I promise, if you read this whole post, you will find out the names of our little Pumpkin!
While the Celebration of Easter morning was a family-filled, beautiful day, there was some sadness in the air. My mother had called to inform Foster and I that my priest of 15 years, the man who inspired me to remain Catholic, the man who showed that the young adults and teens were the future of the church, and the man that married Foster and I had passed early on Easter morning.
Was it a surprise? Not really. A little over a year ago, on April 20th 2010, we called Father Thomas to see if he would be able to come and baptize our sweet little angel, "I am sorry, Erin. I am in the hospital with bronchitis, and possible pneumonia," unfortunately, it was not the SAME hospital I was in, and although he offered to bust out of the hospital and come and see us, I told him to take it easy and get better. That was a little over a year before his passing. In the last year, he has endured heart surgeries, rehab, life support, and eventually went up to heaven to be with our Lord.
I know that there has been a lot of bad publicity in the press over the years about the Catholic priests, so I want to share a few funny, inspiring stories about this particular priest.
He was known for getting the children involved in the parish. He started a youth group at my old church, and I was blessed to be one of the first members. He took us high-ropes climbing, shopping at City Center, tours of the chapels and cathedrals, and many dinners with bible study at the church. The longer he stayed in the parish, his youth group grew, and the trips got bigger and bigger. My sister was able to be a part of the epitome of his time with the young adults. He took them to Italy, Germany and Amsterdam. As the group was getting off the plane, it was early on a Sunday morning, and my sister asked, "Father, since it is Sunday, are we going to go to church?"
He responded, "Heck No! I am on vacation!"
He was know for his sense of humor! He was known for being a little unorthodox, but kept everyone interested in Christ and the church.
He loved to invite people over for food, and always offered drinks to go along. When Foster and I had to get married fast (from NOT being a good Catholic girl) we came into a little issue. In the Catholic church, you are required to fulfill "Pre-Cana", or the pre-marriage classes. Unfortunately, none were offered in the time frame that we needed them in, so Fr. Thomas said we could make arrangements with him. We met him at the rectory one night and sat at the kitchen table. He offered us food and drinks, and preceded to talk to us about our relationship. The fact that he knew me so well, and I NEVER hold anything back, he knew most of our story, but we rehashed it for him. After 2 hours of chatting and hanging out, I finally asked, "So Father, how are we going to work this out? When and what do you want us to do?"
He looked at his watch, looked up at me, and replied, "Eh, I think that just about covers it."
That's right, a class that would usually consist of MANY meetings, and a weekend retreat was shrunk down to 2 hours of chit-chat for Foster and I.
I think the funniest story of all, was when I was studying in college. I had a counseling psych class that was talking about confidentiality. I was curious to see HOW bound by secrecy a priest was compared to doctors and psychologists. In the event a person is going to or admits to hurting themselves or someone else, the practitioner is no longer bound to the patient/doctor confidentiality. They are required to contact the authorities. So I called Father to see if the same thing applied to Catholic priests.
"Let me put it to you this way, Erin. If a man confesses right before mass that he has placed a bomb underneath the first pew, and it would go off half-way through the mass, I couldn't say ANYTHING. I would conveniently excuse myself to get a 'drink of water' and HIGHLY suggest to the rest of the congregation to do the same."
He had a soft spoken way about him, but could make anyone bust out laughing! Now, I don't want you to think any less of him, in fact, I though he was a GENIUS after this event.
Foster and I decided to take him out to dinner shortly after our wedding to thank him for everything he did for us. We took him to this AMAZING German restaurant. Foster ordered a beer, and Father Thomas ordered a vodka on the rocks (leave the man alone, he has to have SOME vice:-). As we ate and talked, I noticed that it never seemed like his vodka glass ever emptied, regardless of how many sips he had taken. I thought for a moment that maybe it was some miracle. That God had given him a never-ending vodka glass. I figured he had earned some MAJOR points with the Big Guy upstairs. Well, I soon caught how this miracle was happening. Every once in a while he would sneak a white Styrofoam cup from under the table and pour the clear contents into his glass on the table. Yep! He brought his own supply to dinner and ordered one as not to look suspicious and then continued filling his glass! I could have died laughing!! He was a genius!! I wish I would have thought of that trick YEARS ago. Can you imagine the money I would have saved on alcohol at dinner?
Anyway, as you can see, Father Theodore(Ted) Thomas was and amazing man. He did so much in the community, and loved all he came in contact with. His funeral was a testimony to this! The HUGE church Foster and I got married in was filled (standing room only 10 mins prior to the service) with people who loved him in return. Every priest in the diocese was present and a part of the service, and the bishop said mass. I have never seen anything like it! If you EVER get the chance, regardless if you are Catholic or not, go to a priest's funeral mass. You will be changed! I cried through most of the service, and felt the presence of the Holy Spirit amongst every participant.
On the was to the burial, Foster and I started talking. We had the first name of our child picked out if he/she is a boy, but were still up in the air about the middle name. Well, we found out on Thursday that "Theodore" means "Gift of God". I knew right away that was it! That would be the middle name. Sure enough, Foster was thinking the same thing! Not only did it have a meaning we could relate to, but it is for a man that we both admired.
We were going to keep the names a secret for the exact reason I experienced when I told my mom the boy's name. She doesn't like it. She is already trying to come up with nicknames. BUT my sister and best friend love it, so that makes me feel better. Honestly, Foster and I don't care. This is our child, and we love the names. So let me know your opinion if you like, but know that if you don't agree, that is fine but I don't care:-)
So, if we have a boy, the name will be Declan Theodore David Foster (I know, two middle names, but there is reason) Declan- Foster LOVES this name. It is the name of a rugby player in Ireland (David plays and refs rugby) but when I looked up the meaning, it means "full of goodness" and "man of prayer". Theodore- I already explained this, David- Foster's name:-) His family has a tradition that the son takes the first name of the father as their middle name. BUT Declan David did not have a great ring to it as Declan Theodore:-)
IF we are blessed with another little girl, her name will be Avaleen Rose Foster. We would call her Ava for short. Avaleen means "wished for or longed for child" in Gaelic. Now, if you look it up by that spelling, you would never find it. The ACTUAL spelling of the name in Gaelic is Aibhlinn. A COMMON English translation is Evelynn, but the actual pronunciation of the name in Gaelic is Ava-leen, so I figured we would keep it as close to the original as possible, and for the sake of the poor kid and future teachers being able to pronounce and spell it, we are spelling it phonetically. And of course Rose is from her big sister, and auntie Bug. I think it is a beautiful, unique name!
About two years ago I started writing a book, which from time to time I will probably post chapters from. I thought the most interesting part of my life had past. BOY WAS I WRONG! The story of how my husband and I met was an amazing, romantic, and almost too good to be true story, but as we two-step through life, we have endured more than one couple should ever have to in our first 3 years together. Each obstacle that we face, the closer we become to each other and to God. So if you want to join us and follow this conga line, I promise, you will not be disappointed. You may laugh, cry, but I promise you will at least be entertained.
I am a wife to the most handsome Army man around and a mother to the most beautiful angel baby Rosie who grew wings on April 20th 2010 and the most beautiful angel here on earth that I am blessed w/ Raising, Avaleen Rose. I am a Stay at home mom and a photographer after years of working in the Emergency Room and serving as a medic in the Army. To say my life is interesting is an understatement at times. I never do anything the "normal way".It is either all or nothing in my world. Please follow me as I take you through the life that has now become mine after the earth shattering day of April 20th. This blog will be funny at times,sad, but ALWAYS honest