Sunday, June 19, 2011

First Holy Communion


Official portrait - love the tongue!


On May 7, Rebecca received the sacrament of First Holy Communion.  She prepared for this event over the last several months, attending weekly religion classes (known as PSR classes).  She also dreamily anticipated wearing a lovely white dress and having a party to celebrate with our family and friends.  She was selected by her teacher to read a bible passage at the Mass, and did a tremendous joy.  During the weeks leading up to the ceremony, I asked her if he wanted to practice her reading with Jim and me.  She declined, saying that she had practiced at PSR class and that she liked to read at loud at school, so she wasn't feeling nervous about it.  I thought that she would experience some nerves that day but she didn't - she told me that she was only afraid that she might start to laugh as she walked in the entrance procession, just because she was so excited.  What a great attitude she showed - I was really impressed by her composure.

In front of church before the Mass; afterward with the celebrant, Fr. Eric
The dress that she wore that day was indeed beautiful, simple yet princess-like.  We had gone dress shopping back in February, finding one at a local department store.  It was an A-line dress in a heavy satin, with some embroidery and a shrug jacket.  The style of the dress didn't match my mental image for Rebecca's First Communion, but when she tried the dress on, she beamed, so I agreed to buy it.  Unfortunately Rebecca grew between February and May.  She tried on the dress the week before the ceremony and while it was possible to zip it up, it was clearly not comfortable for her to wear.  I felt a mild panic as I considered our options:  See if the store has the same dress in a larger size?  See if the dress could be altered quickly?  I called the department store to ask about the dress but nobody answered the department phone.   It was during the dinner hour, which I figured would mean fewer shoppers at the mall, so I gathered up the dress, Rebecca and our sidekick Carly, and headed for the store.  In the girls' dress department we received some bad news.  Rebecca's dress was sold out of all sizes except one much smaller.  But the good news was two-fold.  There were still several styles available, and because many churches' First Communions had already taken place, all dresses were 30% off.  Rebecca picked out two dresses to try on and we both were thrilled by her first pick.  It was a sleeveless white dress with a beaded waistline and a puffy skirt.  This dress was in the style that I had originally though would be most flattering on Rebecca, and I was right.  She tried on the other dress that she had selected, just to see it, but there was no contest - we had found THE dress.  Back on the sales floor we selected a shrug sweater, then found a sales associate.  He processed the return of the original dress and the purchase of the new items, which thanks to the sale, totaled about $30 less than the first outfit.  

As the kids gathered before the ceremony that Saturday, Rebecca and I noticed two girls wearing the original style she had picked out, so she was even happier that she'd found another dress.  My initial panic was replaced by a feeling of satisfaction, that the right thing had happened after all.

The Mass itself was very nice and all of the kids were very cute receiving their First Communion.  The parents were asked to come up to the altar with their child, and because Rebecca was a reader, our family sat in the front row of pews.  This meant that Rebecca was the first in her class to receive the sacrament; we were able to then just observe as every one else took their turn.
 
 No idea what was going on here, but glad that my brother-in-law Shaun captured it

The Mass took place at 1:30pm and we had planned an open house at our home afterward.  Unfortunately, just before Easter I developed a small infection on my leg, which required antibiotics, and which caused me to delay the start of the next cycle of Sutent for about 10 days.  I was instructed to keep my leg elevated as much as possible to help it heal.  Jim's mom was concerned about me spending a lot of time on my feel preparing for the party, so she graciously offered her house as the venue.  We agreed, and it turned out to be a really fun party.  We were able to visit with family and friends, the kids had a chance to play, and everyone enjoyed a lot of good food.  I am forever grateful to Jim's parents for the gift of their home for the party.

Delicious cake made by a local baker - our friend Deanna. 

The only sad note was that I realized after the day was over that we had never gotten a photo of Rebecca with Jim and me.  I'm not sure how that happened, and it certainly didn't ruin the day, but I wish we'd gotten some sort of family snapshot.  Oh well.

I think I enjoyed the whole experience of Rebecca's First Communion as much as she did.  Her experience was far different from my First Communion in 1973.  At that time, my parish did not do First Communions by class groups, instead each child's ceremony was an individual one, held during a regular Mass.  For some reason , Palm Sunday was chosen ans the day for my First Communion.  Unlike Rebecca, I was very nervous, and it was difficult to sit through the reading of the Passion, waiting for my time to be stared at by the congregation.  Despite my fears I survived the Mass with no problems.  I wore a dress of white dotted swiss that my mom sewed for me; she was a good seamstress and money was tight, so we didn't shop for a fancy dress.  Instead of a veil, I wore a hair comb with a white ribbon attached, which didn't bother me.  However, I was very much bothered by the fact that my mom would not buy me white shoes for the occasion.  Instead I was forced to wear my black patent leather shoes with my white dress and tights.  My mom told me that white shoes were too expensive to buy for just one day.  I didn't agree with her at the time, though now I understand how frivolous a purchase they would have been.  During my childhood there was no Payless or Target where we could get inexpensive shoes.  I am grateful to have those options now so that the girls can have a little "bling" sometimes without breaking the bank.

I didn't have a large family, so my First Communion celebration consisted of my nuclear family, along with my paternal grandmother and uncle coming to our house for Sunday dinner.  The large family is something I am happy to have acquired by marriage - I enjoy the happy chaos at our celebrations and I love that my girls have aunts, uncles and cousins whom they see regularly.





I like this shot even better than the official one, dandelion and all!

1 comment:

Barbara said...

I *love* the dress story, Liz. Some things are just meant to be!!! :-)

Sounds like the party was a great success - that cake looks delish.

Have to say as I was reading your story about your FC shoes, I immediately thought "...I know, such a bummer that there was no Payless 'back in our day'..." and lo and behold, you said the same thing a few sentences later. :)

Thanks for sharing! I love the casual pic too, especially the dandelion!