Happy First Birthday, Augustine Ignatius

Today met me in an overwhelming sort of way that's hard to put into words, but I feel like any parent who has celebrated their child's first birthday would understand. My heart is so full it feels like it's overflowing with joy and gratitude and all manner of happy thoughts like "how is this life really mine?".

And together, I feel like a sort of panic or worry because he's growing so fast and I have so much to teach him and and and and and {insert all of my worry here}. There have been hints of mama guilt that tried to sneak into my heart today as I compared my days with Augustine to how things were when Lily was one, but, for better or for worse, I am about as good of a mama as to him as I was to her, though I know a little bit more. 

I didn't make her first birthday cake because I was so busy with the launch of Lily and Mama that week; I didn't make Augustine's birthday cake because I've been sick all week.

So at least they're evenly mothered, however mediocre (kind of joking). 

There have been many days in this year that I've seriously considered I might not be able to handle any more children - but then there are days when there are 5 other neighbor kids over and nothing goes too wrong and I feel like I can handle anything. 

Highs and lows, comings and goings.

He grows, she grows, we all grow. 

In the past year I've been blessed to watch Lily and Augustine grow to form the strongest bond. Stronger, perhaps, than they have with me (I wonder). And it gives me a sense of great hope for their futures. 

I used to worry about what would happen to Lily if I weren't there to care for her, and now she has her brother (and daddy, of course, and also I still hope nothing happens to me...). The transition from only child to big sister was so natural for her, though there were days of course (and still are, and more to come) when she has struggled with it. But, most days, I am in awe of their love for one another. 

I used to set my eyes at Lily's future and pray for a perfect one, free from pain or suffering.  And now I am ever-aware that those futures do not unfold on earth, but only in Heaven.

And so I pray that they will be strong, be brave, and cling to Jesus. 

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A few Sunday mornings ago, we were all in our church an hour before Mass for Alex and I to go to confession. I rummaged around in my purse for something Lily and Augustine could play with and handed them a teething rosary. Lily, hyper about spending the morning in the Church nursery, took it and ran and Augustine followed. I leaned against the wall and tried to remember the steps to making a good confession (nervous convert here). 

The next time I looked up, Augustine was holding on to the Cross while Lily, her arm through the necklace, was leading him around the church. Up the pews, down the aisle, past the stations of the cross, and back. 

My heart was so full.

"She's leading him with the rosary," I told Alex. 

Just days before, as I was driving to school to pick Lily up, I had a daydream that spoke so clearly to my heart it felt like a vision (maybe it was). I was listening to the news and feeling incredibly stressed about the upcoming election and the religious persecution around the world. In my mind, I was holding Augustine and Lily in a crowded and dark place that felt like a Subway station, overwhelmed with anxiety. And then Jesus appeared to me, full of light, and handed me a rosary -- and it was like he was telling me, without any words, to give it to my children. I did, and I was washed over with peace. 

And I knew...

These children are in the care of Jesus and His Mother Mary. 

Whatever earthly suffering they may face, I can rest my anxious heart in the fact that they are known and loved by God. He will not forget or leave them. 

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And so, sweet Augustine Ignatius, on your first birthday, I hope you know how loved you are.

You are named after two great saints and I pray you'll be inspired by their bravery, their heroic evangelization, and their great love. And know, my little love, that they are praying for you. 

You have a daddy who works tirelessly to help others, to help our family, and to lead us all to Christ. And you have a mama who isn't very good at housework or first birthdays, but who prays for you daily and will bring you to Mass and adoration no matter how much trouble you give her. You have a big sister who cares so deeply for you and will help you along the your way. 

You are so loved. Happy first birthday, buddy. 


Am I the only one crying right now?

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