Loving Yours, Mom Judy Antonio to my dearest Paulo, Rafa, and Maia

By Judy Roman Antonio
Proud to be! HS 83

Taken during the 25th and 30th Year Anniversary Renewal of Vows of Judy and Ram

As you set off onto your next adventure, what do I tell you that you don’t already know? You are in your mid or late 20’s, even almost 30. All of you are ready and equipped.

You have all grown into beautiful young adults, who bring joy and meaning everywhere you go. You are a mother’s dream come true! Thank you for the love, happiness, pride, and inspiration. However, the  mission is not over. Your journey continues. You stand at the threshold of the best times of your lives! I have one reminder as you go on your way: in times of doubt, uncertainty, or even fear; but more so, in times of celebration, joy, and gratitude, come back, take your place, and savor being at our dinner table.

All that yummy food! A pandemic photo with Maia (seated). Standing L-R, Rafa, Judy, Paulo and husband Ram.

We have shared so many meals there. We gave each other time, shared laughter and heartbreak too. We got to know each other and ourselves, with love and without judgment. We “moved” our dinner table, as many times as we’ve moved houses and vacation spots. Around this table, we had our most private sacred moments, the 5 of us. But just as often, we have warmly welcomed family and your countless friends through the years. The table transformed for breakfast after an all-girls’ sleepover into a bar all dressed up for cocktails to celebrate birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries; or into an impromptu pizza-and-Chickenjoy buffet; and of course, into a serious conference table where the five of us “joined forces” to discuss many of the most exciting, life-changing plans in our family life. We watched, learned, and celebrated everything and anything around this table! Even the pandemic lockdown couldn’t stop us. Always together in search of the why’s and the how’s of navigating life. We loved, felt loved, argued, apologized, shared, had fun, encouraged, forgave, made dreams come true, never stopped hoping … and there, we prayed together … and you became the people you are today.

I cannot tell you what the future holds for you. I can assure you, however, our dinner table has given you all you need in your journey. Through it all, we have tasted the goodness of the Lord. You will never be alone. God is our constant. As a family, we have lavishly partaken in the Lord’s dinner table during every celebration of the most Holy Eucharist. A peek at heaven on earth! Come back, take your place, and savor being at our dinner table, and the table of the Lord.

At their 10th wedding anniversary! Paulo, Rafa and Maia were still very young then!

A wise man once said “children are our messengers to a future we will never see”. As you continue on your pilgrim’s journey, bring with you all that you have learned and all the love that has accompanied you. Magnify the Lord. Have fun! As often as you need, come back, take your place, and bring more people to our dinner table. Shine your light that others too may see. Stay open to the Lord’s leading. We are all just passing through. So, Pau, Raf, and Mai, come to dinner, ok?

I love you always,

“The family which experiences the joy of faith communicates it naturally. That family is the salt of the earth and the light of the world, it is the leaven of society.”

– Pope Francis in his Homily on Family Day
at St. Peter’s Square, 27 Oct 2013

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