Last night was the last confirmation class for Max. He'll be confirmed on September 16th. It was with mixed emotions that I made the cookies for the celebration. Another milestone reached.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not an "organized" religion girl. I am a bit of a skeptic about the idea to be truthful. I wasn't raised in a church and I have very little knowledge of the bible which has embarrassed me on occasion but I don't fault my parents. They both had different views of religion and my Dad who wasn't adament about much, was adament that you make your own decision in regard to religion. Instead of church, I was raised with basic knowledge, a strong sense of self and a strong spiritual sense which honestly, has served me well.
But when Max was 5 years old, he asked a question about God and both his Dad and I gave a different answer. I thought it should have been a simple answer but it wasn't so I decided that my children would go to Sunday school and learn the information and they could answer their own questions.
I sought advice, I researched, I asked around. I found Mount Olivet and it seemed to have everything I was looking for. It was also a Lutheran church so that followed his Dad's family. Mount Olivet was very patient with me, as I was very clear that "I" didn't want to be a member, "I" never intended on coming to church. They allowed me to register my children and welcomed us with open arms.
I remember the first day of Sunday school vividly. It was Rally Sunday at church which means that if you are a card carrying member (which they have several thousand) you come to church.
If you are a girl who signed your kids up for Sunday school, you follow the flock. Everyone in their Sunday best, chatting and waving to each other, Police Officers directing traffic, parking lot attendants with flags, pastors everywhere shaking hands. I had been to the church on a random Tuesday to register them, I wasn't prepared for this! I was a deer in headlights!
I had a card with a room number. A room number that meant nothing to me and little did I know that there were 25 different rooms teaching Sunday school ... on 2 different floors ... every hour! I appeared to be the only idiot who didn't know where to go!! I seriously felt like puking.
I finally found the room (actually 2 rooms because Claire started too), asked when I should come back and the nice older gentleman said, "after the service" and I said, "sorry, not going to the service. So, do you have an approximate time"? He crinkled his forehead, smiled and told me to be back in 40-45 minutes.
For several years, that's what I did. Dropped them, grabbed a bagel down the street and picked them up 45 minutes later. I did my share of volunteering when they needed it and attended the services that were "required" but for the most part, I dropped and picked up.
Two years ago confirmation began. That is a story in itself and I'll share that embarrassment on another occasion.
Max enjoyed confirmation. He enjoyed his friends, his teachers and learning about God. He has embraced this part of his life and I truly believe it will be something he carries in his heart forever and for that, I am grateful. Grateful that he has something stronger than himself to lean on and believe in. But at the same time, I feel sad. I feel sad because a part of his life that he enjoys is ending and he will have to seek out his own path because he isn't a child being led any longer.
I look at my kids during lots of things and say, "I remember when they started, they were so little". But this memory is so much more vivid for some reason. I wonder if it is because it was brand new for both of us? Whatever the reason, I just know that he was 6 years old.
But reality hit me when I looked over to the kid climbing into the car for the last Wednesday class and this is the face that looks back at me.