Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm so predictable

I wrote this in '05, my first year of blogging, and reran it last December. I'm rerunning it again, because that's part of what makes me so predictable. And, it's all still true. (Except the babysitter part. Our oldest is -- gasp! -- old enough to babysit now. And, it's not hard to keep Ramona happy during Mass now, either. But, the rest of it? Predictably true.)

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My husband and I have a holiday tradition. Every year, close to Christmas, we get a babysitter, go out for Chinese food, buy all the last-minute ...

** (WARNING: Santa spoiler ahead) **

... stocking stuffers and generally fall in love all over again -- with each other, with our children, and with the magic of Christmas. We talk about our days, about my parents and his, about holiday travel plans, about how we'll keep the youngest child happy and calm during the long Christmas Eve Mass. And we talk about how we can't believe how drastically our Christmases have changed over the years.

You see, when we married, we didn't want children. Children were nice enough for other people, but not for us. We didn't want the mess, the commitment, the responsibility. We were happy to be "child free" as opposed to "childless."

Then something happened. I became a Christian.

Oops. Short-circuit in the selfishness department. I began to long for a child. Soon, Atticus's heart caught up with mine in the procreation department, and we set forth to create a family. After some heartbreaking miscarriages, we had Anne. But only one child, Atticus said. One child is enough.

Then I became a Catholic.

Oops. Short-circuit in the openness to life department. We had Betsy. Several more heartbreaking miscarriages later, God awarded us with Ramona, and here we are. Falling in love again at Christmas time, and crazy, head-over-heels in love with our children.

And all because of of a Child born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. Had Mary said, "No, thank you, I'd like to remain child-free," I would be childless. There would have been no conversion, no short-circuit, and most certainly, no joy. How does one thank God for that?

I always seem to do it in the same old, tired way.

I cry.

May you, too, shed some tears of ineffable gratitude this Christmas.

8 comments:

Caroline said...

So beautiful, Karen.

Melanie B said...

Karen,

I love your predictability. I enjoyed reading this as much this year as I did last year. And yes, still teared up.

Christine M said...

That's lovely, Karen. Have a blessed Christmas!

Beck said...

Sniff. That made ME cry!

Liz said...

This one predictably makes me tear up as well. It also makes me shake my head and say:" HOW can Anne be old enough to babysit, it was just yesterday that Karen was agonizing over not sending her to first grade... Guess I've been around awhile.

turtlemama said...

Just as beautiful this year. Have a Merry Christmas.

Margaret Mary Myers said...

That is SO beautiful!!! As a convert, too, I'm with you! (Of course, I guess it applies to "cradle Catholics" as well. :) ).

Thank you for sharing, and have a wonderful Christmas.

Sarah said...

I'm a cryer too (or is it "crier"?). And I always cry this time of year, especially when I think of how far I have come by God's grace. (And then, without fail, I think of how far I have to go...) Before I became Catholic, I didn't want children. I marvel at the two little bodies who snuggle close to me, because they wouldn't be here but for the grace of God. :) My path was a bit different from yours, but oh so similar. Thanks for sharing this; I would have never had a chance to smile and enjoy it if you hadn't reposted it!

Merry Christmas!