This Week’s Hard Thing

Flora is receiving her First Holy Communion this year.

Dan and I attended a meeting regarding Reconciliation (the sacrament that comes before Holy Communion). Glancing over the page of dates, I felt a little drop seeing Saturday April 27 as the day of her event.

We usually go to Cook Forest the last weekend in April, and we had been scheduled to do it this year, too.

And now we’re not going to. I’m a little sad. My Twitter friend @SecretAgentL tweeted: “Remember, Jesus trumps vacation. :-)”


I’ve been going to Cook Forest on and off since my mid-20s, with college-era friends. The last time I didn’t go, Kate was a newborn. Dan stayed home with M when he was a newborn, and I went up with the girls.

Ah, well, as my friend Jen says (not on Twitter, on the phone), “The great thing about Cook Forest is there’s always next year!”

I know it’s also a bummer for Jen, who is Flora’s godmother. But we can arrange for her to do something special to acknowledge the rite of passage at a different time. (Jen is the reason that Cook Forest happens at all; she cannot bail!) Dan and I haven’t told the kids yet. Michael doesn’t know what’s going on yet, anyway (last year was his first trip to CF); Flora will probably be sad but copacetic; Kate’s probably going to hate it. Maybe we won’t say anything until they ask.

What do you do when two big things in your life conflict?

12 thoughts on “This Week’s Hard Thing

  1. When *don’t* two big things conflict? Ask me how many times my birthday has fallen on Ash Wednesday. Three. (And only once on Mardi Gras, what’s up with that.) Not the most festive mood for a party. We were thinking of doing CF this year, too, but my pet peeve is always trying to nail down other folks on dates in order to avoid these kinds of conflicts, and that remains my challenge.

    • And that is exactly the issue, isn’t it? Trying to balance my social nature (ha!) with my introverted nature is always challenging, and then you throw the kids’ commitments and parties into the mix and it’s just crazy. Even this upcoming weekend, which I had declared “super secret probation weekend” (meaning no social commitments for us), Kate has a bday party, the girls got invited to a sleep over, and Dan and I were just invited to dinner at someone’s house. It’s too much! I need downtime.

  2. Ava will be missing her communion retreat in order to go to Cook’s Forest. Her communion is the next weekend. I’m hoping she won’t be barred because of it.
    I wonder if you’ve been having the same issues with Reconciliation as me? What does a 7 year old have to confess about? While I understand the premise to do it before Communion, I ‘m beginning to wonder if all this is too heavy? It was expected of us, and I never thought about anything otherwise but now that it’s my little angel…

    • AHA! I *am* having some of those issues, Lisa. I am actually going to write more about it tomorrow (as well as some of my own feelings about being an adult Catholic). Stay tuned!

      • Ok, so I was going to bring this up, too.

        I know the reasons why Reconciliation is supposed to come first but my Catholic school did it backwards. We did First Communion in second grade; Reconciliation in fourth. Even then I was making things up to confess. “Umm… I fight with my sister.” I was too much of a goody two-shoes to have anything real to say.

  3. Glad to hear someone else did it this way too! My husband thinks I made it up I think! I did the same, communion in second and confession in fourth. It makes more sense to me.

    • Huh. That makes sense to me, too! (as does receving Confirmation later.) We did it the more common way, reconciliation then communion, both in second grade. I do remember that much.

      • Oh yeah, we didn’t confirmation until 8th grade – which makes total sense to me. It’s supposed to be the person confirming their parents choice (made during Baptism) to be Catholic. You really can’t make that decision much before 13. Despite the fact that I’m no longer Catholic, I remember Confirmation being a Very Big Deal for me personally.

  4. Regarding what do kids have to confess. Well, first of all, plenty, depending on the kid. I imagine my husband at 7yo having long list. But more importantly, it ain’t confession no more,. It’s reconciliation. Confession, when and if appropriate, is supposed to be a smaller part of that. What kids can work on is establishing a relationship with their priest as another way of talking to God. I found this at American Catholic…”And, as a sacrament of healing, Reconciliation addresses the disease (sinfulness) rather than the symptoms (sins). So, the sacrament calls us to more than prepared speeches or lists of sins. We are challenged to search deep into our heart of hearts to discover the struggles, value conflicts and ambiguities (the disease) which cause the sinful acts (the symptoms) to appear.” Sounds close to counseling in a way. What’s on your mind, what’s troubling you, what questions do you have. An emphasis on learning how to think in spiritual terms and to use a spiritual vocabulary, all in preparation for communion. Under the best of circumstances, I think that could all be very healthy and non-threatening if handled the right way by the right priest. I suppose that ‘s the tricky part. Ideally you’d want someone who’s part Maria von Trapp, part Mister Rogers. Basically, you’re looking for Julie Andrews in a sweater. But more more masculine. Slightly.

    • That’s actually very close to what our priest and our deacon said about reconciliation. That is wasn’t supposed to be a laundry list of what you did wrong (I missed mass 4 times, I swore 3 times, etc. etc.), but an examination of WHY.

      Also, you may have described our priest to a T.

      • Thanks for the clarification Erin. It gives me more to work with. Our priest Is NOT the one you describe and I admit I have never been as informed as I should be.

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