Monday, May 22, 2006

It's not fair!

Some time ago, you may remember that I had a slight set to with no 2 about going to Holy Communion classes. Actually set to is putting it mildly. At the age of 7 she produced the biggest tantrum of her life and turned into spawn of the devil. In the end I persuaded her to carry on by bribing her with having a veil.

Now for those not familiar with the whole HC thing in the catholic church, what happens is that aged 7/8 children take communion for the first time, ie they eat the bread and drink the wine that represents Christ's body and blood, in memory of the Last Supper. It brings them in theory into communion with the rest of the church. Us Left Footers believe that the act of the Eucharist, when the priest actually says the words This is my Body etc turns the host into the Body whereas the protestant church preaches that is a representation of the event (ie we believe in transubstantiation, they believe in consubstantiation - and thereon hangs one of the reasons for the Reformation).

But I digress, you're not here for a theology lesson. Part of the big thing about it as far as little girls are concerned is they get to dress up for the day and wear a white dress and white veil. When I made my HC my ma eschewed this as missing the point - this is meant to be a spiritual and solemn occasion, she didn't want me worrying about my appearance. So I never got a veil. And last year when No1 did it, neither did she. My reasons were somewhat less religious, and more practical, namely I was too busy to organise it, so persuaded her to go for a white ribbon in her hair instead. Which was fine ... at the time.

Fast forward to this year, and my foolish bribe. As per usual I have been so busy I hadn't got round to sorting out the veil. Come the day before the HC I still hadn't... whoops. So we set off on our usual Sat morning mad scrabble of activities: tutorials, ballet, gym lessons etc and as no 3 and no4 now have a gap between their lessons I whisked them to Adams where I felt sure I had seen some veils some weeks earlier. There we encountered Spouse with no 2 (no1 still being at her class ) - who had had the same thought. Obviously we are in a phase of non-communication in our marriage...

Adams it turned out had neither veils nor pretty white shoes, the other required item, and Spouse had to dash off to pick up no1 and take no2 to gym. So I picked up the baton of the veil buying, and dashed over to Woolies, where I was hoping to find a bride's costume, but helas, to no avail... I did manage to pick up some shoes though, and some cheapo sandals for nos3&4. So that was a result. Going back to ballet for no4's lesson I met another HC mum who told me about a bridal shop in the next town, five minutes' drive away. Result.

No4 duly having finished ballet, we ran up the road to where no 2 does gym, met Spouse who was walking into town with no1, grabbed the car keys and dashed up the road. Bridal shop duly found, it transpired, that yes, they did have veils. Ok, I'll have one, I said. The choice was limited to two - both of which just looked like a bit of net curtain attached to a little white side comb. And they cost £22 - blimey I said, that's the most expensive bit of material I've ever bought, but needs must and all that. If I could sew at all I'd have done it myself, but really I know my limitations...

So veil duly bought, it was back to gym to pick up no2 then home for lunch, before taking no1 to her dance class, followed by her epic shopping trip.

At this point, no1 kicked up a fuss because no2 had a veil and she didn't get one. I didn't know you wanted one, I said. I only mentioned it a billion times, was the very cross response. To be fair she probably did. Oh I'm such a bad mother, I clearly wasn't listening.

When I went out shopping I was under strict instructions from no3 to get her a Mini Winnie - a miniature Winnie the Pooh in the mouth of a variety of different creatures, which are bizarrely all the rage at the moment. We've been looking for them for ages but managed to find some in the local cinema. In order to reduce tensions at home, I decided to buy no 4 one too - no 2 already has two so I didn't get her one. Then no 1, who only has one asked if she could spend her pocket money on one. I said yes. Big mistake....

I get home and all hell breaks loose. I didn't get a mini Winnie sobs no 2, it's not fair. (Life, as I frequently point out to her, isn't...). But you have two, I say. And no 1 has got one, she says. But you got a veil and I didn't, says no 1. Then nos 3 &4 chip in that it's not fair that they only have one each... In desperation to cheer a sobbing no 2 up I produce a pair of sandals I've brought that afternoon for her for her birthday, but that's no good either. No 3&4 have cottoned on that no 1 has lovely new clothes, no 2 is moaning that she has also got the Kelly Clarkson CD (bought with pocket money), But, I bought it to share with you, wailed no 1. And in a minute I am about to lose my rag and take everything everyone has back to the shops.

Luckily Dr Who is on and that proves a distraction...


By the day of the HC the fairnesses or otherwise of life seem to be forgotten, and we go to church to witness the great event. The older I get the more bizarre my religion seems to me. And I can't help escaping this feeling that communion is a weird form of cannibalism. The church is packed with people who clearly aren't regular churchgoers as they talk all the way through it (another reason my mother was so agin me having a big ceremony, I seem to remember) - even at the solemn moment when the children took their communion. There has been a reasonable amount of indoctrination in that all the children know all the right answers, but on the whole it passes off ok. And no one falls in the (rather deep) baptismal full size immersion font, which is a result.

We repair to a local hostelry to have a celebratory lunch. Two down two to go.

Mum, says, no1 as we leave, why didn't I get a veil on my Holy Communion. You know it's really not fair....

2 comments:

Lisa said...

Glad no one managed to fall or otherwise get pushed into the baptismal font. :)

Jane Henry said...

Ha! They nearly did the previous week!