I come from a large Irish Catholic family. Today, that means we will all gather for the baptism of the newest member of the family, Eamonn William, born on Easter Sunday morning. Mom, all us kids, their spouses, 11 grands and one great grand and of course, Aunt Pat will gather after mass at the Holy Hospital. Father Gregory Burke will perform the sacrament and we will most certainly eat too much of mom’s and Kristal’s cooking, raise a few toasts and tell a couple stories. (Okay, many stories ~ and some may actually be true.) There will be laughter, tears and a smattering of Tutty brand humor.A few short years ago, this would have been a problem for me. I was impatient and annoyed by almost everything family. I adopted the phrase ‘Forced Family Fun’ to describe my supposed misery. (Insert knowing nods and sounds of agreement here.) Family occurred as an obligation and something that took me away from my ‘real’ life. My experience of family has been reframed ~ by the deaths of my Gram and my Dad, intervening illness and disease of me and of others, and forgiveness. A lifelong learning experience, I am learning to forgive and I am willing to forgive unconditionally. Forgiveness, first of myself and then for others, has left me in a place of Compassion, Peace and Grace. Family today is a blessing that I am honored and moved to have in my life. After all, I come from a large Irish family. We managed to grow up in a home with 10 people and one bathroom. And I love each of them ~ unconditionally. Thank Heaven that now ~ I am excited for the day! Dia duit go léir. Lig dúinn ceiliúradh a. (God bless you all. Let’s celebrate!)

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