God Bless Erica!

I’ve become such an erratic, occasional blogger.  But just when I think I’ll delete my blog and be done with it, I feel so filled with words I want to share that I’m about to burst.  And so here I am.  Today’s prompt occurred because of my middle daughter Erica, who made her first Holy Communion yesterday.  There’s so much I want to say about it that I hardly know where to begin.

I felt filled with sadness as the day approached, knowing that despite my best efforts, there was going to be nothing I could do to give her a day like Samantha’s was last year.  There would be no cake pop cake meticulously fashioned by my sister and best friend Kiki.  There would be no house full of family and friends.  I wouldn’t have two dozen children running around in the back garden and laughing and playing with one another.  There wouldn’t be three generations, second and third cousins, classroom friends and neighbors.  There wouldn’t be a pile of cards and presents. 

I was so focused on what I couldn’t make the day.  I couldn’t give those things to her.  And I was devastated when she expressed those words out loud herself on the way to her retreat the day before the big day, saying, “I wish Aunt Kiki could be here for my first communion,” and turning her face to the window, teary-eyed. 

I cried to every friend I ran into for the next hour. 

So yesterday I was prepared to feel sad.  And I did…but I didn’t grieve the day I couldn’t give her like I thought I would.  Instead, I felt sad because I missed our family and friends back home.  But I didn’t have time to dwell on that.  Erica woke us up at 6, excited to go open the cards and presents we’d set out downstairs (many hadn’t arrived yet, and I’d done some extra shopping the night before).  She was giddy–it was like Christmas.  She opened a few books and a bracelet and her first watch, along with several cards and some spending money.  Then we were dressed and out the door in a flash.  Look how beautiful she was..


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And our church…I cannot say enough how special they made that day for Erica and our entire family.  Perhaps because we’re all in this together, perhaps because some of the parishioners who have been here for years and seen families come and go know just how hard it can be to celebrate these special moments without grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Or maybe it’s just because we’ve found a truly phenomenal church family. They were so organized and giving, and coordinated a brunch afterwards to celebrate the first communicants.  It was truly amazing.

Not only that, but we did have family who sent gifts, videos, tried to call (though we didn’t catch them all!), and even new friends here in England who made time to share in this special day with us.  We can’t thank them, and all of you, enough for that. 

I didn’t have time to dwell on all the things I couldn’t give Erica on her special day.  Instead, there was so much that we were able to give her, with the help of friends and our parish. 

I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to give her this experience.  It might not have been the same as Samantha’s.  But it was still filled with love and with many, many blessings. 


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