Thursday, May 14, 2015

Would you be content to watch people swim?

I was over eating lunch a couple days ago at a dear friend's home.  Her grandmother, Mildred Irene Hayes, recently passed away.  Mildred's son gave the eulogy at her funeral.  Amongst many things he said about his mother, he earnestly pressed how his mother never, ever complained.  EVER.  She certainly had her share of hardships, but she NEVER complained.  Erica was telling me how we generally say that about a lot of people, but truly her grandmother never complained.  She always saw the goodness in everything and was so very grateful for anything.

Mildred grew up very poor.  They literally had nothing and worked very hard for everything.  In the moments that extra time was to be had, she and her sister walked SIX miles to the local pool.  SIX MILES.  Now this is the best part of the story....

You see, it cost 5 cents to swim at the pool.  Their family did not have that extra money.  Those two girls walked six miles to WATCH the other kids swim.  That was entertainment enough for them.  Erica said that often they walked the six miles home or someone would give them a ride.  I wish I could have heard their conversations. 

I just loved this story.  I never met Mildred, but from the few stories I heard that morning it certainly has made me ponder what children actually need.  We live in such a time of excess. 

I was listening to Dr. Ray Guarendi a couple days ago.  A woman had called in to say that her son is extremely disrespectful to the umpires at his baseball games.  He is constantly arguing.  Dr. Guarendi gave several suggestions on how to remedy the behavior, but he also joked about how baseball is handled now.  He was joking about the baseball buffet parents bring now to games.  He joked about "the snack" following the game as the "reward" for playing??  He joked that pretty soon snack will be provided after every inning. 

There seems such a contrast to this child and Mildred's life.  There seems such a contrast between Mildred, who never complained and HAD VERY FEW earthly possessions and opportunities, and this child who had so much more. 

I wonder if it is possible to give our children the gift of being in awe of watching OTHER children swim.  I have met several individuals who grew up with nothing, but didn't have Mildred's demeanor or gratitude.  They actually were very bitter about their circumstances.  I would love to discover the hidden link there of denying ourselves pleasures in order to grow a more content heart like Mildred had.  Something for myself to ponder....  I am sure my own content heart is #1 in order for their hearts to be content. 

The world and the world to come are two enemies.  We cannot therefore be friends to both, but we must decide which we will forsake and which we will enjoy. ---Pope St. Clement 1

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Lillie Maria Goretti John Paul Boever- Your Confirmation

Lillie received the sacrament of Confirmation on February 18, 2015. She chose St. John Paul the Great as her confirmation saint. I would bet large sums of money that no one in the history of being confirmed was as excited as Lillie. She had been looking forward to her confirmation for many months and probably years since first witnessing Dominic's.  She wagered back and forth for months about what name to pick.  She wanted to not hurt John and my feelings because she wanted to pick the name John or Ann which is my middle name.  She wanted me to ask the Bishop if she could pick two names so she didn't have to decide.  We reassured her several times that our feelings wouldn't be hurt, but she has such a tender heart that she wasn't convinced. 
We've told the kids that once they are confirmed, they are now an adult in their faith and must begin to make their faith their own.  Lillie would say in the weeks before the event how excited she was to be an adult in her faith.  Lillie is a very holy and devout child.  She is meticulous about her catechism and especially fasting before communion. 
She chose her Aunt Catherine to be her sponsor.  It is hard picking your sponsor when you are surrounded by so many aunts and uncles who are stellar examples of those living a life for Christ. 
I was a bit torn about her Confirmation.  Lourdes had just been born the previous week and we were still in the NICU in Omaha with her.  The Thursday before Lillie's Confirmation was the day that Lourdes had developed E.Coli from surgery.  I could barely leave her bedside and the thought of traveling to Lincoln was so overwhelming.  The night nurse really encouraged me to step away for a while as the stresses of being in the NICU can be so overwhelming.  For some reason, I felt bad for leaving, but she kept reassuring me that it was okay to go home for Lillie's big day.  Once I was home, I was so glad to be there for Lillie.  I called the NICU several times to check on Lourdes and they reassured me she was doing just fine.  Lillie was so excited to see me that morning and so appreciative.  Rose curled Lillie's hair that morning which was so sweet.

John's mom made a cake and we ordered Raising Cane's to celebrate.  I drove back that night to Omaha with a grateful heart to have spent the day with Lillie.  She was so very happy.  I am glad I witnessed her joy. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Zellie's First Holy Communion

Zellie made her First Holy Communion on April 18, 2015 at St. Teresa's Catholic Church. She was radiant and especially loved the princess crown I had found her a couple days before the big event.   She still wears it almost everyday.  I pray most for Zellie that she knows in her heart that she is a beautiful child of God, an heiress to the throne of heaven.  I pray that she seeks heaven above all earthly pursuits.  She is a beautiful child and drawn to beauty.  I pray she seeks the truth in beauty and uses it to glorify God.
She is a tender soul.  Zellie has a great sense of humor so we are always joking around with each other.  Out of all our children, she looks the most like me when I was a child.   

Her wonderful godparents, Joshua and Elisabeth, drove all the way from Colorado to celebrate with us. 

We initially thought Lourdes looked like Vianney, but more and more she is morphing into a mini-Zellie.

I love telling people John is a twin.  I always say he has an identical twin sister.  Most people believe me that they are identical.   Elisabeth was born 45 minutes before John.  His mother actually only thought they were having one baby.  They say Elisabeth cried until they put John next to her after he was born. 

Of course, we celebrated afterwards with friends, family, and food.
Zellie's buddy Cecelia made her First Holy Communion the same day at another parish.  She is the sweetest little girl. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

It Snowed!

The kids looked outside about a month ago and exclaimed, "MOM, it snowed!" Why do these beautiful trees only last a few short weeks. I really wanted to get our family picture taken, but couldn't get it together.

We fondly renamed our backyard "Kapaun's backyard."  He spends most of his days out there rummaging around.  I see his chubby body walk past my kitchen sink all day. 
The girls love to do superman on the swings.  Kapaun hasn't figured out the flying part, but he knows that you put your stomach down on the swing and somehow you are supposed to take off. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

 I love you. I love you. I love you. You are my most dearest.  How can we ever thank you for all that you are and do?  You have blazed a trail before us.  You have walked the road to Calvary and back many times for your children.  You offered to take my sufferings and you did.  You stood watch diligently over our little bodies and souls for so many years.  Mothers are so beautifully fascinating.  They give without thinking day after day with so much HOPE that it is making a difference in the lives of their children.  You took on my sufferings with Lourdes.  Will I do the same?  Will I ask God to be sick so that my child might be spared?  Will I ask God to give me what might have been given to my child or grandchild?  Look at you!  You did it!  You stayed the course and fought the fight for Christ.  You sat with Jesus everyday during your illness and did not turn your back on Him even in those days where He seemed so silent.  You sat and loved and trusted that HIS plan is better than yours.  You have asked Our Lady over and over to watch over your children and lead them to heaven.
You are not afraid to watch your children carry heavy crosses.  I hope I can be the same.  You are not afraid because you LOVE much.  You trust that God will see them through.  In that love, you are not afraid to ask to carry the cross for them.  Look what you did for me and little Lourdes. 
I get my love of babies from you.  You love babies and find each one so beautiful.  You were determined to comfort Lourdes.  I loved how you would work with her.  I was so thankful you came to be with us even though you did not feel well.  For heaven's sake, you about checked out of this earth the week after you left our home with a terrible infection.  You did it for me.  I saw it.  I promise. 
You were always amazed I didn't have as strong devotion to the Blessed Mother as you because of the nature of our relationship.  I see now.  Thank you for teaching me about her.  I have always loved her, but now I get it.  She is everything I want to be. 
Your sense of humor is such a gift to our family.  Your bald jokes made us all laugh.  Your face really became more beautiful as you suffered.  I am not just saying that.  Everyone who encountered you said the same. 
Our children think you are so wonderful.  I came downstairs tonight to them finishing the rosary for you as you prepare for your last chemo treatment tomorrow morning.  They love you so much. 

Thank you for working your tired self to the ground.  Thank you for giving and giving and giving.  Thank you for being the eternal cheerleader.  Thank you for hoping and loving.  Life seems possible when I talk to you.  You always give me that other perspective that makes me pick up my broken self and push on for the glory of God.  I stare at you now more than ever.  While you were visiting last, I watched from the kitchen you and John yuck it up over funny YouTube videos.  I watched you laugh. I was crying my head off silently in the kitchen at the gift of your life and time with us.   I love to watch you.  Your life is a gift to me and our whole family.
Thank you for suffering.  Thank you for teaching us all the right things namely our Catholic faith, service to others for Christ, the value of the sacrament of Confession and STARTING OVER, saying "I'm Sorry.  Please forgive me."  My very favorite though is the wonderful value of each and every person you encounter.  For heaven's sake, you wrote thank you notes to the cafeteria people who cooked your meals for you while you were in the hospital.  You taught us to see Christ in everyone and namely those who are often overlooked.  Thank you.  I am always looking for Jesus everywhere because of you. 

I thought this described you perfectly.  You have fought for your children in all the right and important ways for the next life.

Thank you for being the MOST perfect mother. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Our lovely little Lourdes

Lourdes.  You are almost three months old.  It might has well be three years.  She is so very sweet.  Your life has captured the hearts of our whole family.  The kids have taken to calling you Louie.  It is your first official nickname.  Your theme song is to the tune of  "Meet Me in St. Louis."  You certainly love your mother best of all.  You have a very sensitive stomach and really respond to what I eat.  You have really calmed down these past few weeks and are able to be more content for longer periods of time.  You are a smart baby.  You stare at patterns for long periods of time. 
Your well-child checks have been great and the doctors are so pleased with your progress.  We waited 10 weeks for your genetic testing to come back.  I had emailed the doctors a couple weeks previous to ask them kindly to email me the results as I seem to process life better that way.  When I noticed an email from the geneticist, my heart did skip for a moment.  She is such a kind and wonderful doctor.  The doctors were very confident that you did not have any genetic concerns, but wanted to be thorough while we were at the NICU.  Your testing did come back positive for Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome.  I think we all were shocked.  We spoke at length about what this meant for your life.

Children with Beckwith-Wiedemann lead a completely normal life.  The main concern is children with this syndrome have an increased risk of getting cancer during childhood.  We now will have blood work every 6 weeks and an abdominal ultrasound every 3 months until you are 12 years old.  John understands the genetics better than I, but what the syndrome involves is a difficulty in her ability to possibly absorb proteins which could lead to tumors.  This explains the omphalocele that was present at birth I believe.

Not all children with BW get cancer.  We are learning slowly what all this involves and most days it is just overwhelming to me.  John handles medical concerns so well which has been so helpful and calming. 
I look back at her early days in the NICU and one of the worst of all days was the Tuesday after she was born.  It was the day they came to us and told us a possible tumor was found on her adrenal gland and we would re-scan in one week.  I remember that horrible pain of hearing those words and waiting those results. I remember sobbing from the depths of my soul that night at the thought of my baby having cancer.   Now, we are at that place again in a lot of realms.  Although, now we will do it every 6 weeks for 12 years.  I feel such a deep, deep pull of God calling me to TRUST and to learn to TRUST.
I have been so afraid of cancer since my father passing and sister-in-law passing away in 2006.  My worst fear was one of our children getting cancer and to have to watch their precious little bodies suffer.  The fear was even heightened with my mother being diagnosed this year.  When the results came back for Lourdes, I almost couldn't say anything because the irony of the frequency of the testing was just too much.
God is certainly asking me to TRUST.  The most beautiful blessing that has come with Lourdes is my increased devotion to the Blessed Mother.  Shortly after she was diagnosed, I was sitting in front of a statue of Our Lady.  I just looked at her and cried.  She was only 14 years old when so much was asked of her.  Her "YES" to be the mother of God was the WHOLE YES.  From His birth to His death.  She subjected herself to such humiliation and pain for so much LOVE.  She opened herself up to such immense pain by saying YES.
For now, I just say YES.  To watch your fears all being played out, what else can you do?  I can do nothing else, but say YES and say "Jesus, I Trust in You."
We named her after Our Lady of Loudres.  I know our little Lourdes is so special to Our Lady.

She just woke up.