So I left off hinting that we had a slightly chaotic Easter weekend. It wasn't bad, really, just too much going on and not enough time to squeeze it all in. But somehow we did. The only day that was truly a challenge was....
My friend Mary and I filled I don't wanna know how many dozens of plastic Easter eggs with I don't want to know how many pounds of sugar. Yes, the sugar was in the form of cute Easter candy like egg bubble gum and pastel-wrapped Reese's peanut butter cups and little foil wrapped chocolate bunnies and all, but honestly it would have been more to the point to just dip each plastic egg into a giant vat of granulated sugar. Certainly would have been cheaper.
Started some of the food prep work for Easter dinner, like slicing strawberries, baking the cake, etc.
Sent about 7 or 8 of the kids outside to play while Mary and I got the stuff ready to dye the 5 dozen eggs I had boiled the day before.
As we were nearing readiness for the troops, in they started running, all yelling,
"James got hit in the eye with the softball!!!!"
Sure enough, in walked James, caboose of the Mayhem Train, bleeding from his eye. Well, not his eye, but right at his eyebrow. And it was bleeding pretty good, too. We guided him to the kitchen sink so he could bleed into that while about 25 hands started thrusting papertowels and ice towards us. And between James' best friend, Mary and myself all standing directly in front of James and each vying for the position of chief cook and bottle-washer, things were getting a bit crowded. And just plain nuts.
Finally someone got Fred who surveyed the damage and decided it would need stitches or glue. He had some old Dermabond (which is basically Crazy Glue for skin) but it was old and crystallized. It would not do. We found some Crazy Glue knock-off and he was thinking about using that but then heard where he could get his hands on some of the Real Thing and off he jetted to pick it up.
So we bandaged an ice pack to James' forehead and went ahead with the egg-dying. Sorry, but the day's schedule left no wiggle room. Head injuries be damned, the eggs would get dyed.
And dye them we did. Followed by Fred getting back in time to glue James' eyebrow back together just before dinner.
As you can see from the picture, there are more hands involved than there needs to be. I'm counting at least four.
But, bottom line is, James' eye got fixed, the eggs got dyed, dinner got eaten. So far we were on track.
Next up was the service for James and Julie's initiation into the church. They had been going to CCD for awhile, coupled with much whining and complaining, but their education on matters of the church was deemed complete. They were to receive the sacraments of baptism, communion and confirmation during the Easter vigil mass on Holy Saturday. I had been assured that the vigil mass was absolutely beautiful, though a bit long. I was told to expect an hour and a half for the mass. Maybe two.
Since I rarely possess the courage to get my brood through even a one hour mass, that was cause for some angst on my part. But I swallowed the lump in my throat and agreed. What choice did I have, after all?
So after dinner we presented James and Julie with their gifts of some rosaries and mass books and statuettes and the whole crew got dressed up in their church clothes, which took me all day to round up and wash and (wink) iron.
The kids looked beautiful. Even James with his swollen and glued eye. My angels. And off to church went Fred and I, plus James and Julie, with the rest of the crew to follow later (rest of the crew meaning 3 of our guests, the rest of my kids and Veronica).
Poor kids were both pretty nervous. James hid it well but Julie kept going over and over how to hold her hands for communion
(left over right) Like this, right?
(right over left) No,no, like this! Right?
(left over right again) Aaah! Like this!
And trying to remember her responses
Me (playing priest): Body of Christ
Julie: And also with you. No! I do. NO! Amen.....Right?
Finally, at 8:30, the sun had set and it was time to begin. The priests and the deacons and the entire congregation filed outside to the bonfire. Candles were lit, ancient words were chanted by the men in white robes.
Fred said if only we had a few goat entrails we'd have ourselves a nice Druid ceremony.
Back inside the dark church we filed again, this time with our candles providing the light.
Because I needed to worry about my boys and fire.
But the CCD teacher was right, it was beautiful. The priest sang the entire opening of the mass a capella. Sang for a good 10 minutes. Like Gregorian chants.
OK, we need to move along here, people.
And move along they finally did. At a snail's pace. If said snail were oozing its way through a chalice of Holy molasses.
A typical mass will have two readings, generally each followed by a responsorial hymn, with the homily bringing up the rear.
This was no typical mass. There were 9, nine, NINE readings, each followed by a responsorial hymn.
And myself being a cafeteria-style Catholic, I'm more of a New Testament kinda gal. This was mostly Old Testament fire and brimstone stuff. Abraham binding his son and raising the knife till God cried "Psyche!". The parting of the Red Sea and the consequential drowning of the Egyptians. And we were singing about it!
The Egyptians sank like a stone, to the bottom of the seeeeeeaaaaa....
The water crushed all the chariots and charioteers and horses, till they washed up upon the shooooooore.....
We worship you because we fear you, and you cloak yourself in gloooooo-ryyyyyyyy...
I fought the strong urge to cover the ears of my children.
But at long last it was time for my children to be baptized and confirmed. We marched over to the font and I was waiting for the whole "Do you reject Satan and all his works?" line of questioning. Instead we got more singing. This time to all the saints in heaven.
Literally, ALL the saints in heaven.
Pray for usssss
Pray for ussssss
Pray for usssssss
Fred swears about 5 minutes into it he heard us ask a St Billy Bob to pray for us. He says there's no such saint but I just pray what I've been told.
But finally they reached the end of the line of saints and we proceeded with the ceremony. The kids made all the correct responses and they had water poured over their heads and Chrism oil applied to their foreheads and they donned their white robes and voila, they were Catholic.
Not many minutes later they went up for communion and Julie got her hands a little mixed up but the priest was kind with his correction.
Then, miraculously, at 11pm, it was over. Not an hour and a half. Not two hours. TWO AND A HALF HOURS! For James, Julie, Fred and myself, it was three hours as we had to arrive early.
I mean honestly, couldn't the nice priest just have waved his magic wand and said a few things in Latin and made the sign of the cross to all corners of the earth or something equally holy and mysterious? Three hours we were there.
But to remain positive,
no one strangled any of their siblings
my boys did not set the church on fire
bottom line, James and Julie have completed all their sacraments in one fell swoop (though at three hours, perhaps not so fell)
Well, all sacraments except reconciliation.
Tune in next week for that one.....