Just What I’ve Settled for… AND MORE!!!
(this is from my Summer 2008 Newsletter)
If it seems like every time I put out a newsletter I have a new child and I am recording another album. Well, I guess that’s because it’s true!
EOIN TIMOTHY CLIVE
If you haven’t heard already Eoin (pronounced Owen) Timothy burst onto the scene to join our crazy family on May 28, 2008. Of course, he “joined” us 40 weeks before and was “named” a couple months before the big day. You see, we pick names that are not very common. But I think they are really cool and so will the kids when they turn 25 :-). In fact, I tell people that when the “Clive Five” hits it big, people will remember the names of those cute boys Seamus and his little brother Eoin. Seriously, they will be cool! Oh yes, they will be cool… (at least in their dad’s eyes).
So, for now, we have to deal with “E-I-E-I-Eoin” and “what?” and “how do you say that?” and “why didn’t you just name him Owen?” and “how about the name… [fill in any random name — even though he’s already named]?”. Of course we had to name him long before his birthday since he was really alive and deserved to be called more than “baby”. He was known in the womb by God, so we figured he could at least be named by us. So, Eoin was named. And this was the process: “How about Sean, Jr.?” “No way—there’s already one too many Sean Clive’s in the world!” (This, from my loving, adoring wife). Well, Sean is the Irish form of John. But it isn’t the only Irish form of John. The other form is Eoin. And, no offense to any John’s reading this, but John is too Anglican for me. So, the Green wins out again. So, now we have the Clive “sons of thunder”, James and John (and one bolt of lightning named Brigid).
Can you guess what question is the most common question we are now asked? I wish I could have a dollar for every time we are asked “are you done yet?” We could pay for either a year’s supply of diapers or maybe a couple gallons of gasoline. Seriously, it is strange that people are so preoccupied and interested (?) with how in love my Jenny and I must be and what it is that we do when American Idol is not on TV… (And people think Catholics don’t like to have fun :-) In all honesty and all joking aside, God has been amazingly generous with us and has blessed us in so many ways.
The gift of children is very real. People often ask us how we can handle it all my first answer is, we don’t. Which is true. The real answer is that we can only handle it with God’s help, strength, courage, wisdom, grace, peace, and joy. Oh what joy! I have often said that smelling a baby’s breath is SO amazing (especially a newborn’s). But imagine when you’ve had a tough day and it seems that everything has gone wrong (the car repair cost $250, two kids are sick, the mean guy I have to deal with at work every six months called today, etc….), and little Maggie with her finger in her mouth and lock of hair across her nose walks over to you, sits on your lap and snuggles her soft cheek up to yours and whispers, “I love you, daddy.” The world just melts away. Or imagine as you are reading “The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe,” and Emma experiences a tremendous epiphany as Aslan, the innocent, spills his blood for the sin of another and dies a horrible death, only to come back to life. “It’s like Jesus, daddy!” Yes, it is, baby. Yes it is.
I have a VERY important job right now, and the responsibility keeps getting heavier with each child. But when I am finally asked if I did my best to pass on the faith to my children so that they could someday proclaim it as their own, I will hopefully be able to say, I did. I did my very best. I may not have been able to send them all to college. We may not have had the best furniture. Our exciting vacations may have only been hiking at Colgate to pick berries, play tree tag and get pizza at Ye Olde Pizza Pub. But the most important “facts” or more important “truths” of LIFE will be in the heads and hearts and mouths and hands of my babies. He will be real to them. He will be present to them in every breathtaking moment and every ordinary, boring moment. It is a responsibility that my Jenny and I carry with the help of a man who bore something of greater weight than I could ever imagine. And I am so thankful for the challenge and the opportunity.
When we were in college, I had briefly considered the priesthood and my Jenny was asked if she ever thought about becoming a minister. Well, every day offers another opportunity to share that Love that we know. We have our own “little church” at which we gladly offer ourselves in His service for as long as we have here on this beautiful planet. I can’t wait to share snow algae with my babies. I can’t wait to share fossils and mountains and tomatoes and baby spiders and books and poems and songs and concerts and First Communion and second Communion and third … I can’t wait for the realization that all of this is theirs and there is SO MUCH MORE “further up and further in…” as my friend Aslan would say.
So, are we “done” having kids? My answers is—having babies is just the beginning of this amazing adventure we call life.