Time flies. Let’s jump right in.
The Kaiser started his first year of Catholic school in early fall. Thus far, it’s been (mostly) sunshine and pretty, pretty roses. Of course, the homework overfloweth, the work rampeth upward, and the push for mommy-centric volunteerism is high. I’m good with those things.
For All Saints Day (uh, happy All Saints Day), Father Smith sprinkled the classrooms with holy water. Now I don’t really understand this, because A) it sounds messy and B) it sounds stupid, but that’s what they do. Cole tells me this with some glee. “And he came in and [exuberant hand motion] sprinkled us with holy water.”
Whatever. But a droplet of holy water found its way to Cole’s cheek. He darted his tongue out. Licked it away.
And as he tells me his tale, we eat and I smile and nod, nary making a single solitary sarcastic comment. And then, he dropped the bomb.
“Mom, after I ate the holy water, I suddenly remembered all of Hail Mary.”
“Huh?” I pause, fork to mouth.
“Before I licked the holy water, I couldn’t remember the prayer. After I licked it, I remembered it. I knew it all.”
He is convinced a miracle occurred. And who am I to squash his belief? But I don’t really have a good response for that, so I mumble and nod and smile and stuff spaghetti into my mouth. He reaffirms his thinking aloud, retelling the story, and his eyes implore me to make a comment on what is surely the hand of GOD HIMSELF at work in the world. And I do. I tell him that that’s really great and cool and that I’m so happy that he’s learned Hail Mary (he hasn’t–still says, “Blessed is thou among women and blessed is thafudodawubJesus”).
It’s a brave new world for us. I’m not big on organized religion. I’m not big on dogma and legalism. I’m not big on (any of that) Old Testament drivel. But Cole is, and I have to balance my desire for him to take it all with a grain of salt with what clearly brings him joy. He’s thrilled about God. He loves to talk about the sublime and abstractions–the very bigness of it all. And he’s a little fundamental in his belief, as I imagine most six-year olds are. He believes in the Flood. He believes that God is very clearly male. He believes that Adam and Eve were part of a perfect creation story. He wonders why God makes hurricanes. He knows that bad people go to hell.
It’s hard for me. It’s hard to give him other information without confusing the hell out of him. It’s hard to hear beliefs I don’t share. But we made the decision to put him in a Catholic school. Now I’m making the decision to leave his faith to him, and do my best not to bruise his mustard seed.