December 24th – Day 30

Sitting on a plane next to Catie, who is sorting Skittles by color, I am surrounded by noise from the folks in front of us. Kevin and M.E. are sitting directly in front of us, Molly and Mia are to their right and Max and Maggie are in front of them. The airline had originally decided to spread the O’Brien’s throughout the plane. Kevin, who has done this before, felt that gathering the noise and putting it behind everyone was the best. Hopefully everyone went to the bathroom in the airport otherwise they will be greeted by our enthusiastic travelers.

We are headed to visit Poppy for his 80th Birthday. I have never been so grateful to any one person in my life as I am grateful to George O’Brien for raising Kevin. Not only is Kevin a great father, Kevin was blessed to be raised by a man who was a great father. When you are raised in that manner, I believe that your personal relationship with God is more concrete, more honest, more intimate and possibly valuable to you and others because you were raised understanding the love of the Father for the Son. George, this is the gift – along with life- that you have given to Kevin. You didn’t stop there. Kevin is also a great husband, Kevin was also blessed to be raised by a man who was a husband – I don’t know if I can call him a great husband as he was never my husband – but George did things I think a great husband would do. George honored his commitments. George was there for Kevin’s mother, Gladys, is sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, and in good times and in bad until death parted them. George continues to live these commitments every day now married to our children’s grandmother, Jane or Grammy to the kids. Kevin honors his commitment to me each day and in part, George, I am grateful to you for giving Kevin your example as he grew up.

That is why we are all sitting together on a US Air flight flying to South Carolina. We are going to honor the life of a man who has given so much to all of us through the example of how he lives his life. We love you Poppy. We love you George. We love you Dad! Happy Birthday George!! Christmas Eve may be Christmas Eve to most of you but to us it is Poppy’s birthday.

Catie woke up very early this morning, 8:10am. This is unusual. She wanted to go to Mass with everyone at 8:30. Now Kevin says that I am good at moving my troops, but making Mass with the four oldest girls was going to take a major coordinated effort. Megan reminded Catie that this was her last Mass that she would be attending where she could eat in the car on the way. (In order to receive the Eucharist as a Catholic we fast for one hour before receiving.) We did our best and arrived 10 minutes late. We went to a neighboring parish of Good Shepherd and there we were thrilled to see a few people who we have not seen lately but who have been supporting us on our journey. Wishing them all a Merry Christmas we departed and arrived home. Sharing ourselves with others means so much to us. For many people being open takes risk and takes one beyond their comfort level, but there is where I believe we find God – out there taking risks and trusting that we are not alone.

While I packed a few last minute things, the kids ate breakfast and the Connolly’s dropped by to wish us a Merry Christmas and to pick up Megan, as did Doreen from Heritage Pediatrics. At our doctors office they took up a collection for Catie and wanted to deliver it before Christmas. Many other individuals, schools and churches have done the same for Catie. We are all touched and humbled by the outpouring of generosity and love. Over the past few weeks, as I sat in the hallway at St. Joe’s school, other mothers have come up to me and told me how much what is written here on this computer has changed their lives. Sharing does that for all of us and that is what Catie’s Story is all about. Catie’s Story is all about how this sweet darling 7 year old shares herself so openly and honestly amidst this difficult journey. Thank you as always for joining us and please pray for a miracle. Catie still has so much to share.

May the joy and hope of Christmas Eve be yours today and always.

Praying for a miracle,

Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Max, Catie, Mia, Molly, and M.E.

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