Friday, May 17, 2013


I can confirm that the Three Musketeers have been confirmed.

This was a long process that took place over the past year and a half. It involved a class that met monthly at our church. There were several times that the priest had to separate the boys from one another during confirmation class. They function as a herd when together, and this is never a good thing.

I'll be honest. This was something they did for me. I made them go to confirmation class. I made them get confirmed. And I will make them be acolytes. The funny thing is that during confirmation class, the priest explained numerous times that confirmation was voluntarily - not a rite of passage. That the person must want to confirm their faith. That it differed from baptism when parents and godparents promised things on behalf of the child. Confirmation was not required. "For us it is," The Redhead said, not so much under his breath.

They didn't want to go. Every Sunday that they had class (and this was only once a month, folks) they complained and begged to skip it. And every Sunday I made them. And this is why: I consider it part of their education. I believe knowledge is power in this world and I want them to know about faith and God and have that in their arsenal as they navigate their lives. If they never feel the need to pray, if they never again enter a church as an adult, that is okay with me. But if something in life knocks them flat and they're having a hard time getting up and they can derive some small comfort from a prayer or verse or hymn that comes to them from their childhood when their mother used to make them go to church, then I have done what I set out to do.  

They just endured it, really. They learned things, to be sure, but they weren't excited about it.

As the confirmation date neared, and it was explained to them that a Bishop would be coming to actually perform the ceremony, they took a bit more notice. When I mailed out announcements of their upcoming confirmation, they paid even more attention. And when I asked them what they wanted to eat after the service when family came back to our house, they definitely had opinions.

I wanted to mark the occasion with something special. As you may have gathered, these boys aren't the types that might wear jewelry - certainly not anything of overt religious symbolism. And I'm on board with that. But I also believe that all important events in life can be marked by a visit to James Avery.

So Aquaman and I went to the store closest to us and had a look. There were pocket pieces and keychains that could be personalized. Some even had what I considered tasteful references to scripture. But then we saw this:

A sterling silver money clip. This, they would like. This, they would use. We had each one personalized with a boy's initials on the front and the date of their confirmation on the back. I filled them with money the night before and stacked them on the dining table.

We had a Honeybaked ham and I made potatoes au gratin - their favorite. I also boiled some shrimp and steamed some asparagus, which turned out delicious. We also had about four pans of Sister Schubert's Parker House style rolls, because they're one of the only things Thing 2 will eat. The night before, the boys helped make Rice Krispies dipper treats. And chocolate dipped strawberries. And chocolate dipped marshmallows on a stick. One can never have too many things dipped in chocolate and served on a stick.

Aquaman inspecting the potatoes au gratin.

The thing about the boys being confirmed that I didn't expect is that it would make me sad.

Tying ties for three boys and Aquaman made me miss my father. I am an expert at tying ties because of him. It magnified the absence of my mother. The Episcopal church she raised us in, pictures of my own baptism and confirmation, her recipes that are now part of my own traditions. I was fine until Aquaman told me that his mother had asked, "Will any of Kate's family be there?" and he again explained that we are in fact still not on speaking terms. Two years now.

So there was more confirmed than our three boys that day. It confirmed that I live without the family I was born into. Whether by death or disagreement, we live without one another. That I didn't even have a working number for one of my sisters, much less a mailing address. That I had to admit that I was too scared of being rejected or ridiculed to send them announcements anyway. That families don't always love each other no matter what. And that made me sad.

I wanted to tell everyone there - Aquaman's parents and stepparents, his brother and his wife and their three children - how grateful I was to them for just showing up. How much it means to just show up. But I didn't. Who needs that? I'm no Debbie Downer.  

Chin up, right? Quit being ridiculous.

We didn't get to take many pictures, but here are a few:

Three generations of boy.

The women balance things out, don't you think?

Yes. I'm telling them through clenched teeth that they have to take another picture.

Big Papaw's hand blocking the iPad camera. 

The priest asked me to sit behind them. So as to easily pinch the crap out of them if they got out of line. Which they did.

Thing 2. Removing his tie as quickly as possible.

Thing 1 actually ran from the scene.

We look sorta happy, right? Please disregard my double chin.