Wednesday, December 29, 2021

"Christmas Season" Birthdays: Mom Would’ve Been 83 Today

Facebook Memories are especially vivid during the holidays. There are a lot of images and texts from the past dozen years to prompt memories from Christmases Past. I was struck by something from this Facebook post from TEN years ago, namely, how long my mother suffered in circumstances that were difficult for most people to comprehend, but that were very real nevertheless. She would go on to live nearly another decade "home bound and in poor health," and I know it was very hard for her. The Lord permits us to endure trials of different kinds and durations, but He also accompanies us as the Incarnate Word, and on the Cross He makes all our suffering His own and transforms everything from within, so that we might be raised up with Him to a new life in the victory of His love.

December 29 has been a special day during Christmas Week for my family for a long time. My mother was born on this day in the year 1938. We celebrated her birthday, along with my own (on January 2) and then - since 1998 - Agnese's pre-Christmas birthday on December 21. Sometimes we would have a "triple birthday party" at Papa's and Grandma's condo in the later years.

Nothing is the same this year. We haven't even celebrated Agnese's birthday yet. She may be back from the hospital before the new year, and she is improving (though they are still searching for the cause of her current illness). I never expected to spend Christmas Week worrying about my daughter and having so many as-yet-unanswered medical questions. It reminds me, strangely, of another Christmas 15 years ago when our youngest daughter Josefina was already two months in the NICU with complications from her premature intestines and problems recovering from the surgery that had connected them initially. (Another surgery was required the following March, and JoJo didn't come home from the hospital until mid-May, nearly seven months after her birth.) Of course that was an entirely different situation. But whether your kid is two months old or 23 years old, she is still your kid when she's not well.

I was expecting to miss Mom this year (and Dad too, again). And now I'm "talking to her" in prayer and saying, "Can you help them figure out what's going on with your granddaughter?" I'm quite sure she is helping.