Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sians First Holy Communion

It was Sians First Holy Communion today.

It was a very special day for us as a family. She has been attending weekly classes to prepare for today over the last few months. She was very excited going to bed last night.

Before she went to sleep she opened up a beautiful gift from my sister Carrie in Ireland. It was a St Brigids cross pendant. St Brigids crosses are used in many households in Ireland to protect a house from fire. My Dads mother Granny Sheeran used to make St Brigids crosses and sell them. When my Dad was young, he used to have to help collect the rushes from which they were made and when I was a child I went to St Brigids school with my brother and sister. You can see now why she chose this type of cross as a gift for Sian.

We were missing my sister and Mum and Dad because they were originally planning to be visiting us here in Australia for this occasion but were unable to travel because of health problems. Hopefully they will be able to visit us soon.

I was awake early this morning. At 6am I was scrubbing the kitchen floors with nervous energy! Sian wandered out shortly afterwards and we sat down and had a chat while I was painting her nails (Don't worry, just clear nail varnish!) She asked me to tell the story of St Brigid (again) and by the end of the story Rhiannon and Gareth were cross legged on Sians bedroom floor too! It was still only 6.40am but Byron must have heard us so he wandered in with a cup of tea.

We managed to make it into the car by 8.30am all dressed and smart and without any shouting "HURRY UP!!!" We all relaxed a little when we got out of the car at the church. At least we were there in plenty of time for the ceremony.

Sian was allocated a long bench for her to sit with us as a family. We were very near the front and had a great view of the ceremony. Sian looked more excited than nervous and was so pleased to see all her friends arriving in their lovely dresses. She was chosen to be a part of the offertory procession and did really well walking up the aisle to the priest with everyone watching. It really was a lovely ceremony and she had a big hug with Byron just before she left our seat to receive for the first time. I had a lump in my throat as I watched her.

Joe and Rhonda were there with Cian and he slept soundly through the service so they were happy. Tenelle drove up from Sydney and managed to sneak into our seat just in time! Anne and Kel sat with us and gave moral support and hugs. We all missed and thought about our families that were so far away and couldn't join us. It was an emotional rollercoaster of pride, loneliness and happiness. After the ceremony we went outside and had tea and coffee and a huge cake to celebrate with all the other families.

We all went back to our house, turned on the air-con and had a really relaxing afternoon eating, drinking and eating some more! Sian opened up the lovely gifts that friends and family had given her and was so lucky to have received so many beautiful things to have as keepsakes. Thank you to everyone from Ireland, England and Wales who remembered her and went to the trouble of sending cards and gifts. They really will be treasured forever.

We put all the lovely cards on display in the living room side by side with all the old, yellowed, aged cards that I had received for my Communion 26 years ago! My Mum had found them during their house move earlier this year and had parceled them up and sent them for me to open when I was missing them. That was a real Kleenex moment!

The day ended like any other family celebration... Cars pulling away down our driveway, the sound of "Drive safe" calling through the still evening air, three tired sticky kids sleeping in their beds like little angels, long distance phone calls telling of the days excitement, a fridge packed with tons of left overs that will feed us for the next week and Byron and myself flopped on the sofa with a cup of tea congratulating ourselves on a busy weekend that will live on in our heads for many years to come.

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