Coming Of Age

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It was a great weekend. A milestone weekend.
Months of preparation for Youngest and his classmates, months of preparation for all of the parents and lots of work.

Friday night was the first portion of the festivities.
22 families met in the Children's Chapel for a ceremony wherein parents speak to their children.

children's chapel

Family after family stood together, lit a candle and spoke for a few minutes.
Some parents talked about what blessings their children are.
Some recalled stories from early parenting.
Everyone spoke about how proud they were.

I had a last minute idea and taped my speech to a ten foot long sheet of white butcher paper.
K and I stood with Youngest, he lit a candle

lighting a candle

and we moved to the podium.
I let go of the roll of paper and it spilled down to the floor...so we got a good laugh.

my speech
(my speech, after)

K and I talked about what Youngest has taught us and how different he is (in a good way) and how proud we are.
We had a nice hug when we were done.

hug

And we got a huge round of applause. (It was a great speech, but Youngest is a class favorite.)

Then it was time to walk across the immense lawn to the party. (Our church is on the grounds of an old estate.) Everyone was feeling so relieved to have gotten through their speeches and the kids were anxious to have fun. We walked past the orchard and down a long sloping hill, past the pond and then up some stone steps and into the house.
Groups of volunteers had : decorated several large rooms, and the terrace,

tables

made gifts for the kids, arranged for delicious catered food, hired a dj - I could go on and on.
The kids were able to invite friends from outside the church community and there were about 140 people at the party. It took a little while for the group to warm up and start dancing but it turned out to be one heck of a bash.

the terrace

Youngest danced long and hard and had a great time.
The food was really good! (I was surprised!)

Middle and a couple of his church friends provided adorable and strict security (guests were not allowed to "wander" through the house or run down to the pond or scoot over to the parking lot). K and I were the "security committee" and we had couples posted at three locations for 15 minute shifts to secure certain areas for the whole party.

It was a wonderful night - the kind of night when you remember that your chosen community is interesting and funny and loving. The parents we worked with and celebrated with have become dear to us over the years and it was so nice to spend time with them on Friday and watch our kids celebrate the end of a long year.

We got home after 11 - that's late for us...

In the morning I dropped Youngest off at church for a LONG rehearsal for the Sunday service and went home to cleancleanclean and cookcookcook for the small party we were having.
I got all the ingredients ready for a grilled chicken Cobb salad and some orzo with feta cheese and olives.
I also arranged for a special surprise for Youngest - something he's asked for for months and months...

pineapple

he's always wanted a fruit bouquet. The kale freaked him out a little but he was happy. And he's eaten a LOT of fruit.

We cleaned and tidied and made pretty all day long, had BLT's for dinner and went to bed early.

Sunday started early - everyone up and dressed up for the COA service at church.
Youngest's godparents and grandmothers joined us to hear him read his Credo. We sat through 21 other kids reading their Credos too-

Church

...and there was some singing, and some music.

band

Youngest played a wonderful trumpet solo and his Credo was truly amazing.
He's an "existentialist" and proud of it.

It was long and wonderful and moving, and, at the very end, when we sang the We Know Your Name song I had a good little cry.
Youngest looked tall and handsome and confident and I thought a lot about how much he's grown up this year.
I was very happy to find him after the service and hug him for a long time.

Everyone came back to our house and we sat in the backyard and had lunch and cake and chatted and laughed. And ate. Did I mention the eating? I'm still full.
It was a crazy busy wonderful weekend full of emotion and pride.

And here I am - Monday morning...with a very clean house and lots of leftovers.

Thank you for all your warm wishes. It's nice to have you around us on special occasions.

Comments

Dani said…
What a beautiful experience it must have been for the family. Thanks for sharing.

Congratulations, Youngest!
alice c said…
A weekend of wonderful memories to treasure for a lifetime. I am so glad for you all that it went well.

Congratulations to Youngest on this very special occasion
Ali said…
That does sound like a wonderfully special occasion.

I love the phrase 'Coming of Age' - so many possibilities. Congratulations!
Carol said…
Congratulations to Youngest - what an amazing young man.

Your church and grounds sound beautiful.
amy t sharp said…
congrats and what a lovely weekend fo r you and yr family!!!!
jenontheedge said…
It sounds like a lovely weekend and I'm glad it all went off without a hitch. Congratulations to you all!
Just Plain Jane said…
Sigh......What a memory making weekend. You told it so well that I sat here, filled with what could only be a modicum of the pride you and K felt, but enough that water came to my eyes as I felt the sense of community and the importance of the occasion. Hug those memories close and they'll last you a lifetime. Thank you for allowing us to take part.
Anonymous said…
I hate to be so far. These are the times when I most hate it.
Can you hug your young man for me tight?
Now you have a house full of men.
paola
RW said…
Thanks for allowing us to share this weekend with you.
Saoirse said…
Just lovely!
jordiw said…
Thank you for sharing this, I know the "lead up" was stressful, but it was worth every special effort you made. Youngest must be very proud of his parents too!

Isn't is amazing in this age that people you don't really "know" but DO know can share an experience like this one without coming over to your house and watching your slide show or leafing through your albums? Would we have thought this would happen even 5 years ago? Sigh, what a delight.
MsCellania said…
This was very special to share with us! You must be crazy full of love for all your men.

And -- please tell me that fellow with the cookie duster on his upper lip sampling the fruit tree is Middle - not youngest?!!!!

ps. You must be exhausted.
kmkat said…
Whoever came up with the whole coming-of-age ceremony deserves a prize. Maybe a Nobel. What a wonderful experience for all involved. I feel your love and pride for Youngest and by extension your whole family. Thank you for sharing it with us.
eurolush said…
Sounds like a great weekend. And now you have a clean house to enjoy.

PS- That fruit bouquet was the shit.
Fannie Mae said…
It sounds just wonderful. A proud weekend for your family!
KathyR said…
This post made me all sniffly.
MontanaJen said…
My heart squeezed a bit reading that, as this time of year is all about events like this. Made me remember my confirmation (treating in our Lutheran church much the same way, it sounds), how it was my mother's goal to raise her children in the church and to have them all confirmed, and when each of us were, it was one step closer for her.

And she was so proud, too.

congratulations to you, K, and youngest.

On to the next!
Geggie said…
A perfect weekend.
tut-tut said…
A good UU experience is often the best kind. We tried, but I can't give up all the Anglo-Catholic visual aides . . .
Amy A. said…
So special, and memorable, and loving and honoring. I love it. I love the credo idea. Awesome.
StLmom said…
Congratulations to Youngest and to you and K., too. What a special ceremony that is. You did a good job with the fruit bouquet, too. What a great bunch of kids you have. What cool parents you are.
Wendy said…
I love hearing all the credos. It makes me so grateful for all the church members who have spent time with the kids over the years helping them figure out what they believe. I realized that next year, kids I taught when they were in the preschool class will start the preparations for their own cermonies
jenny said…
What a weekend. Seeing how much your Youngest has grown in the past few years gives me a nice preview of what I have in store, if I'm lucky.

Not a fan of the raw kale, either.
Robin said…
Wonderful post. Congratulations to youngest.
Melissa said…
Congratulations again! It looks like a beautiful day in so many ways--the setting,the people, the words, the memories. I'm so glad for you to enjoy every last bit of it and then turn around and share it with us:)
Lauri said…
Congrats to youngest - what a great post - thanks for sharing it. I'm envious of the leftovers and the very clean house, neither of which I have at the moment, and that fruit bouquet looks divine...yum
Eleanor said…
May Youngest go from strength to strength!
countrymouse said…
Looks like it was a lovely party and what a special weekend!
Anonymous said…
Congratulations to Youngest!

I am honoured to bear witness, even from afar.

ErinH
Heather said…
what a lovely weekend.
Miz S said…
Basking in the done-ness! Enjoy a quiet week, bb.
Anonymous said…
I know you are not documenting your life for your commenters, but gee, it's so nice of you to allow us into your family's lives and times. It does make those of us who don't know you feel as if we sort of do. Thank you for sharing. Congratulations again to Youngest. And now I have to google Existentialism...

jbhat
Stephanie said…
This is just amazing. What a wonderful process for all of you to go through together. Congratulations.
Alice said…
So proud, for all of you!
catsteevens said…
I'm wiping away tears. Is that silly? It was just so moving. And beautiful, just beautiful. Congrats!