We had an exceptionally wonderful, grace filled, and exhausting weekend this weekend. Well, I am exhausted, but perhaps that’s what happens when you’re the mom on a big weekend? :) This is going to be a pretty long post, so I hope you are comfy!
Lowell was hired to do a side job, so it was left up to me to push the train forward the first half of the weekend. On Saturday, I loaded all the kids up around 12:15 and drove to the parish I grew up in, and was married at, and have had two of our babies baptized at. It took me about an hour to get there, but we had some time to freshen up before the girls’ First Communion test at 1:30. My mom and my little sister/goddaughter, Gloria, got there shortly after us. Father came out and quizzed each girl on the 41 questions they’ve been studying based on the St Joseph Baltimore Catechism. Questions included How Do You Go to Confession? What is the Holy Eucharist? How many kinds of sin are there? And a recitation the Act of Contrition. Faith went first and Father Francis, who is a Norbertine priest and has been helping at the parish because the pastor has been unwell, said she did very well and gave her an “A++.” Felicity followed and also received an “A++” from Father. Such a proud moment for me as their mother after months of discussions and memorization. After my sister was tested, we all went over to the church for first confessions. Faith very confidently went in and waited her turn. Gloria was a little nervous, but found her courage and went in the other side to wait her turn. Felicity on the other hand, was SO nervous about it that she cried. In the end, it wasn’t confessing her sins that worried her, it was being in the confessional. Makes a lot of sense because she is quite a claustrophobic person, so being in a low-lit space overwhelmed her. Father Francis was kind enough to come out and allow her to make her first confession face to face while we all went outside. She still has some trauma about confessionals, so we will work on that in the weeks to come. They were all so excited to have passed their tests and to become squeaky clean in order to receive Jesus the next morning at Mass. It was too precious for words :).
The girls were so excited about this weekend in the days leading up to it. Felicity got up each morning to count the days left until the test and would twirl around and proclaim that she was “just as excited as a kid can be” about making her first confession and receiving her First Holy Communion. Faith was thrilled that she was going to get to receive Jesus “forever!” and wasn’t going to have to cross her arms again. We recently covered Actual Grace in Religion Class, so that was a huge topic, as well as Sanctifying Grace, during our count down.
We left the parish at 3:00 and after a few pit stops, got home around 6:00. I made dinner, packed changes of clothes for the next day, wrapped gifts, helped the girls with Thank You cards for Father, showered/bathed everyone, and turned all the clocks forward. I completed all tasks by 8:30. Lowell got home at 8:45, and Karolina’s godparents and their babies came to spend the night with us and arrived at 9:00. I stayed up way too late visiting with them, but it was well worth it!, and was up 5 hours after hitting the pillow to start our Sunday. I got ready for Mass and Lowell made eggs. I got the girls ready, Lowell helped the boys, we collected up all of their backpacks, cards, veils, rosaries and scapulars, and flew out the door before 8:00 and got to the church by 8:40. Grateful for no traffic on a spring-forward Sunday morning! ;) The only thing I wanted most was a cup of coffee, but I didn’t manage to get that far in the craziness. But! There were no lost tempers or moments of the devil distracting us from the beautiful sacrament about to take place two-fold in our home. I made special points to not let him in our celebrations.
We went in for Mass and all was well. Father was proud to point out that Schroeder’s and Schaper’s filled four whole pews in the front. By the time we made it to The Our Father, I was crying with joy. Then, the time came, and all the girls exited their pew to go up and receive before the rest of us and the congregation. One of them habitually crossed her arms, but Lowell reached out and reminded her she gets to fold her hands reverently now. I was all tears again as I watched their little souls receive Jesus for the very first time! What a beautifully emotional event to witness. :) After everyone received the Eucharist, the girls were called back to the Communion rail to be enrolled in the scapular and were given their sacramental certificates. Yes, I cried again.
We took a few pictures in the church once Mass was over, and I only managed to take a picture of Faith outside because Felicity was off floating around in excitement with friends somewhere on the Church grounds.
We loaded up after Mass, pictures, and sacramental blessings, and headed to my family’s house for home grown, grilled steaks, macaroni salad, and a cucumber salad that I made to contribute. We got a cake from Costco that said “Happy Birthday” but we covered up the ‘birthday’ part with white frosting. We forgot to plan ahead to get one, and I was so busy I couldn’t bake one, and in the end, my mom figured a big cake would feed everyone better than a smaller, home made one. We hung out with them until 3:30 because we had a birthday party to attend that day as well. We swung by our house on the way because it was a pool party and I had forgotten to pack Lowell’s trunks. He and I ran in real quick and both realized how tired we were as we got in the quiet comforts of home, but the kids were waiting, so we had to push on.
We got to our next little shindig and started it all over again. More food, more visiting, lots of swimming, more sweets, more swimming, and more eating. We finally collected up after 7 and headed home. I tidied the kitchen, unpacked packs, got the kids in their jammies, said prayers, and got them tucked in. I also got a phone call from one of my sisters-in-law and we ended up chatting for a few hours. Lowell and the kids were passed out, but I was still buzzing from the whir of the last two days, so it was nice to talk with her for a bit.
As I laid in my bed that night, waiting for sleep to come, I thought about all the hustle and bustle. How fun and beautiful it was. How exhausted it made me feel. I kept going back to my chat and it made me sad that I haven’t been good about reaching out to family, or friends, via communication beyond a blog or text message lately. I fell to sleep thanking God for His blessings on our family, and wondering how I am always ready to receive a call, but am almost never the one to make it. Random, I know.
The girls are still so excited about their big weekend. About having Jesus come to be with them in their hearts. It’s all they talked about most of this morning. My hope and prayer is that their love continues to deepen and grow for our Lord and that they never lose their enthusiasm for receiving His grace through these holy and beautiful sacraments. Thank you, Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, for such an honor as this: raising little souls to share in heaven for eternity!