As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Holy Day

This past weekend we celebrated a milestone in our family - our oldest child's First Communion. We have all been looking forward to this day all year, working and preparing him to receive Jesus: body, blood, soul and divinity.  I am pregnant now and always love receiving the Eucharist while there is a little child in my womb, because this is the closest this little one will be to Jesus until their First Communion.  And this week, one of our children got there - apart from me, all on his own.  What a beautiful day!

For a variety of reasons the weeks leading up to this big day have been hectic, and I have not been able to put a lot into planning a big celebration for my boy.  My husband's siblings were all in town from various cities across the country two weeks prior, which also happened to be the week that we got chickens - ten of them.  The week after his siblings left, his beautiful grandmother who had been ill for some time took a turn for the worst, and passed away.  We were very blessed to spend so much time with his family remembering her beautiful life, and her funeral took place three days before his First Communion. 

My husband (who had been devoting all his spare time to building a chicken coop to house the birds that have temporarily taken up residence in our basement) had some errands to run the morning before the First Communion, and brought our son along to buy a new suit for his big day.  I was so happy he was able to do that!  I thought at least if we can't get him anything else, a new suit is special.  I hoped he would agree, that he would feel special.

The evening before his big day, one of my closest friends was celebrating her birthday.  As we couldn't find a babysitter only one of us could attend, and I was so torn about whether Jeff or I should go.  Grief-ridden over still not having been able to do anything really big for my boy, I chose to stay home and concentrate on preparing properly for his special day (which was also Mother's Day, did I mention that?) - laying out clothes, making a card (because I didn't have a chance to get out and buy one), and preparing gifts for my mother and mother-in-law.  As I got things together, I instantly felt guilty that I didn't have a small something special (a plaque, a rosary, a pin) to include with his card.  My heart sank, and I hoped he wouldn't notice and feel that we didn't care.  I didn't want this to be a day that just snuck up on us - and it wasn't.  In all the right ways, we had prepared.  We had been studying together all year (we homeschool, and catechism is part of our curriculum), we talked often as a family about the Eucharist and what it means to receive the Lord for the first time, met with our parish priest several times, attended the practice run and class with the cathechism kids, and we have been praying.  That evening in a panic, I prayed that was enough.  That all the interior work we had been doing until now was enough to make him feel special.

Looking back over the events of the week, I can really see the Lord's wisdom in allowing things to happen as they did, and I am truly grateful.  Instead of planing a lavish gathering à-la-birthday party (which this clearly was not) we spent the weeks prior to his First Communion living and celebrating life in the very best ways, with the people who are most dear to us.  In the same week that his Great-Grandmother went to be with our Lord, our son received Him in the Holy Eucharist for the first time - and on Mother's Day!  I could not have coordinated a better celebration of such an important day if I tried.  And God knows that.

I am so happy for my boy. And very proud, because I think he gets it. The day was so special for him, not because we lavished him with gifts and momentoes, but because it was special in and of itself. I wrote him a note in his card telling him how proud we were of the young man he is becoming, and his face lit up when he read it. And it made my day. He didn't need presents, he didn't need me to neglect him or our family, or any of the other things that were important in the weeks leading up to it. He needed affirmation, and prayer, and guidance - and those can be given in any circumstance (even if it's not during shopping hours). 

 Thank you Lord for the gift of children, the beauty that is growing up, and blessing of family.  May Your presence live within all of us as we continue on this journey, and burn especially bright within my son and all who made their First Holy Communion with Him.  May they never forget how this day feels, as they continue to become the men and women You call them to be.

So happy for my boy!

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