Thursday, March 13, 2014

{p,h,f,r} She Did It!

What a beautifully perfect day! But, phew! I am so glad the day is over.

The dress she wore was the flower girl dress from her Uncle Matt and Aunt Mary Lou's wedding two years ago. 

Tuesday was the second First Communion Day for the Kennedy Family, since the first First Communion Day was a Twofer.

And they were both alike in their simplicity: daily Mass with little fanfare.

But the run up to the day couldn't have been more different. As I wrote four years ago, we had about a week to prepare for the celebration of M's and D's day (not that we hadn't been preparing them since birth! But that last part all happened so fast.)

However, with A the proximate preparation began almost two years ago with registration in the parish homeschool religious ed program for last year, and then the Sacramental Prep program for this year. And the stress began with the first Sac Prep meeting.

A has always been a bit shy. Even as a baby she was likely to burst into tears when a stranger (like a waiter or waitress) or seldom seen friend or family spoke to her or even looked at her. And that characteristic has been at least under the surface for her whole life. But this last fall, when she sprained her ankle and had to use crutches and at the same time began attending meetings for her First Sacraments she became acutely aware of "attracting attention". She didn't want anyone looking at her and would actually burst into tears, or at least growl and turn away when she got what she thought was undue attention.

She was amazingly calm beforehand and willing to pose for pictures. 

And so the worrying about her First Communion began. She remembered the little girl that received her first Communion at 9am Mass over a year ago and began to worry that Father would "make a big deal over it" (I don't remember Father doing anything but mentioning it during his homily and right before communion.) She didn't want anyone even knowing it was her First Communion and Father wasn't to mention anything and she didn't even want to go up first to Communion or ANYTHING!

We spent lots of bedtimes fretting about it: "I don't want to receive my First Holy Communion. I don't want anyone looking at me. I don't even want to have a celebration. It is too much attention."

There were lots of ideas floating around about how best to go about it, and ultimately she came up with the one that we went with.

She really wanted to ride a horse for her Baptismal Day outing. This was the best I could do without spending and arm and a leg. I didn't think it was worth $5. She did, though. 

We chose to have it on her Baptismal Day, at daily Mass. We would talk to Father first about how she didn't want a big deal to be made. It was to be just like any other Mass.

Of course the draw of the white dress was strong. And, of course a little tiara. And the cute white shoes.

At some point along the way she accepted that those things might cause people to actually talk to her and say nice things about how pretty she looked. And on that day, she was confident and "in the moment".

She wanted to talk to Father before Mass and she explained what she wanted. He agree not to draw attention to her. Then she sat down with her new First Communion Missal open to a page with a picture of the Child Jesus holding a chalice and a Host. Just before Mass started she told me she wanted to "have some alone-time with the Blessed Mother" and she went over to the statue to pray for a moment. She was a little upset about the flash of the camera when we took a picture of her. She came back with a worried look "Mama, someone is taking pictures of me!"
Father had told her to pray for her family on her First Communion Day. She decided to go to the Blessed Mother before Mass because she was afraid she would forget after Communion.

We assured her it was Papa and no one else was paying attention (though actually half the church was charmed by her). And then Mass began.

She went up with a grin on her face, received her Lord and Savior in Holy Communion and came back to her sit all smiley and full of joy.

After Mass she was mobbed by well wishers and she stood shocked and shy, but got through it.

And here we are.

The other night as I was saying good night, she said "Now I am worried about my Confirmation!".


round button chicken

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Excuse me while I commune with myself and subdue my feelings....

A few quotes from our reading...

The Family That Overtook Christ  by M. Raymond

"Man was made to know....that means that the intellect must be developed: for man was made to know both here and hereafter. In fact that is Christ's description of heaven..."This is eternal life, that they may know..." pg. 222

"...those who speak most glibly of intellectual pride are usually bogged down and almost inextricably mired in intellectual sloth." pg. 223

I am still in the middle of this book, but I highly recommend it. There are so many other great quotes, but these were from today's reading.

The Story of Church by Rev. B. N. Forner, C.S.B.  (this is an old Church history text I got someplace I can't recall)
I have not read this whole book that I can remember. But I was looking up something about Abelard and Bernard of Clairveaux and I found this:

"There were parish schools which taught reading, writing, arithmetic and grammar, but they were not very numerous unit the end of the twelfth century. Prior to that time, the average boy received his primary instruction from his parents or from private tutors. At the Cathedral School, he entered upon his secondary education and was introduced to the liberal arts. These consisted of grammar, rhetoric, and logic which were called the Trivium; and arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music which were called the Quadrivium."

The reason I liked this quote was because it confirmed to me that the liberal arts were originally part of secondary education. And primary, or elementary education was for basic skills like reading, writing and arithmetic, no to mention the work of children: play.

And, the source of this blog post's title, from our current bedtime read aloud: The Children of the New Forest by Captain Marryat.

"Your intelligence [as in"what you just told me"] has so astounded me that I can listen to nothing else till I have had a little while to commune with myself and subdue my feelings."

I am practicing this line to use in everyday life.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

8th Annual Kennedy Girl Birthday Weekend

Eight years ago today, I was just coming home from the hospital with my second redheaded little girl in my arms. 
And my first little girl was turning four without even a cake (though she really didn't notice, not being a calendar checker yet).
 All that came a few days later when I was a little more together.

For the second time, A picked horses as her theme.
See the little wild horses running around all over her cake? Trust me, they are there. 

But I remember the conversations about how birthdays would go in the future. We decided that we didn't want to have them share a birthday just because two in a row might be a little crazy and inconvenient. We hoped that they would not feel rushed through their special day or short shrifted in the celebration.

Green for the grass...these themes are elaborate, huh?

Apparently, there was no need to fret. Of course, it is all they have ever known, but I like to think they would choose it if they could. Each girl has her day, with her own theme (which means themed table decorations and cake and presents). I make one boxed cake mix and split it into two pans. It requires some quick changes in table decorations and double cake decorating, but it really has not been too bad. 

M's theme...Chelsea Soccer. GOAL!!!!!
They love celebrating together and D has never felt left out--he just loves to be in on the planning. 
I wouldn't have it any other way.