A parents pride in their children is God’s gift to us. This gift seems to be overflowing this month in our home as my son graduated from Law School and my daughter became engaged. We are so thankful for both of them as they have filled our lives with many graces. Each has given us hours of laughter and our share of concern.
My eldest is my daughter Christine, my little dancer. Her fifteen years of dance lead her to teach dance here for the park district. It was so cute to see her give back what she had been given as she helped the little ones beam on stage for all of us sitting in the audience. She was so natural up there talking to parents about their little princesses, reassuring them that the stage is the perfect place for their daughters to learn to embrace the arts.
I knew from her very beginning she had that love for life molded into her karma. She embraces you with her smile. In my mind’s eye I see her at fifteen months running out onto our drive way to greet the next door neighbors by their first names.
Retail has been Chrissy’s passion. Her resume reads department store leadership all over it. From the young age of seven we were planning a little trip to Aunt Cindy’s and Uncle Anthony’s but first we had second grade school attire shopping to do. JC Penny’s had this cute little black and white skirt that she wanted to wear but it wasn’t on sale. She politely asked the sales associate when their sale would start, mind you she’s seven years old at the time. The sale fell on the days she would be away. She informed me that it would not be a good thing to visit the cousins because “Penny’s is having their sale.” I promised I would purchase the skirt during the sale. Foreshadowing wouldn’t you say?
My secret desire for her was to become a teacher. Her capacity to lead children was evident when she taught swimming. The children loved her. They’d bob their heads in the water or obey her when asked to hang on to the edge of the pool till it was their turn. The parents loved her as they’d take adorable pictures of their children hanging on her in the pool. Seriously, we have several in the water moments.
Tony, our youngest, has always wanted to be an attorney. He was in fourth grade watching Law and Order when the district attorney said something. He blurted out he wanted to have that authority someday. He was always our what-if boy, “Mom, what if…Dad what if…”
At the tender age of 19 months Tony started his journey of ear infections. He had two sets of tubes and hearing loss. We did all that we could to make sure that he had what he needed to become a good student. As a parent watching a three year old go through a hearing test, you see what he cannot hear. Your heart aches. I remember the Sisters of Mercy use to say to us at St. Columba School that the Blessed Mother had all of these moments locked away in her heart. These are the sorrows.
The joys outweighed the sorrows. He excelled academically. He read everything he could get his hands on. He enjoyed intellectual competitions, Battle of the Books, middle school spelling bee – geography bee – if it was a competition he was ready to take it on. He loved his sports, football especially.
During the summer between sixth and seventh grade I couldn’t stand the fact that Tony sat at home watching TV while my daughter was at swim practice. I inquired to see if he could volunteer in summer school with ESL students. (I had an in with the school. I use to run a volunteer program for in school academics in our underserved schools.) Tony did volunteer, and he brought a few friends along to help out. That started six years of volunteering during the summer months with these youngsters. He helped to incorporate the volunteering with National Honor Society service hours. The students loved these young men and women who would come and help with reading.
There are many times that I lived vicariously through my children especially when they were able to go to New York or Washington DC. Chrissy attended master dance classes in New York with her dance studio during the day while attending Broadway shows in the evening – such a life. Tony went to the Presidential Classroom in Washington DC. What he came away with through the Law and Justice program would cement his desire to really become an attorney.
We were so proud when he walked across the stage at the John Marshall Law School graduation ceremony at the Chicago Sheraton. I’ve never seen my son so happy.
We have tried to instill, “To whom much is given, much is expected”, which is rooted in Luke 12:48. I expect my children to give back in many ways, not so much to enhance their careers but to enhance the lives of others. It fulfills your life when you can share it with others for the betterment of others. Unfortunately we live in interesting times where it takes courage to stand up for others. I think they’re prepared.
June has been a month of blessings and it’s not over.