So we’re Catholic, right? And with Catholicism comes such milestones as Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation.
This year, Miriam’s making her Confirmation. She’s chosen her confirmation name, her confirmation sponsor and her confirmation dress.
Now, the dress came about because she wanted to wear heels. What 12 year old girl doesn’t want to wear heels? Mim is not tall for her age, and her feet are not big. But she found a pair of little red heels, in her size, on sale even.
Then she found a dress to go with said heels (a cute little blue dress with white butterflies. Perfect for her.)
Meanwhile, people around me were getting ready for First Communion – which usually happens in the second grade, or when the child is about eight. Sure, it’s about being old enough to receive the Eucharist, to partake in a major part of the Catholic mass. But I’ll be honest – it’s also fun to dress a little girl for her First Communion.
For Miriam’s, I made the dress. A cute Jane Austen style dress, with lacework I brought back from our trip to Ireland, that had crosses right in it. The dress was a labor of love, some self-loathing and a few curse words – but it came out lovely. She was the little old-fashioned looking girl of my dreams. I saved the dress for in case Maura would make her First Communion.
But age eight came and went. As did second grade. The dress I made for Miriam was tucked away in the closet. When we were in Michigan, I wasn’t sure First Communion would happen. When we got to Dublin, we found out her class already made theirs.
And so we were in limbo.
I knew it didn’t matter. God made Maura, God loves Maura, God doesn’t care if she makes her First Communion.
And yet, I really wanted it for her. To be really really honest, it wasn’t so much for the religious aspect. It was more for the normality of it all. All the other kids made theirs, I remember my First Communion day. I wanted the experience for Maura. The pretty dress, the party, the works.
So when, one day, the principal of her school mentioned the confirmation class, I asked about First Communion. Go figure, the ONE note I didn’t get was the one asking who was interested in Confirmation and First Communion. I was a bit deflated. Maura’s class is the youngest ones in her school, the rest had made theirs, so there wasn’t really a need to make a First Communion group. But the principal offered to look into it, to see if they could squeeze her into the Confirmation group.
Last Friday, we got the green light. Maura would make her First Communion along side with the Confirmation class. They’ll make sure she’s ready enough.
On Saturday, I marched Maura down to her favorite store – Monsoon, the store that always has a wall of beautiful party dresses, and currently has a wall of gorgeous white dresses – and lined up all the dresses in her size to let her choose the dress she wanted. And the matching shrug. And a little flower crown. I didn’t look at prices. The cost meant nothing to me. I was going to buy my girl the First Communion dress of her choice.
I didn’t realize how much this meant to me until it was a reality. I don’t think Josh got it either until he was teasing me about the price of the dress and I started crying in the store. Crying. I don’t do emotion in public, especially not crying!
Maura’s not getting married. She may never have the chance to go to prom, or homecoming dances. There will not be college formals to attend. I’m not even certain Confirmation is in her realm of possibilities. Maura’s special needs means her list of Special Occasions gets narrowed down considerably.
So yes, I bought the expensive dress. I have no regrets. My only concern is that I’ll be a blubbery mess on the actual day itself. I can’t predict what Maura will do, but by golly, she will do it wearing a gorgeous dress looking utterly precious!