M-girl made her First Communion the other day. I'd been awaiting the day for years, ever since I teared up at K-boy's First Communion.
Months of preparation went into it. M-girl and I went on a girls only shopping trip to find her dress. She took one look at the rows of white lace and flounces and was in her element. She must have tried on twenty dresses, but in the end she found the one that was just right for her.
We knew that family would be coming in from out of town to celebrate with us. The whole family worked feverishly to get the house looking its best. Projects that had been delayed were finally done. Walls were painted, new carpet was laid, and every room was shined and polished.
A celebratory meal was prepared. I loaded down a shopping cart with special foods, and later my hubby shopped for the items that I forgot. The whole house filled with delicious aromas.
M-girl studied hard and attended classes. I taught classes, both at home and at the church, to help her and other children to be ready to receive this sacrament.
The morning of the ceremony was a flurry of last minute tidying and cooking. Then it was time to help M-girl dress and fix her hair. Before I knew it I was walking my daughter (who looked like an angel) into the church to meet her religion classmates. Then I had to let go of her hand and leave her, trusting that she would remember what to do.
I sat nervously in the pew with my husband and our boys. We watched the rows of immaculately dressed second graders enter the church, hands folded piously. At times, M-girl was able to sit with us, ever watchful for her cues to stand and join the other children.
Finally I watched as she received the sacred host for the first time. I saw the beatific smile that lit up her face. I knew then that she understood that that single moment was what all of the preparations had been for. My little girl is growing up.