2010 was the year of death at my house. We lost 2 grandparents, one uncle & 2 co-workers. It is not plesant to be getting older & having to deal with this. You know when the phone rings after 11pm that it can't be good news.
My children are 6 & 7 and I still have not really had to "explain" the whole death thing to them yet. We just give the ol "they went to heaven" thing. Then I think about the fact that my kids do not go to church. Do they even know what heaven is? This makes me often question my decision, or really, non-decision, to raise my kids Catholic like I was.
When I was little you went to church. I grew up in a town that was 1/2 Catholic & 1/2 Jewish. (I remember being pissed that I didn't get to have a Bat Mitzvah when I turned 13.) We went to C.C.D. after school & begrudgingly went church on Saturday afternoons or Sunday mornings. I recieved my first communion, was confirmed, went to confession & got married in the Catholic church. It was what you did, without question. Now that I am a mother, I often question my true religious beliefs. I am also married to a man who is not religious at all. He is not buying into that "man in the sky that is watching" thing. So that doesn't help either.
Growing up in a Catholic household meant you were consumed with guilt.. Top that with being Italian & we are talking serious guilt. I suppose that religion has it's benefits when broken down. It makes you feel like you must take responsibility for your actions. You will have to answer to someone eventually. (In other words, GUILT!) I am not saying this is bad. I do believe religion was created for that purpose. To keep people civilized & give them peace. Now that I am older & able to fully understand, I see that religion has often proven to be the complete opposite of that. Much of the worlds unrest & chaos is often said to be in the name of religion.
I'm not looking to preach, start any drama or press MY beliefs on anyone here. Nor do I need anyone else to tell me what to believe in. There is no right or wrong here. I think people should believe in what they want & should not be judged. Whatever helps you sleep at night. I'm thinking about my children.
When my first son was born we had to decide whether or not to have him baptized. My family is Catholic on all different levels. Some are the "hoilday" Catholics & some are hard-core. (I'm talkin about a reception after a baptism or first communion that would rival the scene straight out the the movie "The Godfather II") I knew that I was not going to do it in the Catholic chruch. Both my son's Godparents are gay & I was not cool with the idea that they are not "accepted" in the church. We went the Espiscopal route. They had a kinder, less judgemental approach. When my second son was born we did something that some would consider unorthodox, but I thought was the most personal & coolest thing ever. We had him baptized at home. Now, don't think this is nuts but I hired a priest via a 800 serivice. These priest's were once part of the church but left to get married. I don't really see that as a bad thing. It was aweome!
In my home I have spoken of Jesus, God, the meaning of Christmas & Easter. My boys look forward to reading the Advent book every night in December as a countdwon to Christmas Eve. There are glimmers of religion but no solid, clear cut "this is what you should believe!" Is that bad? I don't think so.
I guess I am writing this out of....guilt. I believe in God. A higher power. I pray. (usually in the selfish, I need something way) I just want my boys to grow up to be honest & good. To do the right thing & take responsbilty for their actions. I'm not sure that guilt is the way to do that anymore. All I can do is be the best mother I can be, lead by example, be a good person myself & hope that I can instill these admirable qualities in them. For right now, I am at peace with that and that works for me.