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Love and Joy Matter

I made these for my daughters to give my grandkids for the Feast if St. Nicholas (St. Nicholas Day). My husband and I drove them over the night before and brought some extra chocolate coins just in case the week had gotten away from our own kids, now the busy moms and dads. Our youngest gets married Saturday so it’s been crazy!

We have so many traditions we enjoy with our kids and now grandkids.

I know it’s work, I’ve done it for 33 years. But I have to tell you the biggest kid of all is my sweet husband.

Driving these over he was so excited. He loves Christmas so much.

With the wedding I contemplated scaling down the decor this year but I couldn’t disappoint him.

So there are 6 trees, arches, porch decorations and what I call Camp Christmas for the kids in their rooms and playroom downstairs.

I feel myself slowing down though. I was a dynamo once upon a time.

This year it took a full week (first week in November) to set up.

Many times over the years I would read blogs and blogs about how none of it is necessary or that it really doesn’t matter to the kids.

And I agree - allll of this isn’t necessary. Not at all. It’s ebbed and flowed throughout the years in scale depending on many factors like babies, finances, deployments, health.

But even when it is smaller the kids know, the grown ones and now the little ones that this is done in great love, and every effort, every treat, every light matters to them. Particularly in the cumulative effect of building a life with abiding love and joy.

Not for Instagram. It didn’t even exist 😂 that’s how old I am! It’s done in great love for Christ and for this family that I never imagined I would have.

My husband and I like Christmas and Easter to create powerful memories and connections. To root them in our faith, and our Catholic Church specifically.

Our kids all chose spouses who either were Catholic or converted and fully embraced the faith. They were married in our faith. Our grandkids are being raised faithfully in truth at home, homeschool (we homeschooled 30 years) and in Catholic school. Passing on what has sustained us, what we believe, in a positive way was my constant prayer.

This weekend the youngest is marrying a beautiful, homeschooled Catholic girl in our home parish and with that in some ways one part of my work feels complete. My children are raised and launched. Successful, productive, decent humans, hardworking, loving, kind.

These cookies reminded me this week that my role, my work continues. It's different but it continues.

Now my role is to support my family, help the mothers, my daughters, love the babies, love their husbands, love God, love themselves, to offer good counsel when asked, and to model joy and perseverance in faith.

Forgive this rambling, my heart is so full this week, I feel so humbled, so grateful and joy keeps leaking out from under my eyelids.

I worked so hard, for so long for this family. Through anxiety, depression, scarcity, military life, a natural disaster and serious health issues.

It feels like I’m sitting on the other side of the finish line, at least finished with one leg of this IronMotherhood race. I just want to tell you it was worth it.

All the tears, doubts, exhaustion, worry and so much time praying and sacrificing was worth it.

I have a close beautiful family knitted together with love and I wait in joyful hope that we will one day be joined with our 6 children in heaven. The McCarty’s will most certainly bring the party. It’s what we do!

I said all that to say, it matters. Not the shortcomings, pfft! The efforts. The efforts matter, big or small, everything done in love and joy matters.

I cannot fathom a life without joy.

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