I have been wanting to post about Advent and Christmas preparations, but the time has just slipped through my fingers. Speaking of time--can you believe my new baby girl turned 1??? I can't either. How could a whole year have passed?
Although I tried so hard to make this day not show up, to keep her little and let the months stretch out forever, time has a way of marching on and babies have a way of growing. Even though I didn't want to think about her birthday, I couldn't help planning her party.
Before she was born, I had picked up a child sized tea cup for Lovie Lu. It is a precious little thing of white china with pink roses and a gold rim. From that little trinket, I planned a whole party--a very first, very frilly tea party!
There were nights that I lay awake planning which tea cups would go on which table, how the tables would be arranged, which linens and laces I could use. I rifled through my draws of tableclothes and runners. Gently leafed through the linens that I had taken from my grandmother's home and the doilies my great grandmother made. I searched through my china cabinet and the cedar chest that hold my mother and grandmother's china set for my girls.
With all these little treasures, I planned a party fit for a very special princess. I didn't have much to spend in the way of money, but I made up for that with hard work and creativity--and a little crystal, too!
Lovie Lu had a tea party shower complete with china and silver, why not do the same for her birthday? In my humble opinion, it was magical, it was beautiful, it was perfect!
Except that perfection doesn't exist this side of heaven. A sweet little baby all wrapped in hope and heavenly scents is about as close as we come, but even there, perfection aludes us.
In my desire to have the perfect party, I could not wait to share the beauty of the day. I longed to pour over the photos as my little girl poured over her cards, examining each one and squealing with delight. I dreamt of my magazine worthy prints, my fabulous post, my awe inspiring Facebook share.
I could see in my mind how all would look. How everyone would ooh and aah over my special celebration. My baby girl is priceless, her party and photos would show the world just that!
I lost the forest for the trees!
More Than That and So Much More
Just as each of my children are more than a number, more than just moments or victories or social media likes--the true celebration of my daughter's birth was more than a collection of photos to rival the pages of Martha Stewart's magazine.
The celebration was a treasury of memories. An opportunity to thank God for all we had been blessed to have, all those prayers and wishes come true...all those moments that linger in my heart!
You see...those perfect pictures, the ones I saw in my mind as drool worthy...that was all pride! And God made sure I didn't get puffed up!
Every photo came blurry. Vignettes that I worked hard to create were missed by my resident, family photographer. I felt such disappointment...such melancoly.
I gave up on the custom outfit. I gave up on the perfect cake and the Pinterest decorations. We used e-vites instead of engraved invitations. There were so many little touches and treats that I sacrificed for the good of the family, for our meager budget's sake---now even the photos were offered up!
Sharing the Good News, Not the Perfect
How could I share these? How could I scrapbook them and have my grandchildren enjoy this little fruit of my labor from long ago? Why could something just not be perfect after so much planning?
Because, my child, this world is broken!
Only I AM perfect, only with Me are things whole!
You see I was chasing an allusion! I wanted the support of man to cover the multitude of sins that are my life. Facebook likes and blog shares don't equal perfection. This blog is not about making people think I am better--or at least that was never it's intent--it is my little apostolate to spread His good news, not mine!
The photos weren't out of focus--I was!
JOY, JOY, JOY....and St Philip Neri
When I became pregnant with Lovie Lu, I had a strong pull to St Philip Neri. In prayer, his name was laid on my heart several times. Little coincidences--or God-incences--put his story before me, when I had never even thought of this good saint before.
I began to believe that we must be having a boy who was meant to be named Philip....but baby was a girl! I dug into St Philip's story, wondering why he was the one God kept pointing out to me. You know what one of St Philip Neri's patronages is? JOY! Yes, joy!
Those of you who know me in real life, know how joy filled Lovie Lu is. She is the most lighted filled child I have ever known. Everywhere we go, people comment on how happy she is, how her smiles lights up the room. Everyone she meets is touched by her love.
These photos would never capture who she really is or the wonder of her year with us. They could never really show how her face beamed and lip quivered when everyone sang to her. How she was overcome with emotion at seeing all her loved ones gathered just for her. A photograph would never tell the story of how she took each card and "read" it, sliding her finger under the words, pointing out each design and print or how she hugged those cards to her heart and smiled at each family member who had given it to her. That, my dear readers, is pure joy!
And She Pondered All These in Her Heart
I don't have the words for how amazing of an experience this little party was, and it isn't because of anything that I could have captured in a perfect photoshoot. My Lovie Lu has lived up to her nickname, and patron, she was love and joy!
The heirloom china, the perfectly pink tablecloth, the miniature cakes and artfully set tables...those were nice, but it would have been just a grim gathering had it not been for the gift of my sweet child.
I don't know what God has planned for her, but I believe it is something great! In my heart there are memories that will warm me all my days...no matter how imperfect the party and pictures were.
We aren't called to be perfect, we are called to love. That I learned from a little child...the Christ child, Our Savior whose birthday is just days away, who came not into a picture perfect palace but a humble, lowly stable. That Christ child is my LORD and I will never be able to thank Him enough for that precious gift, but it took another child, my precious girl, to remind me just what life and Christmas are all about!
Thanks for stopping by!