Thursday, December 23, 2010

Becky the Brave and Beautiful

I am thankful for my daughter Becky.  She is, essentially, the middle child in our family and she has the mellow disposition frequently attributed to middle children.  I should say right off that, when you meet her, be sure to call her Rebecca.  She prefers that name, but she gives her family a dispensation to use her childhood nickname.

Becky is a bright, happy, sunny person.  She loves cats, especially her cat, Sparta.  (The cat in the photo of her above is Sarah’s cat, Marley, not Sparta.)  She has a very tender heart and, when she cares about someone or something, she cares a lot.  She was an excellent student in school, and she seemed to enjoy getting her education, especially in college.  She has a bachelor’s degree in English, and is a very good writer and communicator.

I thought, when the girls were younger, that none of them would have a spiritual bent.  For most of my life, I have been fascinated by spirituality and religions, and I thought maybe my interest had turned all the girls off the subject.  Becky proved that assumption wrong.  She isn’t a “pious” or even a “religious” person—she doesn’t belong to a church and she doesn’t subscribe to one religious tradition over all others.  What association she has had with religion, however, has been with the Roman Catholic tradition.  Her spirituality is expressed in concrete and specific ways.  She has worked in places that feed the homeless.  She has counseled women in prison.  She has helped the Friars at Saint Anthony’s Shrine in Boston with their ambitious and successful ministry to the poor and abandoned people of that city.  She meditates.  She prays.  She works hard to live a moral and upright life.

In 2007, Becky decided she wanted to move to Boston.  She had been living in Arlington, Virginia, after her mother and I moved from Northern Virginia to West Virginia.  She wanted to experience life in a different place, and she wanted to see if she had what it takes to go to a place where she knew absolutely no one and in that place make a life for herself.  She has made a very good life for herself in Boston, and her mother and I have enjoyed visiting her there.  She has friends, and she has a good job in a company owned and operated by a family that has come to consider her as one of theirs.  I so admire that she has done that. I couldn’t have done that when I was in my 20's; I’m not sure I could do it now.

Becky confronted the demons in her life early on.  The confrontation, in my opinion, has made her a strong and courageous woman.  She doesn’t bullshit.  When she says something, you can take it to the bank—it’s true, and she means it.  If she doesn’t like something I am doing or have done, she tells me, even though it takes a lot of effort for her to overcome her desire not to rock the boat.  She is an emotional person, but she is very self–aware and she works hard to make decisions about choices and people on rational, thoughtful grounds, not on her feelings.

For all these things and so much more, I admire and respect Rebecca.  In a lot of ways, she is the person I have always hoped to be and never succeeded in being.  She won’t be with us for Christmas, and her absence will make the day a little less joyous.  But having her in my life is a constant source of joy and pride to me.

I love my Bex!

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