My children are my life.
I have had this love affair for nearly 28 years, ever since I gave birth to my first-born son, Paul. And it continued through the birth of my second-born son, Stephen, when he darkened our doorstep nine years later.
In between the two boys, there were six girls ~ Mary, Theresa, Laura, Andrea, Clare, Julia.
I have counted to eight every night all this time; I still do. I worry, I fret. I love, I laugh. I carry the weight of their worlds on my shoulders and in my heart.
From the first time Paul sat with his father Michael in front of the portable TV in our room and watched his first baseball game ~ at the tender age of six months ~ all the way through Stephen's HS graduation this coming Spring...I have tried to be there for their coming-of-age events. Their homecomings, their report cards, their Sacraments.
All of it.
They were not always easy to take care of, as when Theresa was rushed to the emergency room with a 105.6 temperature and fever convulsions. Or when Paul dug four-foot-deep trenches all around the backyard and filled them up with hose water ~ funny now, not then!
There were times when I wanted to walk away from it all ~ I wanted to hide at my drawing table and lose myself in my Art. I needed to separate what I had for myself from what they were trying to give me. And then I would remember that what they were trying to give me was so much better than what I could ever have had without them in my life to share it!
Their runny noses, their scribbled pictures, their stories of who they would be if they could have a wish...these are the things of their childhoods.
Now that they are all grown, I see what they have become. I think back to the good days when they were all well-behaved, and yes, even to the not-so-good days when they weren't!
People are constantly telling us what a wonderful family we have. Mike and I didn't do this alone ~ we had God on our side. He promised us a long time ago that if we did His will and gave life to as many babies as He would care to send us, then He would see us through it. And He promised that we would be grateful to Him that we listened...that He would bless us with so much more than we could ever possibly have imagined, in the loving of our children and our life together with them in it.
And this He has done.