As I’ve never outright stated in this blog because I didn’t want to alienate anyone…or alienate myself from other parents, I am Catholic, and have always been. For me and my family, this means that children receive sacraments at certain times in their life. One of those blessed occasions for Eddie (and his sister, CC) happened to be today.
Due to the ceremony and tradition involved, I didn’t know how Eddie would ever participate in these holy events; not due to blindness, but his uniqueness tied to Autism. Luckily, with the support of our parish, and especially our Priest, Eddie was encouraged to join CC and two of their peers. Anticipating the event made me very nervous, and the morning’s rough start didn’t help.
Easter morning is full of chaos. There are Easter baskets to explore, eggs to find, extra kids in the form of cousins, and extra adults that create extra noise. Eddie woke up with an unpredictable day ahead, and that upset him from the start. As he walked to church, and into the building, his disapproval of Easter Sunday was visible and audible. I quickly redirected him into the nearest room…which happened to be a supply closet.
Once in the closet, we took some deep breaths, sang a calming song, and I had a very literal “Come to Jesus” talk with Eddie. We headed back towards our seat, and were able to jump into his spot in the procession just in time. With the help of snack bags, and some Skittles, Eddie did a pretty good job keeping it together. His little sister was much more noncompliant as she continually left her seat, refused to listen to any adults, and was spreading dirty Kleenex all over the pew.
When it was time to stand up in front of the church, they both were ready. They were presented with a Saint’s name, and Eddie repeated his by loudly yelling: “Saint Juan Diego! Good Job! Woo hoo!” Our priest laid his hands on Eddie as seen in this photo and his whole body stilled. After which, he broke into a charming rendition of “She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain” and I have no idea why.
Later during mass, Eddie received his First Communion. He said his proper “Amens” and after finishing he loudly proclaimed, “Alright!” and another “Woo hoo!” He then turned to me and said, “More Body of Christ?” “OK!” A parishioner immediately stated that we should all receive communion with such enthusiasm…and I think he’s right.
Today was awesome. I was so proud of Eddie and the amount of joy he brought to everyone in that church…including lots of extended family we were thankful to have alongside us. For once I wished his behavior would’ve rubbed off on his little sister…as SHE made me question if God never really gives us more than we can handle.