Monday, March 6, 2017

Eileen's Birthday and Her Gift to Us

March 5, 2017 was a very, very special day. 

Yesterday, Eileen Janaro attained the "age of wisdom." Yes, this particular birthday represents a special milestone for my beloved wife (in numerical terms).

You understand, of course, that when it comes to specific "figures," it is beyond my power to provide them. I can speak of such things only with regard to myself; I wouldn't dare to reveal the secrets of a lady. Call me old fashioned. (Or call me silly, or a smart aleck, whatever... 😜 )

But you can probably guess what that number is, even if she does look like she's still barely twenty nine. 😊 

I must take the opportunity on this blog to say Happy Birthday to my dear beautiful lady! 💗

She is truly a jewel of a human being. I love her more than I can ever express, and I am so grateful to God for her. I am overwhelmed by the blessing that she is, and by how she has loved me and cared for me, our children, and so many people in our community through her teaching and guidance at the John XXIII Montessori Children's Center.

My wife has a charism for hospitality, in the sense that she opens up "spaces" where joy can awaken and flourish, where contemplation of truth and beauty can be experienced and shared. I do believe that she has a charism in the proper sense of the term, a gift of the Holy Spirit, a special grace that nevertheless works in and through all of her remarkable natural talents.

We have a happy home. It's cluttered because we have lots of interesting things going on, not much space, and (as a consistent feature) way more books than any reasonable private home ought to have (and that is really my fault). But it is a gentle, happy place. She deserves the credit for that.

This is a great lady!
Then, of course, she exercises the exquisite, arduous but also unobtrusive care of a Montessori teacher in her classroom. Many people don't realize how much attention and hard work this requires, but I have been privileged to see her work in these years, and it is a splendid, heroic thing.

Also, Eileen doesn't just "cook" -- she performs miracles with food. She loves to make a feast, and she has a "touch" like that of Babette (from the movie Babette's Feast) in that her food is made with such love that it engenders more love. 

And so it was that friends and family collaborated with her to make possible her birthday celebration in the way she really wanted it. Some friends hosted the gathering at there house, but Eileen herself planned a beautiful dinner for ten people and prepared it with lots of help from our wonderful daughters. So she didn't have to work too hard, but she did get to "throw her own party," creating a beautiful gathering for some of our oldest and dearest friends.

It really was a beautiful evening, with my wife doing something she really loves: shaping an environment that fosters a deeply human experience, with hospitality and beauty, conversation, community, and of course great food!

Lovely table setting on the left, and on the right just some of the food: flank steak with herbs, tomato and garlic, risotto, salad, wine, & so much more!
Just a couple of quick pics with the phone to give you an idea of how lovely and delicious everything was. The dessert was an apple cake with whipped cream. We didn't actually have a "blowing out the candles" moment, now that I think about it.

But it was a beautiful evening in every way.

In any case, we are not done celebrating this significant natal anniversary. On March 23, Eileen and I will go see the Washington Capitals (you know, of course, that this gentle, soft-spoken woman loves hockey) along with John Paul, Teresa, and Josefina. So that will be at least one other birth-month "party" and a nice collaborative birthday present from the family. Hopefully the Caps will do their part and give the gift of a victory. 

Josefina also decided to encourage me--in light of my current preoccupation with graphics and her expertise in old fashioned coloring--to make a special birthday drawing. We spent several hours putting this together. I just did an outline on the computer which obviously shows that I'm still in my "geometric phase," while Jojo sat next to me and coached me. Then I printed a copy of it and colored it by hand with (Josefina's) colored pencils, once again relying on her advice on which colors to use in different places.

The result was another "busy" and colorful production, but a truly homemade card, with lots of "heart" (in more ways than one 😏).

She is the love of my life, my life's companion, a treasure beyond all estimation. May God grant her many more years, and grant us many more years together. 💕