Monday, December 31, 2012

Morton Family Prayer - 2008

Dear Lord,

We welcome two more babies to this ever-growing family this year… It’s a fact said in equal parts pure joy and disbelief. And it is the fact that bonds each of us equally, for if we aren’t parents ourselves, we are all children. All children tied by blood, marriage or friendship to this wonderfully crazy, tragic, mostly magic, beautiful life.

We have babies of all ages here tonight, some just a few weeks old, some toddlers, some adolescents, a few teenagers, a few almost-adults, and some all the way up into their late 60’s. We have babies bigger than their mommas and many who are closing in fast. Our babies make us laugh until we cry, and cry because they cry. Like a ship in a bottle, the baby is buried deep within each of us, some barely discernable except for the reminders of our parents or tattered black and white photographs.

When we look back on those photographs, or even better, the ones we’ve taken as snapshots in our mind, they are battered, spotted & well-used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages of that mental photo album, memories will rise like dust.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. Every part of raising children is humbling. Believe me, mistakes have been made. If you believe what we read today, my cousins and I were raised in asbestos-laden and lead-paint houses & seatbeltless cars. Yet here we are. I’m sure have all been enshrined in the 'Remember-When-Mom-Or-Dad-Did-This' Hall of Fame. I’ll be proud to have my statue standing right next to my parents.

The times we arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The time I came home from my first fight at school, my mom said wait until your dad comes home and his only response was, “Did you win?”

But the biggest mistake we make is the one that most of us make while doing “the day to day.” We do not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone. Moments with my parents, my siblings, my cousins, many moments captured only in photographs. Moments like this summer sitting with my sisters and their families together in a campsite in Yosemite around a fire. I hope I can forever remember what we ate, what we talked about, how the kids sounded, how they laughed, how they ran out into the lake to retrieve their caught fish, how they looked when they slept that night, and how disheveled they looked when they woke up. I hope not to be in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I treasure doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

I wish for more moments like this one right here.

We’re all children with expectations. Some like my new little Heather, have very big shoes to fill. I pray that she’ll hold life half as precious as her namesake did. My cousin Heather had a million life moments, ones that were etched onto each of us here. And I hope that the expectations that my little Heather lives a life as full are not mine, but simply her own. And I pray that it’s one that is memorable. For her. For all of us.


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