“Communion Year this year isn’t it?” “Yes, not til May though, it’s ages away”
Date announced, bouncy castle booked, save the date texts sent.
Communion Meetings since before Christmas. The Do This In Memory Programme. Masses. Candles.
“Are you all set for the Communion?” “Sure it’s months yet”
The outfit bought spontaneously in a shopping centre after a Zoo trip and hung safely in the wardrobe.
Showing my mother and realising that the colours didn’t quite work. Online ordering a replacement trousers that thankfully did.
Panic 6 weeks later when he seemed to have grown, relief when the replacement trousers were still long enough.
First Penance on a Friday night in Lent, two family members having to leave the church, both due to the overtiredness of the smaller one.
The realisation that footwear would be required and poring over ipad images to get the right balance of acceptably cool and appropriate.A Saturday evening mass.
“Are you all set for the Communion?” “Sure there’s weeks yet”
Outfit planning for the rest of the family. Pink satin and a check shirt.
Chats with the other “Communion mammies” as the weeks closed in. Eating out or staying in, blowdry? Tan? Tie or Dickie Bow?
News that our boy would be singing a solo as part of the responsorial psalm.
Listening to the same verse over and over, his practice making it perfect.
Food ordered. Paper plates bought.
“Are you all set for the Communion?”
“Sure there’s a week yet, it’ll be grand”
More singing. Paper cups bought. Prayer book, rosette.
Tights. Haircuts for all.
Baking, cooking, mopping floors. Listening to singing and promising not to sing in the church.
He was ready. We were ready. I thought I was ready.
Morning of all up early for fear of being late.
Hair spiked to perfection.
Smiles for photos. Excitement greeting grandparents.
“I just need to see my friends”
Wave to the webcam, helloes for the friends.
Seas of white satin, navy blazers, colourful ties, tiaras and gloves.
The choir of children sing, the priest’s warm welcome.
Slowly and carefully they walked in pairs to the altar, I noticed that ours was the only child not carrying his cue card.
“Sure I know it off Mam”.
Silent prayers that there would be no stagefright.
First Reading. The musicians start. A quick consultation with teacher, mic adjusted and his mouth opens to sing. Confident, his voice echoes through the church, notes that I would never reach.
I feel something wet on my cheek and rummage for a tissue.
Pride. Love. Joy. All the good emotions.
His verses sung he hands the baton to the next singer with a look of relief and accomplishment.
We could relax now.
The children gather on the altar. Almost 60 7 and 8 year olds swish past up the aisle.
They say their prayers in unison. The sight of them, the number of them, their youth, the community of them, it all stirred something.
It felt so special. I wasn’t ready for that.
My too-cool-for-school streetwise eight year old’s innocence came back for an hour or so.
My emotions were high, my spirit touched.
The one thing I hadn’t prepared for.
Maybe the fact that it caught me by surprise made it all the more special.