed by Thomas's bath, where he and Jonathan had time together to bond before the Wee Ski's bedtime and I could finish the dishes. We saved a great deal of money by cooking from scratch, and Thomas and I had great lunches already made from leftovers. But the best part was the time that was made each night for us together, reconnecting and bonding. 

Over the summer, our parish was blessed with a new priest. After finally being able to attend daily Mass (as I never could when I worked at Merrill Lynch -- there simply weren't any 6 am or evening daily Masses in our area), I loved the chance to be able to do so.  When Fr. Terence passed away early this year, our daily Masses at St. Columban stopped as well without a priest in residence. It is something that I took for granted while Thomas was tiny, and I realized how much I took it for granted when the Masses stopped.  When Fr. Duc stepped in, he began saying Mass again each day.  We were so blessed.

I prayed consistently each day for several special intentions regarding my family - both Jonathan/Thomas and our extended family - and also prayed for God to work on my heart more for forgiveness and grace. I prayed also for peace surrounding our inability to get pregnant again, especially as we neared the one year mark. 

Being able to experience the Eucharist each day is a blessing that gave back in incredible ways for our family. The Lord softened my heart in ways that I couldn't have imagined, and it brought a closeness to our marriage that we needed as Jonathan worked long hours away from us.  Thomas learns more each day about Jesus and His love for us, and is very proud when he recognizes the Lord's Prayer (outstretching his arms) and is getting better about his excitement for seeing the other daily Mass communicants (who he wants to greet personally every time we enter the always-silent chapel) by waving instead of yelling "HI! HI! HI! HI!". 

But mainly, it's helped me find the humility that I need in my heart to be a better servant leader in our family.  It's given me the grace to become a better wife and mom.  And it's taught me how to organize our day so we can make it to Mass without the craziness of hustling the Wee Ski out the door...most mornings!

As we end this year, I am at peace with our family and am so grateful that I chose to focus on us. 

We're looking ahead to the words that we want to define us in 2011...and can't wait to jump in!

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