Saturday, October 26, 2019

Josefina Turns Thirteen!

The Janaro family has another teenager!

Well, "technically" speaking...

Thirteen years ago, on that wacky-and-totally-unforeseen-day-that-we-never-dreamed-we-would-end-up-celebrating-every-year, October 26 in the year 2006, Josefina made her surprising (but necessary) early debut on the ex utero "platform" of life.

She had major health issues that required emergency surgery (and ultimately another emergency surgery months later) and ended up spending nearly seven months in the NICU. I have written about this story many times on this blog and even in my 2010 book Never Give Up: My Life and God's Mercy.

She is fine today. But she has always been a little bit on the small side for her age. Maybe she's just a small person, physically speaking. As I always say, she is the opposite of small when it comes to personality. 

And that has been true since the beginning, when she was all big eyes and chubby cheeks, charming the NICU nurses (most of the time).

When I began this blog, she was only four years old. John Paul (our oldest) was thirteen. Now he's into his twenties and engaged. Agnese and Lucia are in university. Teresa just got her driver's licence. And now Jojo enters the teen years, in the strict sense, at least (according to the numbers). But she's hardly your average teenager.

She's still very much a kid. People could be forgiven for guessing that she's ten or eleven ("forgiven" in general, though maybe not forgiven by her😉). She's more on that level physically and in some other aspects too. But Jojo has been growing steadily since toddlerhood, and there's nothing to be concerned about.

There are some ways in which I think she's mature for her age. She can have serious and intent discussions, has a large perspective, shows a great capacity for empathy, and she's got big aspirations. It frustrates her a bit that she's small for her age, but she's going forward at her own pace. We are blessed to live in an environment (and be part of a school like John XXIII Montessori) were there is both guidance and freedom, where there's lots of friendships between kids of different ages (and plenty of interaction between generations).

There is still the dynamic with one's own peers, and that always has ups and downs. Every kid weathers the challenges of growing up in a different way.

Josefina has lots of adventures ahead of her. Meanwhile, I will continue to try to be the best Dad I can be for her (and for the others, because this task - these relationships - always matter, through the whole of life).

I love this family that has been given to me. They keep me young at heart. Again and again they humble me and show me that the meaning of my life is beyond myself. I need to pray. I need to follow Jesus, and trust in Him. But that's a wonderful thing to be reminded of. We are made for relationship with God. This is the glory of life.

Happy Birthday Josefina!!