My daughter has decided to become a devout, practicing Catholic.
This might not seem odd to most of you, considering that most kids fall into the footsteps of their familial religious practices (whether those footsteps were barefoot a la Buddha or Birkenstock’d via Jesus … it doesn’t matter). However, even though I was raised Catholic and formally taught by Irish nuns (unfortunately, not for long enough as to inherit my older sister’s freakishly flawless handwriting), I am a bit of spiritual nomad. Let’s be honest: no one wants to talk about religion on the internet anymore. As I’m typing this, I’m literally pecking away with the hesitancy of my ACL’s during Christmas mass (Cliff Notes: there’s more rise and fall than Moses fractioning off some oceans). To be even more honest (it’s what Jesus would do?), I don’t fancy my girly, beautified, holistic little website as a place for deep, ecclesiastical debates. I do, however, think it’s a place to discuss parenting… and yes, my eldest daughter wants to become a Catholic.
“Who’s that?” she asked one morning in Starbucks, while we played five-minute hooky from school drop-off so Mommy could get her early morning soy latte (which, might I add, is perhaps more crucial to the good of mankind then scholastic pursuits or religion entirely. Obviously. It’s coffee). After briefly explaining who the robed man was, she was drawn like moth to flame (or flame to those really tall candles that make alter boys and girls pull out the “go go Gadgets” in order to ignite. There was no looking back.. although obviously, a lot of looking up. Since my eldest sister is a super commendable super Catholic (more prayers, less guilt) with which I admire, my daughter experienced mass for the first time in a long time. Her initial reaction? “Did you know church is open everyday! You can go there whenever you want!” To which I replied, “Yes, honey, it’s like Walmart.”
A lot of people might think that allowing my child to choose and connect with her own faith in her own way, is somewhat ludicrous. And as the wise man himself once said (Ludacris, that is): “I find myself eating different kinds of chicken each and every day… even if it’s by surprise.” So… well, clearly that’s saying something. Never-the-less, I have always believed that faith- the existence of or lack therein- is something innate…it’s something personal…and it’s something that should never be forced on others. Do I want to exemplify my own belief system, or morality, or doctrinal questions to my girls as they grow older? If they ask, I will answer (since I’m not a higher power, mystery doesn’t work for me anyways). But do I want them to be vegans, just because I watched Gordy one too many times as a kid and have more pork-guilt than my favorite Jew? Not so much.
If one of my munchkins walked up to me tomorrow and said, “I’m gay”… What would I do? Frankly, when faced with inner callings of faith or sexuality or anything else, none of us have the answers (and PS: boys smell bad and leave sweaty soccer clothes all over the house, so it’s not hard to find understanding). The fact of the matter is: I have zero control with what goes on inside my child’s heart, head and soul (and anyone who thinks otherwise, was never a child themselves). What I do have control over is how they learn to treat other people when no one is looking. How they chose their words when it feels like no one is listening. And how to love themselves and those around them, without needing synonymy to understand another’s plight in life.
So yes, when my independent, plucky 8 year old announced that she would become a practicing Christian, go to church every weekend of her own accord, and drink a little wine on the side (Catholic perks)… I did the only thing I know how: I tried not to think about free vino. After which, I hugged her, supported her decision, and hugged her again. After all, isn’t that parenting in a nutshell?
People change. Kids grow. Faith fluctuates. Time passes. Maybe our biggest problem is not that we don’t all see eye to eye…it’s that we forget the eyes we’re looking at. The eyes of a stranger, the eyes of a friend, the eyes of our child… What’s the difference?
Hopefully, I can support my girls in whoever they want to be throughout life moving forward, even if it’s not always something I understand.
Oh! And as along as we never talk politics.
Want to rant with me? Share any of these pics on Makeover Momma Pinterest page or just talk amongst yourselves.