I am sitting at home, in my lovely beach city, watching the last of the snow melt away. There is something about the combination of snow and being at home that makes me want to act like an 8 year old again. How wonderful it was to be 8! I distinctly remember blowing out the candles on my 9th birthday cake, with a thoughtful and almost sad expression on my face, and saying out loud to everyone, "Being 8 was the greatest year of my life". Melodramatic? Perhaps. Honest? Absolutely.
Since then, every year has brought wonderful things, making it hard to believe that life could get any sweeter. Having recently turned 22, I am feeling the twinge of nostalgia and have therefore been reflecting on my life thus far. This year for Christmas I received a complete set of the Liturgy of the Hours. It was my most expensive, and heaviest present. For my birthday only a few weeks ago I was given the loveliest rosary I have ever owned.
I love seeing converts to the Church, and I truly admire them, so please don't get me wrong as I talk about how wonderful it is to be a cradle Catholic. I speak about being Catholic as someone that has been raised in the faith, and can only look and wonder admiringly at those whose path in life is so perfectly different from mine.
With this twinge of nostalgia, and the joy I have gotten from my fun and Catholic presents this Christmas, I began a conversation with a dear friend and fellow cradle Catholic about all the fun and silly things we did as children, that only little Papists would do. I thought I would share a few here.
I remember, at lunch time in the cafeteria, sitting in my cute but slightly awful plaid jumper and knee high socks. If someone had potato chips, and they happened to find one chip that was perfectly round, it was a grand opportunity to "play Mass". Maybe that could sound blasphemous to someone, but I can't help but love how our Mass celebrations were such an integrated part of our childhood lives that it permeated even into our play time.
I remember looking through the Ignatius Press magazine/catalog to read the book summaries in the preteen section. I remember needing to drink copious amounts of water after being the stamp-licker on the assembly line of my father's pro-life literature mass mailing (later, my older brother wised up and got a sponge for us). I remember my first confession. I think it consisted of me being sorry for not doing my chores and hitting my older brother when I didn't get my way. I remember thinking how I was so lucky because I got to receive my First Holy Communion of Saturday, so I could go to Sunday Mass the next day and receive Jesus twice in one weekend.
Still today, we have an angel on top of our tree instead of a star. We still say blessing before meals and rosaries every car trip.
Oh what a life. And I am only 22. God has been so sweet to me over the years, and I can't wait to be wowed in the years to come. I can't wait for every birthday, because I know every set of candles I blow out, I will be thinking the same thing I said when I turned 9, this was the greatest year of my life.