Today is Nicholas's feast day. Our little soon-to-be five year old would probably love this day almost as much as his own birthday, I think. His name fit him so well. Nicholas...Defender of Men. Defender of his twin sister, no doubt. Watcher over all his siblings and his parents. And, like his patron saint, a giver of the most sacred of sorts.
St. Nicholas was known for his giving to others, whether it was leaving something handcarved outside a door or dropping a coin or treat in a child's shoe. The patron saint of children (among other things), he was orphaned as a child and raised by his uncle. He followed in his uncle's footsteps and became a priest and, later, a bishop. There are countless stories of his goodness, from helping a widower with a dowry for his three daughters to resurrecting murdered children, but regardless of the tales surrounding him, he's known and loved all over the world for watching over the youngest of ours and surprising them with treats on his feast day.
When I think about our Nicholas, the one thing that never fails to come to my mind is what he gave: to us, to his sister, to the paramedics who tried so hard to give him just one more breath. To never have held him or to have him hold my finger... My life would be incomplete. While every moment of his existence outside the womb was a struggle, he fought nonetheless and gave us what should have been impossible. He gave hope to the emergency personal, hope that they, in future situations, would be able to respond and help other parents have memories like ours, on a day that no parent should ever have to face. And his twin sister... He gave Sophia two more weeks to live and grow. Somehow, I think we do have a voice in the role we play, be it while we are still in a soul state before conception or be it just something subconscious. I believe he knew his time would be short, but that he would have a choice. And that he chose us... And he chose that birth to give her a bit more time. To give us that time with her, and with each of them alone. To let us know that we would someone survive the agony and the pain.
We were so busy getting off to school that the kids didnt get their candy and cash stuffed shoes (I used their more dressy shoes for the day), so we'll do it after Peter gets home. And for dinner? Nicholas's meal of course! Pork chops, rice, and beans... What else!
And so, today, we celebrate. Not just for all the things we wish he would have done had he stayed with us, but for all that he did do. For all that he was- and is. Happy St. Nicholas's Day! St. Nicholas- especially our sweet little Saint Nicholas- pray for us. Pray for the world.