Tess turned eight last week.
The day before was filled with extreme emotions because doggone it! growing up is so very hard.
She’s been stretching, this girl of ours. Physically, yes, as her ever-present ankles can attest, but interiorly, too. It began sometime in Lent as we began to prepare for her first Confession. More than the boys had been, she was concerned and nervous and worried about getting it right. Someday, I hope she will see how the Lord took such very good care of her because Fr. Christensen with all of his joy and bon vivre announcing with certainty that right then, right there in Cathedral after First Friday Mass, they should go to the confessional and ‘take care of it’ was perfect. No time to fret or worry, just dive right in. Lordy, did that stretch us all!
After that hurdle, it was straight to what she would wear for her first communion and many sleepless nights (for both of us) wondering if the dress would get made. The sewing machine and fabric was packed up for our trip to California and while she rested and swam and played and partied, I dove into the dress making process. Thankfully, Mama Syd tamed the zipper and we arrived home with just days to spare and the dress was mostly made. And it even fit our growing girl!
She was overwhelmed with excitement and nerves the afternoon leading up to the Mass. She was quiet and fidgety, turning pale as the time drew near. “I’m just so excited!” she whispered to me with the tiniest of smiles. “I can’t believe I’m going to receive Jesus and I want to do it right!” TFr. Hofer presided at a gloriously beautiful Mass
The brand new Fr. Hofer presided at a gloriously beautiful Mass. He preached (and sang!) a lovely homily about his own first communion in this same church. He spoke with surety, love, and zeal while our girl looked small at the end of the pew. But at the appointed time, she went up with courage and grace and received the gift of Our Lord. “I didn’t mess up!” she whispered again while she beamed. Her relief was palpable.
This girl of ours is an extrovert through and through and measures love by the number of faces she sees. It being the week of the ordinations and Fr. Hofer’s first Mass at Cathedral, we were sure that many of those we love best would be otherwise occupied with one of the many receptions. When it began to storm as she dressed and we prepared, Tess turned white and we prayed hard for the South Dakota hardiness to prevail. Please, oh please, Lord, let someone show up! He is always faithful and again provided in abundance. The Wittes came over and prepped the food for us. Upon our return home, we were greeted at the door by a Sister and found the living room filled with others. Rachel showed up later with Sister Refuge of Sinners and the lot of them laughed and visited and lit up the place in general. Her godfamily came all the way from Brookings and doted on her the way only they know how. Friends came in and all the food was eaten and there was enough noise and chaos to make Tess happy for weeks.
We pray hard for this girl. For her to know her beauty and for us to embrace her enthusiasm. We pray for moderation, too, and for continued boundless love for our Lord. He loves her so! May we love her as intensely as her growing body needs. We are so very glad she’s ours.