Today was the day I’d been waiting for months to take place. Tonight, at daily Mass, my youngest two children received their First Holy Communion. I was a day filled with last-minute errands in preparation and a day filled with so many precious moments. The few that really stick out for me was the moment that my middle son saw me ironing his younger brother’s shirt and he asked me if he could help. I was nervous and said he should be careful that he didn’t iron in more wrinkles or burn himself. But he carefully, painstakingly, dare I say “lovingly” passed the iron over the wrinkles then helped his brother button up the shirt. So incredibly moving! My youngest son then wanted to help me as I gently ironed the wrinkles out of his sister’s veil. So precise were his movements and careful. Later this evening, as I gave him a hug and a kiss good night, he actually gave me a big squeeze back for the very first time. I will never forget it.
Earlier, as I raced around to get all the items we needed for the reception out to the car, my oldest asked if they could walk to church (we live just around the block). I said sure, only my youngest son wanting to stay with me, and as I turned from loading the cakes into the front seat of the car, I looked up the street to see three of the four walking. It was such a serendipitous moment. I couldn’t get my camera out in time to capture it, but as the sun shone brightly down upon their three heads, oldest boy slightly ahead of middle son and daughter, and I knew I would remember that moment for the rest of my life. Watching them walk, my daughter walk/skipping in her beautiful white dress with the veil fluttering behind her, I wished I could capture that moment in time and freeze it forever. There was this sense innocent anticipation and growing independence. The little girl, who just a few months ago at age 7 was still acting like a baby all.the.time. Now she’s 8 yrs old, and you can see the young woman she will soon become.
The moment blind-sided me. The underlying sadness I felt all day, became overwhelming as I realized that getting through the first anniversary of My Love’s death was not the end of the hard days. There are always going to be special days where his absence is going to be palpable. My girlie in her white dress and veil reminded me that he won’t be there to walk her down the aisle when she gets married. My boys as they grow to be men, will they become the kind of man their father was without him here guiding them and being a daily witness?
As Mass began and I saw my oldest alter serving, and looked down the pew at my other three so filled with joy for the day (middle brother was really excited and kept giving the other two tips on how to receive properly), I knew my husband was there with us. He just had to be. There was too much peace filling my heart. Even as I write this, tears streaming down my face, blurring the computer screen, I know he was filled with joy tonight. I don’t think the hurt will blind side me again. The next special day, I will be ready. Maybe I won’t cry, or maybe I will just embrace the tears and let them flow.
~ The Reluctant Widow