Our youngest son is in second grade and will be making his first communion this spring. In preparation for that momentous day he will need to say his first reconciliation. I took him to the church this afternoon where he and twenty other second graders would be doing the same. We recognized several of his classmates and fellow parishioners. For me it was a comfortable moment. I was with people I knew, in a church I’ve attended for ten years and able to enjoy a quiet moment during the busy day. For my son it was an anxious moment. He wasn’t sure what he was going to confess. He wasn’t sure when he was going to be called. He wasn’t sure if he would do everything right.
These little moments are so precious and heartbreaking to watch as a parent. I wanted him to know that everything would be fine but he could only believe it once he was safely on the other side of the ordeal. Words from another cannot substitute for personal experience. In the mean time he sat and fretted over every detail. “Mom, when I get called up do I bow in front of the alter? Do I make the sign of the cross when Father Dave does? What if I forget to go to the kneeler afterwards? What if I don’t pin my name tag right on the poster?” All I could tell him was “don’t worry” and gave him a big squeeze. “You’ll be fine. Father Dave has known you your whole life. He will be happy to see you.”
He was the eighth child called up. I watched him head up the steps to the alter his face all flushed with nervousness. And in that same moment I watched Father Dave’s face light up when he saw who it was. (In fairness Father Dave’s face lit up for each precious child) But it was wonderful to see it happen for mine. I watched his cute little self tell Father Dave what was heavy on his heart. There was some seriousness and then some laughter finished by a high five. His complexion returned to normal and he remembered to do all the things he was supposed to. I had a teary moment as I watched him. He now had the experience that my words couldn’t give him and his worries disappeared. It was a beautiful moment.
PS – They played George Winston during the process which was lovely except for when my son said, “Why don’t they play Run DMC instead Mom.” Now that would make for an interesting moment.