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.
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!".