It is Sacramental Season, y'all.
Technically, that does not exist. There is nothing on the Catholic Liturgical Calendar that is designated as such and we do not get our own color on the wheel. However, ask any Director or Coordinator or Youth Minister about Sacramental Season and we will get a glazed look in our eyes and our hands might tremble. We will plaster a pained but brave smile on our faces and we will tell you how happy we are but the reality of our lives are we are waiting for the 'weekend after' and maybe a spa day. Or a trip to our favorite Sports Bar or Winery.
I love our families. I love 'my' kids. I will go to the mat for them and do whatever I need to do to make their day of first Reconciliation or the first time they receive Our Lord in the Eucharist the best day of their life. However, I will also admit that there are times I want to grab a parent by the shoulders and shake them, while shouting, "I have been telling you she needs to wear a white dress for the past 9 months and I have the emails to prove it!".
The logistics behind planning any Sacramental day are difficult. Planning the day during the Covid-19 Pandemic has tested my strength, my courage and my sobriety. Granted, it has been a tougher year than usual because I also lost my dear mother in 2020 and so all the 'firsts' one goes through without the rock have been jarring to my serenity. I have done it and I am so grateful for all the prayers, practical help, willingness to surrender and angelic support I have received. My goal has been to walk through all of it with grace and dignity and with the exception of the occasional tantrum over the football season from HELL, I have met that goal.
This does not mean planning first Reconciliation and First Holy Communion and helping to coordinate Easter Vigil did not have its ups and downs. From the 'no, you may not wear a Metallica Tee Shirt to your Baptism' to the 'yes, your sponsor needs to be a practicing Catholic' conversations, the juggling of personalities is rough. People want what they want when they want it. Don't expect a mother of a child who has four Godparents to take the initial instruction of 'one Godparent next to the recipient' at face value. Up until three days before First Holy Communion you will receive emails asking if all of them can sit with little Johnny, how many can sit with little Abigail again? and whether or not its okay for the Godparent to wear their Dallas Cowboy jersey to the ceremony (no and double no, by the way).
It is crazy, it is stressful and it can make me cry.
All this being said, the day of First Communion I see the faces of my little ones and it hits me that they are about to do something outrageous in the eyes of the world. What they are about to do makes us different, a sign of contradiction, a reason for people to walk away from Jesus when they first heard Him declare that this is necessary to achieve eternal life. I cannot help but be struck by the profound miracle I am witnessing and all the struggle melts in my heart. Once again, I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their lives, especially now. I flash on the fact that someone like me, a drunk, rock and roll pagan who made horrific choices in order to fit in with a world that does nothing but hurt women and degrade men in the name of 'freedom' has been forgiven and made whole so that I can watch them receive Our Lord for the first time.
Pray for my kids, will you? For the next two weeks the miracles are going to happen. I am so grateful.
But I am STILL going to need a spa day.