This is the fourteenth installment of the story of our journey with Maura…
Maura’s First Communion was something that honestly? We thought might not happen.
But it did.
We went out and picked what was probably the most expensive dress in the shop. And the matching shrug. And gold sparkly shoes. And at the last minute, a little barrette of a veil (my mother-in-law made a gorgeous tiara veil – that was blinding white next to Maura’s not quite white, not quite ivory dress. We both looked at it and went “Dang. It doesn’t match.” and so I ran out last minute and found a little coordinating one from the same shop we got the dress. Go figure, that little last-minute veil got a ton of compliments!)
The ceremony was on a Monday, and that weekend before it, Josh and I took advantage of his mother’s willingness to watch our children and went away overnight sans children. We get back Sunday evening and Maura croaks at me “Hi Mom.”
She had the voice of Kathleen Turner.
I grabbed the thermometer – no fever. Phew. But the next morning, Maura woke up all sorts of stuffed up and with absolutely no voice. The poor thing! It was her big day and she couldn’t even talk!
But Maura being Maura, she still had a smile on her face. I got myself ready, then got her ready, revealing the dress to her. We drove over to the church on that sunny spring morning, meeting other families from the school along the way.
I can’t begin to explain what a truly joyous occasion this was. Family and friends, teachers and some students from the school, and the children making their first communion and confirmation – it was just this amazingly happy point in time. The priest was just absolutely wonderful with each child, patient and smiling the entire time, every parent and grandparent beaming….and Maura, gleefully showing off her new dress to everyone.
My biggest fear was that Maura would somehow spit out the host (aka, little white wafer thing). That is a huge no-no, as was instilled into us by nuns in Catholic grammar school. If the host hits the ground, everything must stop until it is retrieved. They had practice receiving First Communion with Maura and again at home. But still, she can be a wild card. So when it became her turn, the priest placed the host on her tongue, and there was this pause…then I heard him murmur “No no, keep it in your mouth.” I leaned in and said softly “Chew and swallow.”
Yes, all those times I’ve had to say those words to her over the years…it was just leading up to this moment. She did as she was told. All was well. We all started breathing again.
By the end of the ceremony though, Maura was flagging. Her stuffed-upness was being felt, and she didn’t want to stand for pictures, so we have many pictures of her looking to the side, photos of her back, lovely shots of blurs. But then Miriam started showing her what to do and suddenly, some cute photos.
Afterwards, we all went to the school for a little reception and some lovely cake. There were professional photographers there and so I got more pictures done. I hadn’t planned on doing the professional photos, but I saw them, and knew that if I didn’t do this, I’d regret it. And from that, I got the sweetest picture of both my girls – totally worth it!
And of course, Maura got petted and complimented some more, and got to show off her dress to everyone at her school and in her class.
She was quite the trooper that day, with no voice and a stuffed up head.
Today, I remembered something. Four years ago, I bought two matching picture frames. They were creamy white in color, with lace between glass as the frame part. I bought them thinking “These would be perfect for the girls First Communion photos.”
I’ve never put one of Miriam’s photos in one of them. I don’t know if I’ve just avoided it or have been too busy to get around to making it happen.
There will be two matching frames with the two sisters, each on their First Communion days.
And it will make my heart happy.