All dressed in white
We are hip deep into the month of May. Mostly it means lots of graduations, proms and then, school is nearly out for the summer. And well … temperatures they are arisin’. You knew that was going to happen. But seriously, what else? OK … I will tell you. Each Sunday this month, our church services include some very important young attendees that are quite noticeable for their formal attire. They are, after much study and preparation, all on the verge of receiving their First Holy Communion.
Little girls are all dolled up in white lacy dresses with polished shoes and sheer, white veils. The boys, some looking quite uncomfortable, sport tucked-in, starched white shirts with neckties and dark britches. Although I have to say the lad wearing the lone bow tie was quite an elegant fashion statement! Reminded me of a young Cary Grant.
Our special needs daughter, Mimi, sat beside me on the front wheelchair-accessible pew. I had to whisper for her to “shhhhh” a few times as the girls and boys made their way to receive communion for the first time. There were still lots of “awwws” and “beautiful” spilling from her direction. Obviously, Mimi knows a good-looking crowd when she sees one.
Brought me back a bunch of years to when Mimi made her First Holy Communion. She was older than most since the hubster and I couldn’t be certain Mimi knew what the concept meant. When you are mentally stuck at 2 years old, it is an issue. I think it took us four or five years after consulting three different pastors to finally decide Mimi was ready. Actually, it was the last pastor that told me to just give it up … Mimi was ready.
Of course, part of the process also includes confession. Geez! I thought, how was that going to happen? At the time, Mimi had a 100-word vocabulary. I had my own list and none of them remotely had to do with something bad she might have done. Of course, that was the whole issue. Mimi isn’t capable of anything bad. OK … she threw a couple of crayons once in middle school which resulted in the teacher putting her in the only time-out in her life. Imagine my surprise when I read THAT entry in Mimi’s notebook.
When the time for her confession came, I accompanied Mimi as her mouthpiece. The only thing that remotely came to mind as something I had observed she might want to confess to was pulling her little brother, Ricky’s, hair. I saw Mimi deliberately take a handful of Ricky’s short hair and give it a good tug … quite a few times. The pastor just looked at me and said, “I am not going to accept that. Mimi is not capable of sinning.” Mimi just looked at me and smiled.
“OK then … I guess Mimi is ready for her First Holy Communion,” I said. Back in those days, our church had a separate ceremony on a Saturday afternoon for all the youngsters and their families. We opted for Mimi to receive her First Holy Communion during our usual 11 o’clock Mass … and Ricky would also receive his. I don’t think I slept a wink the night before.
When the big day finally came, the hubster stood on one side of Mimi and I on the other. We have photos of the big event. There are a series of five or six frames, one taken right after the other, of Mimi receiving the host with both of her parents having one hand under her mouth waiting for her to swallow. It was a tense 10 seconds. Seemed like an hour. I recall finally sitting down when it was over, thinking, “I’m going to have to do this every week for the next 30 years? What was I thinking?
”May … a month to remember as summer quietly approaches. And knowing children grow up despite their parents. For some of us, there are a couple weeks left to just enjoy adorable little children all dressed in white on their very own spiritual journey.