Friday, December 11, 2020

Eighteen Years With Teresa Janaro

Teresa's birthday was on December 6th, so this is a bit late. But when your fourth child turns 18, you have to think about what to say.

When I started this blog nearly ten years ago, it was all about "the family." There were lots of stories about the kids, individually and as a group. Just go look in the archives. We had five kids in January 2011, aged 13, 12, 10, 8, and 4 years old. (Teresa was the 8-year-old.)

The last decade was one of big changes for our kids. It has been the decade in which four of them grew up.

I used to take pictures of them and write about them all the time. Then came adolescence with its drama and its challenges, and with each of them taking up distinctive and increasingly self-possessed pathways. They don't want Dad nosing around with a camera; naturally, they want to take responsibility for telling their own stories.

As a parent, you may have twinges of nostalgia for their childhood years, but the sense of gratitude watching them grow up is far greater. I really want to thank the Lord for His mercy, and frankly acknowledge that He is the one who has sustained us through these years, that He is the source of whatever is good in our family.

We are so "proud" of Teresa, for reasons that are obvious to everyone in our local community. But extended family and others far away may not realize what an extraordinary young lady she has become. She has taken initiative and realized her interests with persistence and dedication. This kid drives an SUV and a truck, owns and works with horses, and has a black belt in karate. She is also (like her sisters) a beautiful girl, full of intelligence and empathy, aware of her dignity, and strong in her faith.

It is a wonderful thing to see a person grow from infancy ("Teresa, you're only the size of an extra large pizza!" I used to sing to her) to the beginnings of adulthood, to see her manifest the qualities of her own personality and the hints of an interiority that is vast and mysterious, that comes from God and answers to Him alone.

Each of our kids has grown in different and special ways, and they have grown together with us as a family. We are grateful to Jesus for each of them, and we trust that He will continue to be our Good Shepherd as the journey of this life continues.

Many happy years, Teresa. We love you!