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A Letter to My Daughter on Her First Holy Communion

A Letter to My Daughter on Her First Holy Communion

Dear Daughter,

I remember my First Holy Communion like it was yesterday. I remember the warm May day, the excitement of putting on my dress and sitting with my family, and the fact that a bunch of kids passes out during the photos afterwards. I remember the Mass, and the party. But most of all, I remember writing a “1” on my calendar in my bedroom. When we went to Mass with my class two days later, I wrote a “2.” The next Sunday, a “3.” I kept this up most of the summer. I wanted to remember every single time I was able to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist. It was special, and new, and EXCITING. I was excited to receive the Body and Blood of Christ every chance I got.

I want that for you.

More than the pretty dress, and the warm family embrace, and the pictures; more than any of that, I want you to feel the Body of Christ on your tongue and know that you are participating in the most important thing you will ever do. You could cure cancer, become President of the United States, or be a mom of 18 little souls. You could do all that and more. Nothing will ever, ever, be as important as what you get to do as you approach the altar and receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ inside your very body.

That is what I want for you.

We have been through some things, my little girl. You did not grow in my womb. You were born to me, in a sense, on Holy Thursday. On that Holy Thursday many years ago, at the celebration of the institution of the Eucharist, I saw you for the first time in Daddy’s arms. I felt the Holy Spirit in my mind and my soul and even though I did not understand it, I knew I would bring you to the altar one day for your First Holy Communion. I knew you were my baby, even though it made no sense. That first Holy Thursday with you, I knew that Christ, through His life, death, and resurrection had given us the protection to go forward as a family.

This meal that you get to partake in is the source and summit of our faith*, and of our family.

It will not be easy, Daughter. You will grow complacent. I stopped writing the number of times I’d received the Body of Christ on my calendar. There were so many times I’ve gone forward mindlessly, because that’s what you do. It was important, sure, but not SPECIAL. I would get distracted by other people, friends, what other people are wearing. There are even times I went forward for Communion when I was probably not in a state to do so, and I regret those times more than anything else in the world. (That’s why you made your first confession some months ago, so you can always be prepared to approach the altar of the Lord.)


It’s not always exciting.


Except that it is. A dear priest friend prays before every Mass that we experience it as if it were our first Mass, our last Mass, our only Mass. I want you to realize that. I want you to realize that this could be the ONLY chance you ever get to receive the Body of Christ in the Eucharist on earth. We are never assured of anything, and every single moment we get to experience the union with our Lord through his Body and Blood is an unmistakable gift from God, and one that we cannot take for granted, however easy that might be.


I want you to appreciate the significance of this moment, Daughter, and not only today. It’s easy today. It’s exciting. I want you to appreciate it in a year, when you’re looking over your shoulder to find your friends. I want you to appreciate it in ten years, when you’re kneeling and praying but really just watching other people walk by. I want you to appreciate it in 12 years, when you’re being made fun of for going to Mass while you’re away at college. I want you to appreciate it in twenty years, at your nuptial Mass, when the first meal you and your husband partake of together is the Eucharistic feast. I want you to appreciate it every single year after that when you have babies clinging to you, toddlers whining and kicking your skirt up, and children bugging you to find their place in the missal. I want you to appreciate it when you are sick and tired and going through morning sickness and arguing with your husband and it took everything you had to just get to Mass. I want you to appreciate it when you come forward with something broken inside you that only God can fix. I want you to appreciate it when you are preparing your daughter for her First Holy Communion.

 

That’s what I want for you today. And I will spend the rest of my life helping you understand it.

 

I love you,

 

Mommy

 

*CCC 1324

Categories
Domestic Church Ink Slingers Janalin Marriage Matrimony Prayer Sacraments Vocations

Dear Husband,

Dear Husband

Dear Husband,

I see you across the table.  I see how tired your eyes are and how your body hurts.  I see you.  But I can’t hold your hand or stroke your hair right now because the children are crying for me to finish feeding them and get them to bed. 

The truth is, after almost ten years of marriage, the couple we once were is almost unrecognizable.  “For better or for worse”… I’m pretty sure I got the better end of that deal.  After four kids and devoting myself to our family there isn’t much but a glimpse left of the bride that you watched walk down the isle.  Thank you for loving me for my heart and not only for the way I look.

I worry about you.  About the fact that there just plain isn’t enough of me at the end of the day to give to you.  I am sorry.  Please know that you have my heart even more every day. This life that we have built takes everything I have in me.  Most days I am up to the many hats I have to wear but I still fall short more often than I would like. 

We have been monumentally blessed with our children and I thank God daily that you are their daddy.  They could not have a better role model of what a Godly husband and father looks like and I am grateful for your steadfast example. 

I am eternally grateful for your Faith.  Thank you for bringing me to the fullness of the Catholic Church.  I have no doubt that God brought us together knowing you would lead me to Him in a deeper, more knowing, way..  Because of you I am Catholic and because of you I have experienced Christ and His love to the depths of my soul. 

Ten years ago I was worried about the right china, selecting the towels for our registry, and the printing of our programs for the wedding guests.  Now the dishes are chipped and broken, the towels are ragged, and the programs have long been discarded.  But we remain steadfast and true to one another and to God.  Day by day dedicating our lives to Christ and putting our family first we are working towards heaven.  There is no one I would rather have by my side than you on this journey.

Love,

Your Wife

Categories
Ink Slingers Martina Motherhood Parenting Testimonials Vocations

A Letter to My Daughter on Her 18th Birthday

There are few things that make me feel old. For the most part, my self esteem is pretty healthy, and I rarely let my six children’s frequent comments about my being 1000 years old get to me. Or my gray hairs. Or my wrinkling skin…

Where was I going with this? 

Ah, yes, few things that make me feel old…well, I always knew in the back of my mind that my oldest would someday turn 18. I also knew it would also be the same day I would escape to the nearest day spa to come to grips with this new reality in my life. I somehow didn’t take into account that that would require me leaving her with the kiddos so I could recuperate from this milestone birthday…so, I decided to go a different route. Write a letter to her.

That’s totally NOT embarrassing, right? 😉

Here goes:

My dear, sweet Ashley,

I still remember when you were just a few weeks old like it was yesterday. Men and women alike would come up and gaze into your stunning turquoise eyes and remark to me to enjoy that time. They grow up too fast, they said. Of course, I scoffed at them. Being such a young momma, I always felt like I had time on my side. There was no way I would miss those days of getting up in the middle of the night, the endless diaper changes, soothing those achy gums as new teeth broke through.

ALettertoMyDaughter

And, then, somehow, as if by magic, the time really did disappear.

Gone are the days when

you first crawled,

and pulled yourself up,

and took your first steps,

or said your first words;

rode your bicycle for the first time,

your first day of kindergarten,

your first ballet recital,

your field trip to the Kennedy Center,

your First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion,

your first retreat away from home,

and so many other milestone moments in your life.

It’s not like I can cradle you in my arms anymore – well, I mean, we could try. I have a feeling a lot of people would have something to say about that visual, though. And, thinking about it, I can totally see you rising to the challenge and letting me try to cradle you just for laughs.

I’ve heard it said the oldest kid is the one that parents use as their guinea pig. If she turned out ok, there’s a reasonable chance the others will survive to adulthood. I remember enrolling you in religious education halfway through your kindergarten school year. I was winning parenting awards that year, lemme tell ya! Anyhoo…I signed you up, but really I think I signed myself up. It was the beginning of the realization that I couldn’t stomach giving you answers to your questions about our Catholic faith such as “just because” or “it’s what we do” or “it’s tradition.”

You deserved better than that.

I started studying the Faith alongside you; you learned with childlike faith and I learned to shed the childish ways so I could give you {and your siblings} what you deserved. I knew that wouldn’t be enough, so I got to work praying, too. It’s true that parents often want their children to have more and better things than they did as children. Spiritually speaking, this should always apply. Materialistically speaking, not so much. I wanted the spiritual opportunities for you to be so abundant that you could literally have your pick of what you wanted to do.

And hooweeeee, did we get what we prayed for!

I couldn’t have asked for a better situation. Most people count themselves rightly blessed when they have a family that is devoted to the faith and filled with joy and living out the life God has called them to. That, in and of itself, is a rare find. Not that I think our family is perfect {remember the family motto!!}, but after witnessing the affect our parish community has had on our family, and each of you kiddos, I feel like we couldn’t have asked for anything better. As activities and events wind down for SWYM and FISCHETeen, you and I are about to embark upon a project that will hopefully keep that fire in the belly for the Faith.

You’re no longer a little girl, but someone who has just blossomed into a stunningly beautiful young woman! I may not share this often, but I pray for you all the time. That the love for the Faith that you have carries you through these next several years. I pray the love of Christ carries you through the tumultuous times you are sure to go through. I pray you are always a beacon of Christ’s light.

If there is one thing I can pass on to you from my own life that I pray you keep in your life…remember what Mr. Noe Rocha says – do all things so as to glorify God. Whether you’re sweeping the floor for the umpteenth time, or struggling to do something nice for someone who has done wrong to you, or you want to hand out bags filled with essential items for the homeless, do it all because you seek to glorify our heavenly Father.

If the first child is the measure of how effective parenting was and will predict the outcome of the rest of the children, then I think based on what I know to be true about you, your inner and outer beauty, your love for God and friends, what my friends share with me about you and your dedication to serving our parish community, then I feel confident that the rest of your brothers and sisters have an amazing role model in you. 🙂

Better still, I know without a doubt,

were it not for your childlike faith in God,

you have made me a much better mom.

What a difference 18 years makes!
What a difference 18 years makes!
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Advent Christmas Ink Slingers Liturgical Year Misty Uncategorized

Get Your Letter from Santa!

NorthPolesignCatholic Sistas began as a collaboration between women who had become friends through an online forum. And as the site’s northernmost member (I live just 100 miles below the Arctic Circle), I have the unique distinction of living in a small, Christmas-themed town in Alaska called…wait for it…NORTH POLE!

And when I say, “Christmas-themed,” I’m not kidding. We have streets named Santa Claus Drive and Mistletoe Lane…our parish is St. Nicholas Catholic Church…our street lights are striped and bent to look like candy canes. (Even the welding business has giant candy canes across its entrance.) Businesses sport decorated trees all year and every winter, local “ice artists” carve whimsical ice statues of Santa and other holiday figures to grace the town. We even have “The Santa Claus House,” where a 50-foot-tall Santa statue announces that Santa and his LIVE reindeer are ready to greet you all year.

And the coolest part? When your kids pop a letter into the mail to “Santa,” it usually ends up at our post office. Really. Our post office is so proud of its location that it has a big, splashy postmark announcing that the item came from NORTH POLE. 

For $10, I’ll send a personalized letter from Santa to your kids, grandchildren, or any special little ones; I’ll even write to a spouse, pastor, or friend who would get a kick out of receiving a letter from Santa. The letter will be written on Christmas-themed stationery and postmarked from North Pole. So it will be clear to the lucky receiver that it REALLY comes from St. postofficeNick! See this link for a sample letter to an individual child: Sample Letter

TO REQUEST A LETTER, VISIT THE ORDER FORM HERE. All orders must be received by 5pm on THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10 to ensure arrival well before Christmas. Have a blessed Advent and Merry Christmas!

P.S. You do not have to believe in Santa to request a letter.