I think of Frank Capra's classic movie It's A Wonderful Life a lot this time of year. It's the perfect Christmas movie. Here is a man who is loved by his family and friends, and yet that love is not enough. He wants more! He wants the recognition and adventure of a lifetime. He's caught up in worldly things. Then he decides he wants to throw all that he has away including the most precious gift of all -- his life.
God sends him an angel named Clarence to show him how life would be if he had never been born. Have you ever wondered how life would look like if you were never born? It's interesting how each life is connected to the next one. As the angel Clarence says in the movie, each life touches so many. We are all connected.
On Christmas we celebrated the birth of the most precious little baby who was born to save mankind. On December 27 my husband and I celebrate the birth of a very special little boy, our son Joseph Fulton Constantine. He turns three and is our saving grace.
When my mom was in her mid-twenties she was fighting for her life. She had cancer and her doctors told her her chances were only 50/50. She needed a blood transfusion but because she had a rare blood type, it was challenging to find someone with the same blood type. By the grace of God, her brother-in-law -- my late uncle -- was the blood donor who helped save my mom's life. My brother and I lovingly remember him as being always so generous and kindhearted. We can never forget him.
Throughout my life my mom has safeguarded me from harm and danger. When I was a child she saved me so many times as I was accident prone. During my young adult life she was concerned for my eternal salvation always asking me if I was going to Mass on Sundays. Even though I went left when she told me to go right, I found my way back. I'm most certain it's because of my mom's constant prayers and rosaries that set me straight.
This past summer I struggled horribly with debilitating fatigue and heavily relied on my husband, mom, dad, and even my little boy for help. My parents stayed with us for a few weeks at a time to help me. In late August my parents had to return home but they felt bad because my condition still had not improved. My mom offered to take care of Constantine for two weeks at their home.
It was a very long two weeks. I missed my boy every single day but I knew that I needed rest and time to recover. It ended up being the best decision for everyone involved. As I spent the days slowly getting better, my son enjoyed running around having Grandma and Papa chase him all over the house.
He especially enjoyed teasing my mom whenever he needed his diaper changed. There was a moment when, in the excitement of the moment, he kicked his Grandma's abdomen quite hard -- hard enough so that she still hurt much later, and even had some bleeding. This was a warning sign that forced my mom to go to her doctor soon after that. After consulting a number of specialists, my mom underwent exploratory surgery. The diagnosis was cancer. As is so often the case, timing was everything; the doctors told her that it was a blessing that Constantine kicked her when he did.
So my uncle saved my mom's life. My mom saved mine. And Constantine saved his Grandma's life, in a manner of speaking. You see, anyone can save a life, even a two year old. Every life is so precious in the eyes of God. It's important to remember to thank God for ours and for every soul that has positively affected us. I thank God every day for our little boy who is our saving grace and constant reminder of God's greatness and mystery.
Happy birthday to our beautiful baby boy! God love you! With love, Mama and Daddy.