Dear TGC Family,
With another Christmastide very nearly upon us and the New Year following swiftly along with promises of continuing the joys of the last few years, it seems appropriate to send tidings of peace and goodwill.
The Murphy family, on whom the Puddles are loosely based, has seen a year of many changes. Mrs. Murphy bore us our 7th child, a sweet baby girl who has brought consolation to our hearts in the wake of losing our Maggie to Down Syndrome. Though she started out with just over 3 weeks’ struggles in the NICU and is still under occasional observation for a possible heart cath, she has grown from the tiniest to the chonkiest Murphy baby. We thank the many of you who contributed to our fundraising efforts to pay for the costs of the NICU stay. Your generosity exceeded our expectations.
On the other end of our spectrum of children, #1 and #2 have both grown taller than their mother and #2 may soon outgrow her father as well. (At 5’3” and 5’7”, Mrs. Murphy and I are hobbits among the race of men.) Also, #1 suddenly got curly hair out of nowhere. We blame puberty. They have also advanced considerably in their work of mastering [REDACTED FOR PRIVACY], a martial art they enjoy, along with #3 and #4.
It’s not easy to fit our 6 living children into a (technically) 2-bedroom house, and so the latest news on #5 is that he moved into the former playroom, which is more of an office, but was formerly the master bedroom — but not legally. (Are you aware that older country houses rarely make logical sense?) Mrs. Murphy and I had moved out into the den after losing Maggie because our former bedroom had no windows. It’s like musical chairs with rooms and we now have beds in two rooms that were never meant to hold beds. A fascinating and a bit fun arrangement, if only we didn’t have to step through a minefield of legos to reach the master bathroom in the middle of the night. We do wish we could get a bigger house, but even if Extreme Home Makeover still existed, I doubt we would qualify. There are so many families worse off than we are. Still, this is one of the many reasons I am working to grow TGC: your patronage and support may one day make it possible for us to house our family more appropriately.
#1 and #3, our older boys, have taken to learning computer code on a locked down Chromebook they were gifted last Christmas. It’s confirmation that homeschooling was the best path for us, as they are able to explore their interests which one day may lead to careers and personal development rather than merely learning the basic minutiae of any number of fields no adult remembers. #1 is somewhere between coding and architecture for an eventual secular career, though he also feels a call to the priesthood and prays after Mass longer than any one else in the parish. He’s a good kid.
#3, the inspiration for Lolek, also says he feels a call to the priesthood, but he’s the more rambunctious of the two older boys — which only makes it seem even more likely God may be calling him! Currently, he spends most of his time teasing his older sister and building little contraptions out of scraps. Last year, he gifted me a bobblehead turtle he made from a bottle cap and some other pieces of junk. He has a gift for seeing the possibilities in things.
#4 is a stubborn but sweet little thing with the worst case of ADHD I have ever seen. She’s working on learning about the Eucharist this year in preparation for First Holy Communion, but I have to take the catechesis slowly, in small chunks, because she is so easily distracted.
#5 is also stubborn and sweet and suffering from separation anxiety we can only surmise comes from the loss of Maggie and realizing that people don’t always come home like they should. Please offer a prayer for him. He’s just the sweetest little boy, but his heart is broken and he doesn’t know why.
#7 you already know about, but let me add that she’s reached the stage where peek-a-boo is good, interactive fun. She’s such a happy baby and such a joy to our hearts.
Mrs. Murphy and I are happy in love. We will celebrate our 14th anniversary just after Christmas. She is doing excellent work for a Catholic creative firm and I’m very proud of her because all the skills she uses, she taught herself! As for me, this year brought my M.Ed. in Curriculum, which I use to … well, I don’t really use it much. I’d very much like to find the dream job working in curriculum or instructional design & tech (what I currently do) for a Catholic university or institution that will put me to good use for the gospel. No takers yet. Hoping for better in 2022.
How is your family doing? Feel free to let me know in the comments!
Many, many Christmas blessings from our family to yours!