I wrote this in March, and I’m not sure why I didn’t post it then, but I saw it today sitting in wait on my blog dashboard and wanted to post it now. Better late than never, huh?
Today is St. Patrick’s Day, which is something I don’t know too much about because I’m not Irish and I’m not Catholic, and I’m pretty sure it has to do with two of those groups of people. And beer tinted green. However, I do know that today is the birthday of one Frances Anne (Schmidt Blaho) Kautz, my step-mother-in-law. That’s a lot of dashes in our relationship, which kind of trivializes it. But Fran is so much more to me than a bunch of dashes.
Many of you know that Addison is “Addison Frances” because of Fran. Aaron and I always knew we would name our one (and ONLY) child Addison. When Aaron and I found out we were going to have a baby, we decided right away that if it was a girl, we wanted to make her middle name Frances as a way to honor Fran. We did this because we wanted Fran to know that even though she isn’t blood related to Addison, she was going to be an extremely important part of her life. Also, we wanted Addison to have the name of someone who could serve as a wonderful female role model for her. Finally, we wanted Addison to serve as a legacy for Fran. We knew that not having children was one of Fran’s disappointments in life, and we hoped that in a small way, having Addison named after her would help to fill that spot that was missing.
When my grandparents moved my mom back from Pensacola, Fran was thoughtful enough to invite the three of them over one afternoon a week to visit with Addison while I was at work. This gave them all time to visit with each other (which I know they enjoyed), of course it gave my family time to see Addison, and it also took that responsibility off of my plate, which made my life much easier. The funny thing is, I had thought about asking Fran if my family could come to her house and see Addison, but I didn’t want to inconvenience her, so I didn’t bring it up. She suggested it all on her own. I am so thankful that Fran was willing to give up her quality time with Addison so my mom could see her. I think it gave my mom a lot of peace to know that Fran was filling in where she couldn’t and helping me with Addison.
Now that my mom is gone, Fran has essentially filled that role for me. She’s cooked a TON of meals for us, she’s been the go-to babysitter for us in times of need, she’s brought us groceries and medicine when we were sick, she buys us sweet little gifts from time to time – all things that my mom would have done. If I need something, I know that I can call Fran, and she’ll be there in a heartbeat.
Before having Addison, I knew that I was lucky to have Fran in my life. After having Addison, I have realized that it is more than luck that brought Fran and I together. I know that not having children was not part of Fran’s plan for her life, and losing my mom when she was only 49 was something I never could have imagined growing up. I’m not a religious person, but I believe in a higher power, and I know that thing, that being that guides our universe had already worked all of these things out for us. I’m not Irish, and I’m not Catholic, and I definitely don’t like green beer, but I’ll always celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as one of the luckiest days for me because of Fran, one of my life’s biggest blessings.