I hope that I share enough of our life to show that things aren’t all rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes things are tough, sometimes I’m frustrated to the point of angry, and sometimes I can’t stop smiling because of these adorable kids and this amazing life God gave me. Today was a good day.
Ana celebrated her First Communion. Though I grew up in a solidly Protestant immediate family, a significant portion of my extended family is Catholic, so I’m no stranger to attending mass. I did, however, feel a little awkward about the whole day. Okay, more than just awkward…I was filled with trepidation. It was just Tim and I, joining Ana’s mom’s very large family, so I felt a little outnumbered. This is a school that seems to have defied the divorce odds; there are very few stepparents, so I wondered how that would all look. I also felt out of place; out of respect for the Catholic church, I don’t take communion there. I had angst about celebrating this rite as it was presented and the high school debater in me kind of wanted to pick an intellectual fight (e.g., transubstantiation vs. consubstantiation, why is 2nd grade the magic age for communion).
The experience was as lovely as the warm, sunny weather that blessed the day. As I walked into the church, I met up with Ana’s grandmother, who has always been so kind to me. She tucked her hand on my arm and we walked to the door together, chatting about the beautiful lace veil from her wedding 50+ years ago that Ana was wearing today. The homily was a great reminder of what we were celebrating and did a nice job of addressing both children and adults. Ana was smiling the entire time, sneaking looks down the pew for affirmation. I winked at her and her face lit up.
I shouldn’t have worried about being outnumbered; Ana’s extended family greeted me warmly, as they always have. I spotted other blended families, a reminder that I probably wasn’t the only one trying to get this day right. I was one of many adults who didn’t take communion, so I doubt anyone noticed. And I kept my theological debates to myself, exactly as I should have. Success.
At the end of the mass, the priest asked the children and parents to stand at the end to receive a special blessing. I kept my seat, bowed my head and smiled as Ana stood between her mom and her dad. That was at it should be. It doesn’t take anything away from my role in the kids’ lives to be deferential in those moments. And I don’t deserve any credit for being deferential; in our circumstances, that was the right thing to do.
As I got in car to drive away, I realized I was in a much better mood than when I arrived. Today was one of those days when we did it right. It was a good day.