At the end of this month, my little girl will make her First Holy Communion. She is my sixth child, born to me right after my 46th birthday. It’s a bittersweet time in a way – it is her first – but it is one of my lasts – the last first communion of my children. I’ve been having a lot of those lately as she grows up and moves through phases and events that her siblings have already passed through.
Recently, when I was feeling a little melancholy, I re-read something I wrote shortly after she was born – and it is as true today as when I wrote it nearly 8 years ago. Elena
This afternoon I took a delicious long nap with my precious baby girl. When she woke a bit I nursed her and then she snuggled up against my body, sighed peacefully and went back to sleep. Outside I can hear my younger ones playing with their friends, and my older ones are riding bikes or playing video games.
And I’m soaking all of this in, while at the same time a discussion is brewing on the internet NFP vs. artificial birth control, and how the church was wrong, or right and on and on and on. Frankly I’m sick to death of debating that one over and over and over and over. Maybe I’ll try the living example approach.
I look at these little children, and my big strong strapping almost-16-year-old, and hear the voice of John Paul in my head “Be Not Afraid!” Amen to that Holy Father!!
If I had been afraid to have this family because of money, or childbirth, or health or fear of the future in general, I wouldn’t have this handsome teenager on the brink of adulthood. I wouldn’t have had the privilege of watching him grow and mature in ways that have just astounded me. Or if I had stopped after him, I wouldn’t have the sensitive and charming Sam, or Gabe with his dancing eyes and tender heart (you should see how that 4th grader dotes on his baby sister). I most certainly wouldn’t have the quick witted and delightful Noah with his many observations about the world around him. Common sense would have told me to stop after 4 boys – in which case I wouldn’t have my beautiful and kind Izzy. If I had been really smart I would have stopped after having my angel Raphael and giving him right back to God – but then I wouldn’t have his dark eyed beautiful baby sister Rosie! I may be nuts, but I wasn’t afraid!!
All I know for certain is that the childbearing years don’t last forever, the kids don’t stay children forever, and there are no guarantees in this life other than living and dying. I’m glad I didn’t spend ALL of that time worrying about trying to NOT HAVE CHILDREN and that I just had them. And I’m still not afraid.
Copyright 2013 Elena LaVictoire