Friday, December 18, 2009

A Predictable Rerun

I wrote this in '05, my first year of blogging, and have rerun it each December since then.

I'm rerunning again, because that's part of what makes me so predictable. 

And, it's all still true, except that we no longer need babysitters, and Ramona now gets easily through the Mass. 

And the ending?

Predictable and true.


I'm So Predictable 

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, and 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 debate, 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.


Jo Shabo said...

that was lovely--thanks for sharing. When I see some of the things that your write on your blog it gives me hope for my family.. I was brought up in large Catholic family ( i am the oldest) My brother (2nd oldest) married a girl who considers herself (or at least used to) atheist. My brother just kind of seems to have dropped his faith as well because it was convenient. We both have little ones that are the same age and my heart aches for my little nephew. While my daughter is growing to learn and love God and our Catholic faith, he has no idea and I am so sad. I always wonder..."what is it that makes a person return to their faith... or even harder... become faithful to be a Christian or Catholic?" I wish I had the answer but I don't think there is anything I can really do but pray for them. (As I am sure you can tell)--I am having a hard time with this along with multiple other family issues as well... sometimes I think it is really hard to be the oldest! (sorry to write such a long note). Thanks again for your blog!

Pat Gohn said...

Thanks for the rerun, Karen... for those who didn't know you "when" and who are thoroughly tickled that we know you "now". Merry Christmas!

Karen E. said...

Jo, thanks for your comment, and I think you're right -- prayer is the main thing to "do" for those family members. And your example of a faithful, joyful life can also speak volumes. Sometimes the Lord calls us to speak up and evangelize out loud, and other times I think He calls us to stay silent and pray. It can be difficult to discern what to do at what moment, but if we keep praying, we'll usually know. Prayers for you and your whole family!

And, thanks, Pat! Merry Christmas to you, too! I'm sorry I missed your Among Women year end favorite Christmas moments. I was going to call with the Nat King Cole story, but I missed the deadline. Anyway, have a wonderful Christmas season!