Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Special Birthday Bond + Giveaway

Today's Momfessionals' Show and Tell Tuesday prompt is "your high school self", but I thought I'd share with you more than just my high school years.  I'd like to tell you about something very special about all of my life growing up instead:

Grandpa's 55th and my 1st Birthday, 1984

Thirty two years ago (yesterday), I was born on a very special day:  my grandpa's birthday.

Grandpa was so big on birthdays!  He was one to celebrate the whole month of August.  And he would keep reminding you that it was coming up - just to be triple or quadruple sure that you wouldn't forget.  He'd even tell me not to forget when he knew we shared the same birthday!  (He was also big on kidding ;)

Over the years, we spent so many birthdays together.  When I was growing up, we'd often have a picnic in the park together.  And in my adult years, we'd call each other on the phone and sing to each other.  And, of course, "pot and pan" each other too!  (It was his favorite birthday tradition from his childhood - banging on a pot over and over again after singing the Birthday Song.  This is now a family tradition for all of us!)

Grandpa's 62nd and my 8th Birthday, 1991

He was always giddy about his birthday and always wanted everyone to make a big deal out of it.  Last year, he planned his own surprise birthday party.  Yeah, you read that right.  He planned his own surprise party!  That was just the kind of character he was!

He always wanted all of the family together for his birthday (he had 8 kids, 20+ grandkids, and 10+ great-grandkids).  Most of the family was there, and it was such a special day for him...and for all of us.  It was his perfect birthday!

Grandpa passed away last December, so when I think about last year, it makes me really happy to know his last birthday on earth was just what he wanted. 

Grandpa's 85th and my 31st Birthday, 2014

It may sound silly but I always felt we had a special bond because we shared a birthday.  Since he was so big on his special day, I always felt like he thought of me as his personal birthday gift.  It seems like something so superficial to bond two people together, but it really did for us.

But that was only just a small part of it.  He was such a big influence on my life in so many ways:

He still took us to the park...even when we were "grown up"!

He used to take me and my siblings to the park all the time when we were little.  He'd play with us, bring bread for us to feed the geese, and tease us about a troll under the bridge or that the apple trees were going to get us like the trees in the Wizard of Oz!  (He still did this when we were "big kids" too!)  And he loved Notre Dame.  They were his team.  (I noticed that he's even wearing an ND shirt in most of the pics in this post!)  There are many reasons why I love Notre Dame, and Grandpa is one of them!

Leading the Rosary for Jim and me on our wedding day

But most importantly, he was a great model of the Faith.  He used to take Katie and me to Eucharistic Adoration every week.  He prayed the Rosary everyday.  He loved Jesus, Mary, and all the saints.  (He high-fived the statue of Mary at church every time he passed her!)  He loved Grandma with everything in him.  He taught me so much about the Faith - through his words and actions.  I know my formation as a Catholic in my early childhood is what helped me get through some difficult times in my spiritual life in my early 20s.  He was a big factor in shaping who I am as a woman and as a Catholic today.

Our Wedding Day, 2007

I'm not big on celebrating my own birthday, but I always loved watching him in his element on our day.  So this year was very hard for me.  To not get that call.  To not be together.  To not see his smile.  Or just hear his voice.  I won't lie - I cried.  Even writing this right now, I can't stop crying.  I miss him so much.

But in all reality, I'm very happy too.  I know he is so happy and at peace now.  And grandma passed away just a little over a month ago, so I know that he and his bride are together again.  He is without a doubt having the best birthday (month!) ever this year.  I'm sure he even got Jesus Himself to pot and pan him!

So Happy Birthday, Grandpa!  I - all of us! - love and miss you so much!  Thank you for helping my parents raise me in the Faith, for being such a fun and funny grandpa, for taking care of us and loving us so much, and for being a friend.  I miss you, especially on our birthday, but I hope one day we will be reunited and can celebrate together again!  I love you, Jessie xoxo

P.S.  The kids went to town on the pots and pans to make sure you could hear it!

In honor of my grandpa's and my birthday, I want to share the love with you.  That is something he would have totally wanted to do and would've loved.

He loved the saints, especially St. Thérèse of Lisieux.  And he also loved Notre Dame with all his heart.  Katrina's beautiful shop Hatch Prints is filled with gorgeous prints of quotes from saints and holy people.  Did I mention she lives right by Notre Dame and is a fan too?  (And she just had a beautiful baby girl last week!)  I bought a print of a St. Thérèse quote from her, and I absolutely love it.  It's such a beautiful message and a beautiful reminder of my grandpa.  So Katrina and I want to give you a chance to win an 8x10 print of your choice.

Grandpa also played a big part into forming me into the Catholic I am today.  That's why I love Blessed Is She.  (In case I haven't told you that often enough!)  They have the same goal - helping form, strengthen, and encourage women in the Faith.  So Jenna from BIS and I would love to give one of you a $30 gift card to the Blessed Is She shop, so you can pick out some lovely things to help you grow in your spiritual life.

My beautiful print from Hatch Prints and my spiritual journal from Blessed Is She

So please enter below to win 

Happy Birthday to us...from us! :)

Birthday Giveaway of 8x10 Print from Hatch Prints Shop + $30 Gift Card to Blessed Is She

Ok, on to the link up!
Sweet Little Ones

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