Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Our Birthday Boy Today

Dominic Alan was born on September 28th, 1993, our fifth son in a row.  His was such a loooong, difficult labor (not typical for me)  that we were especially glad to welcome him into the world.  He was a soft, pudgy little guy (8lbs, 5oz or so), with brilliant blue eyes, fine blonde hair and the fattest, cutest little marshmallow feet you ever saw.  He was a beautiful little boy.  He looked like a doll.  In fact, by the time he was two years old he looked almost exactly like this doll:

And he had the most adorable Mickey Mouse smile.

But, he was a handful.  Stubborn, willful, and woefully full of energy, our little Dominic never slept in past 7 a.m. and never took a nap if he could help it.  In desperate need of a break from the little sweetie, we'd put him in his crib every day with high hopes of a respite -- and every day he'd amaze us with his creative use of energy. He could make mischief anywhere; being trapped in a crib never stopped him. Pulling the sheets off the crib and throwing the toys out was amateur hour for this kid.  He wasn't quite six months old when he figured out he could spend his quiet time peeling the wallpaper off the wall.  So, of course we moved his crib away from the wall.  But then he'd stand in his crib and rock it, walking it across the bedroom floor -- back to the wall where he could continue with his peeling project. When he figured how to climb out, it was almost a relief to just give up on the nap idea altogether. 

And then he turned two -- a poster child for "Terrible Twos" if there ever was one.  Life frustrated this child with three big brothers who just wanted to be in control of somethingAnything.   He wanted to make his own rules and control his own destiny -- which was a  practical impossibility considering how far down in the pecking order he was.  But he tried anyway.  The little guy just about drove us over the edge -- and it seemed we drove him nuts, too.  Good thing God has the wisdom to make our little ones so durned cute, because Dominic was one of those children we might have thrown out with the bathwater...  And he might have been glad to be thrown out. God bless his little boy heart.
But then, after a few relatively calm years of sticks and stones and puppy dog bones, (ominous music here) there came the teen years....  We've observed with our children that the manner and temperament of a two-year-old usually predict what he or she will be like as a teenager.  Our mild two-year-olds have been mild-mannered teens.  But, oh my goodness, those less-than-mild children...  That unbridled, not-yet-improved character with all its fire and passion very often reemerges when the teen hormones show up, it seems.  And so it was with Dominic.  Oh my word, he was a challenge! 

But, God is good -- and no doubt He knew, even when we may have doubted it at times, that this highly intelligent, high energy, hard-headed young man could be tamed.  And so he was.  By the grace of God, we found ourselves in a parish here on the Western Slope exactly when Dominic most needed the influence of two very special Religious who were here at the time: the pastor of our church, Fr. Anaya and the principal of our school, his teacher, Sr. Mary Agnes (now Reverend Mother).  The two of them, challenged Dominic to be his best in a way that I never could -- and Dominic rose to the challenge.  Under Father's strict tutelage, he became a crack altar server; and with Sister's patience and encouragement he rose to the top of his class.  The authority of the Church made a huge impression on this boy and he thrived on the competition of the classroom situation.  He was a different person at home, too -- calm, self assured, and always positive.  It seemed he'd finally found and come to terms with his place in the pecking order.  
 And he told me one day where this place was.

After a particularly trying time learning the finer points of serving at the altar, I asked him why he kept at it -- and he said, "Because on the altar is where I can be closest to God."
And I guess that's where he wants to be always.
How could a mother improve on that goal?

We love our "Brother Brother" so very much.  

And I'm very humbled and happy to have borne him into the world to give him back to his Heavenly Mother and Father.  

Happy, Happy Birthday, Brother Pius Maria!

To celebrate the day, here are a few more pictures I hadn't printed yet from his initiation into the Novitiate:

White, in liturgical use, symbolizes purity, and is used in the Masses of Our Lady and Our Lord (except of the Passion), and the angels, among others.  It's the color of the hooded tunic and long scapular that he was presented as a Novice.

Our old friend, Br. Anthony ties the girdle during the ceremony.  The white girdle -- a rope sash -- symbolizes chastity.  The hood of this habit, like the Benedictines', began as a practical means for keeping warm in winter and shading the sun in summer.  It's also handy for preventing distraction when raised to shield peripheral vision.  It's never worn on the head during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
After the ceremony, awesome Fr. Gregory gave Br. Pius some practical tips on the best way to attach the rosary that he wears to use and honor Our Blessed Mother, most especially because his is a Marian Seminary.

And last but not least.  This picture. Because I love it.
See that smile?  His Momma misses it.


auntie said...

Happy birthday to Dominic and happy day of giving birth to his mother. God surely has blessed you all.

Therese said...

Happy birthday Dominic. Lisa, you gave birth to him just one month before I had our second son, Sam

Bia said...

i have tears plopping into my cappuccino ... just beautiful.

although ... the correlation between the terrible two's and the the teen years has me now worried:)