Wednesday, November 20, 2013


 Hello, my little one!
Welcome to my world.
Your first breaths
become my last
breaths I ever breathe
without thinking of you.
And as you lie upon my chest
nestled close to my heart,
I wonder what being a mommy will hold
as I smile and breathe in your delicious baby smell
and promise not to blink.

But I must have….

Because now you are learning to walk
One toddler foot in front of another
Your dancing eyes lock on mine
determination oozing from your beaming smile.
You can do it…you can do it.
And you do
as I smile and breathe in your delightful giggle
and promise not to blink.

But I must have…

Because now you are trying to ride a bike
Wobbling, weaving, zigging and zagging.
Slowly, my steadying hand
becomes less necessary.
You can do it…you can do it.
And you do.
as I smile and breathe in your exhilarating joy.
And promise not to blink

But I must have…

Because now you are entering
First grade…
Middle School…
High School…
You can do it… you can do it
And you do.
As I smile and breathe in the wonder of the woman
standing next to me.
preparing for life on her own
miles and miles away from home
yet still so close to my heart.
Wondering what waits for you now,
I must remind myself to breathe.
I can do it….I can do it.

“Welcome to your world, my little one.
Take a deep breath
…and promise me you won’t blink.”

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Habemus Papam!

I saw the puff of smoke.
And I smiled.  Really smiled.  I smiled one of those smiles where you know you look silly because you are grinning like a Cheshire cat.  But I didn’t care. I was happy.  I was proud.
I was proud to be witnessing a fascinating tradition that is 2000 years old.  I was proud of the way the whole Vatican news had been handled.
As a Catholic, I don’t always look forward to turning on the national news or opening my morning paper.  In the last many years, there has simply been some horrible news to report.  And some of the news has simply been reported horribly. 
And so it is extra special when the Church that you love can again be seen in the light of its heritage, steeped in the traditions that have seen it not just survive, but thrive over the years. 
It seems like the blink of an eye when the last puff of white smoke arose to a waiting world, signaling the new Shepherd of a Church of 1.2 billion Catholic sheep.  But that blinking eye has actually been eight years of a new pontifical power.  And those eight years culminated in a history-making retirement that lent itself to another round of majestic moments of tradition for a faith community and a waiting world. Perhaps it was the very essence of the practically unprecedented papal retirement juxtaposed against the never-changing pomp and circumstance of selection that fascinated me the most this time. The completely unexpected aligning itself with the comfort of the expected reminds us of both the mystery and majesty of God’s plans. 
So I sat on a Wednesday afternoon with the rest of the world, completely transfixed by the whole glorious spectacle of the selection of a new Pope.  I confess I would have to stifle a smirk when people would ask me if I thought the new Pope would be less conservative in his leadership.  That seems a bit like asking if the new principal is still going to require that the students take math and English classes.  But I loved the question.  I loved the fact that it was covered to the degree that we saw.
And then I saw the puff of white smoke.  I heard the announcement. “Habemus Papam!” And even I was surprised that my broad smile gave way to tears of joy for witnessing such a piece of history in the Church.
Once all of the “Who is the new Pope” stories have been exhausted, the Church traditions and teachings will no longer make the front pages. No, the front pages will go back to covering the bad news of the Church and the world  And we all know there will be more bad news, because this universal Church and this world are made up of this species we call humans. 
But I, for one, want to hang on to the good feelings of hope and pride I have for a little while longer.  I just don’t want them to disappear in a puff of smoke.

Monday, February 25, 2013

I told you so

              I told you so”.
            The words were not so much on the tip of my tongue as they were in the pit of my stomach.
            I just needed to say it. 
            But she just needed to talk.
            Her eyes were still red from the car ride home from the Myrtle Beach vacation with her friend’s family. The sunny time on the beach had turned somewhat stormy the last night when my daughter’s sixteen-year-old heart was broken. 
            First the phone call from the boyfriend’s old girlfriend.
            Then the call from the boy himself.
            It seems my daughter’s absence had made the boyfriend’s heart grow fonder. Unfortunately, though, it grew fonder for the old girlfriend.
            “So, I can’t see you anymore,” he brashly informed my teenager whose shoulders, and now, heart, were badly burnt.
            “I told you so,”  I wanted to say; but I didn’t.
            The mom in me yearned to point out the boyfriend’s pathetic pattern her dad and I had been complaining about for the last six months. I needed her to recognize the wisdom of her parents who had repeatedly warned her that this young man couldn’t be trusted even as far as he could throw a mean baseball.  I wanted to comment that this “player” did the same deed a few months earlier –a deed for which my doting daughter forgave him as soon as the old girlfriend was off to college again and baseball boyfriend found himself alone.
            “I told you so,” would have given the bitter moment some sweet satisfaction.       
But instead, I listened to her say she was over him, even though those beautiful brown eyes, still tinted red, told me it would take a little more time. And I continued to listen as she ended her beach break-up story with details of the ceremony she and her friends had by the ocean –when she threw the boyfriend’s newly purchased souvenir shot glass into the water, hoping to sink her high school crush along with it. 
            Finally, her words stopped as she swallowed her last sob, sighed and leaned toward me until her head rested on my chest. As I wrapped my arms around her, the years melted away and she became less my teenaged girl, and more my baby girl again. 
I knew I could tell her I had told her so.  What’s more, I probably could have offered words of wit and wisdom on how she will one day meet another boy who will actually appreciate her unbelievable spirit.  I certainly could have pointed out that she will, most likely, have her heart broken more throughout the years, as well as break a few herself along the way.
            But all the other words I wanted to say, didn’t matter after all.
All that truly mattered was my daughter had a soft spot to fall, blanketed in the knowledge she is loved more than she can comprehend.
            And I’m confident she knows.
            Because I told her so.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


       “What was the one moment this season where you felt the Christmas spirit?” asked the priest during his homily on the Feast of the Epiphany.  This is the Sunday that symbolizes the end of the twelve days of Christmas.  Christmas is officially over.
          Of course, I knew Christmas was over.  I had after all recently given some presents, received some presents, and even returned some presents.  And what made the message all the more clear was the fact that just yesterday, I de-decorated the house.  No more tree.  No more glistening lights.  No more Christmas.
          But his question echoed throughout my brain that had just prided itself on checking off that last item on my Christmas to-do list.  Unfortunately, a checklist Christmas is the way I seemed to celebrate it this year.
     Presents bought?  
     Cookies baked? 
     House decorated?
     Christmas spirit?
     No check.  But perhaps , I should say, “checkmate” to this one , because I had forgotten about my King.    Did I put Him on my list at all?
     I can come up with all sorts of excuses as to why this year was different.  I can cite my kids busy schedules, my work demands, and I can even find justification in the reality that both my parents were in hospitals right before Christmas. 
     But the check I always need to… strive  to… live to …check off my Christmas to-do list is the one where I find my Christmas spirit.  Usually this involves me stepping away from the demands of the holidays, and sitting in front of  the glowing Christmas lights in my darkened house, usually with “O, Holy Night” in the background.  That’s the moment where I take the time to breathe in the precious spirit of Christmas.  I take the time to let it seep through the busy-ness of my world and fill my weary soul.  That’s when I take the time to thank God for being the light in my darkness. 
     But I didn’t take that time this year.  And the tree, like my Christmas spirit, is sitting abandoned at the curb.  The illuminating lights, like my to-do list, have been packed and taken to the basement until next year.
     So when asked when I felt the Christmas spirit the most this year, I wanted to cry.  Not for myself and what I lacked --- but for my lack of acknowledgement and complete gratitude for the most precious gift I have ever been given. 
     That Holy Night came … and left.  And I didn’t take the time to breathe it in. 
     With my head bowed, I beckoned the words to my wise Christmas carol to wash over my guilty conscience.
     “Christ is the Lord! Forever, ever praise we
     His power and glory ever more proclaim!”
     And I had to smile.
     Forever.  That’s the time we are told to praise him, to celebrate His birth.  There is nothing there that says it all has to be done before or during those twelve days of Christmas …and then checked off our to-do lists, until next year.
     So, I’m going to try… and try… and then try harder…  to feel that Christmas spirit I’ve lately been too busy to feel, for the next 364 days.  I am planning on praising Him every day, and remembering Christmas as I do.  Maybe I’ll retrieve a string of lights from the basement to help remind me.
     Just thinking about it, brings me a piece of that peace now.  
     I guess on this feast day, I had my own little epiphany, after all.