Saturday, December 21, 2019

Agnese Turns 21 Years Old, as Christmas Draws Near

Happy Birthday Agnese Janaro. You're 21 years old now. As you know, I can't resist these "comparison collages" (age 5 on the left) but for parents they give a sweet kind of nostalgia. We're proud of the beautiful person you have grown up to be, and — of course — we're always here for you. We love you, Agnese!❤⭐ In a couple of months you will embark on what we hope will be a very special time of your university life: the Semester in Rome! You have waited a long time to go to a country where (finally) everyone will be able to pronounce your name. It will be worth the wait. The Italians make it sound like poetry!

Readers of this Blog may have noticed that, for the Janaro family, this decade has been about "kids growing up."

I think some of my bios in the publishing and internet world still say that we have "five children"! That status needs to be updated. It needs to say, "We are the parents of five..." or some such thing. Teresa and Jojo are still kids, even though Teresa drives her own Ford Explorer SUV around, and rides and takes care of her own horse. Jojo is certainly in no rush to grow up, and still enjoys being a child. Adolescence is just beginning for her. 

We had five children until pretty recently, like ... you know, 2010? My "most recent" book Never Give Up: My Life and God's Mercy came out at the beginning of this decade (order it here by clicking this link — people do still buy it, read it, and find it helpful; and I'm grateful for that). The reflections in it remain pertinent. My health is, perhaps, a bit better now. One big difference, however, is that "the kids" are no longer aged 12, 11, 9, 7, and 3.

They are now 22, 21, 19, 17, and 13. For the "kids," this decade has been a big one. Which means it has been big for us too. I pray that the Lord will continue to bless and take care of our family and each of its members, and also the generation above us — our parents and the kids' grandparents. For them too, it has been a decade of many new challenges. My father is the first to have completed the journey of this earthly life. He passed away in April, three days shy of his 84th birthday.

Christmas is in a few days. For me it will be the first Christmas ever without Dad. Even the year I lived in Italy, we could talk on the telephone. So this is very different. Mom is recuperating slowly but steadily from her recent broken-bone injury. Temporarily, she has moved to a smaller efficiency apartment at a lovely Assisted Living place in Arlington where she can continue to receive therapy and all the care she needs at her own pace. We have begun the process leading to selling my parents' condo and selling our house, as well as looking at larger houses that would have space for Mom to come live with us.

Very big things will be happening, God willing, in 2020. (A wedding too!!)

But before that, Christmas approaches, and in celebrating it we remember that we are all still children, because we are children of God who has revealed Himself as our loving Father. Indeed, He sent His Son as a child to reveal the simplicity and depth of His love. I pray abundant blessings for all my readers as Christmas draws near. May its celebration bring you joy and peace.

And there's another collage of little Agnese and current Agnese (she's 3 or 4 years old on the left in this one).