These are letters to Jack, my son, and my daughter, Audrey. You have given me the gift of motherhood. This is just a little gift back. I want to share my experiences with you of your childhood from my perspective of watching you grow - of being your Mom.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Castle of Chee-zus


Today was an amazing day.

We went to the dog parade after an early nap. We had to fit in the nap before going because I knew what a nightmare the event would be if we tried to go without. For this reason, we weren't able to get there early enough to be in it, but we were able to watch some of the dog parade from the sidelines, caught a couple of Mardi Gras necklaces for you to wear and petted a dog while checking out the others that were dressed up, milling about sniffing each others rear ends, rearing up excitedly at each other and then the occassional overly aggressive dog that would go into an all out frenzy while everyone backed up and swore under their breath hoping that the clueless owner would be able to keep a hold on their animal. Kind of like the idea of a baby getting it's hands on a weapon and wielding it about totally oblivious to the dangers that they are subjecting themselves and everyone around them to.

So - that was MY tangent for the day.

Back to the story at hand. After the parade, we were walking back and passed a small church that was closed up (on a Sunday). You wanted to go inside saying "I go see castle!"

I thought about it and decided that you would LOVE to see a castle like the Old Cathedral. I wanted to blow your mind so we headed that direction and it was both open AND empty.
Okay, get ready for a Patting-Myself-On-The-Back session for this FANTASTIC TERRIFIC GENIUS idea.You were fascinated by this amazingly big and beautiful castle.The sheer size of it and it's magnitude seemed to make the "rules" of the castle that much more important to you. Therefore, we received many reminders to be quiet while we were in this castle. Because you can't be loud in the castle. Or you will go to hell.You literally walked up and down the aisles looking at everything.The pictures on the wall, the confessionals, the prayer candles, the statues.
There were people in the pews worshipping but no one seemed bothered. We got a few smiles that you were getting such obvious enjoyment at seeing this beautiful place.Also, your constant reminders to everyone that it was important to be quiet drove it all home.Shhhhhhhhhh!You were riveted when we got to the altar by Jesus on the crucifix and the baby in the arms of Joseph and Mary. Daddy explained that this was Jesus.You've always been a smart kid, but this stuck into your brain like it had been indelibly imprinted the minute the information was provided because it was THAT IMPORTANT."Chee-zus" you repeated quietly to see what it sounded like.You had me come up on the altar with you so you could show me Chee-zus.I almost expected you to tell me that he died for my sins. Won't I follow him?Sorry - I'm definitely not trying to be irreverant here. I was raised Catholic, but my viewpoints and the Church's don't mesh well. I developed and asked questions. It was my experience that those questions weren't appreciated. It didn't seem to be viewed as healthy for me to express doubt and I need to be able to do this. But, that's not everyone's experience and I respect that. Almost all your Aunts and Uncles have strong faith in Catholicism and embrace it. I just wanted to make that point here so I can minimize offense, because my humor here is in the fact that your responses were delivered with such a wise little expression as you shared what you had learned about this Chee-zus with me.

Education, as I see it, shouldn't be weighted towards one's own beliefs if you want someone to develop their own opinions. I won't be afraid of you learning about this faith. I hope to have open discussions with you as you grow that will have a lot of honesty in them and that you arrive at your own conclusions.It isn't always the easiest thing for me to remember - to teach you about everything, even those things that I may not believe in - because when you turned to me on the altar for the first time and indicated that this was Chee-zus, a part of me worried while another part of me wondered at your spongy little mind. I have to remind myself that growing up doesn't mean that you become an exact replica of me. Truth be told, I wouldn't want that. There are so many things that I see about myself that are lacking. Nobody's perfect and I have no allusions that you will be, but I don't want to be the reason that you don't have a full perspective of in order to arrive at your own decisions.

In the meantime, we'll keep adding to your experiences and knowledge and each time we learn one more thing, your world becomes a little bigger.

In the near future, though, while other children are asking to go to the park or the zoo, you will be asking to go to the Castle of Chee-zus. And that is fine. :)



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