This weekend Victoria experienced the Sacrament of First Communion while I experienced a complete meltdown. I have learned much this year, not the least of which is that I cannot be teacher and parent at the same time for the same purpose. I opted this year to help in teaching the First Communion class mostly because Victoria experienced separation anxiety all last year, and well, it just seemed like it’d be easier on everyone if I was present in her class. And they needed teachers, so the planets seemed to align and beckon my participation. With the benefit of hindsight, I suppose any teacher would tell me that teaching my own child’s class was not a good idea. But there’s not much you can do with a stubborn mama like me, apart from letting her learn from her own mistakes, so everyone watched me dive right in.

As the year drew to a close, and the sacrament drew nearer to experience, I lapsed into a former habit and began to convince myself that I could do it all in a single 24 hour period…coordinate a last-minute practice and retreat; provide direction to parents; print the programs; make the reception cake; photograph the children; photograph my own child and family members; gather, entertain and feed my own extended family; and ultimately bask blissfully in the moment of my child (and 29 others I have come to love) receiving this holy Sacrament.

Boy did I overestimate myself!  Um, again.

As everything culminated on Sunday morning, I was overwhelmed beyond belief. Stranded across the sanctuary from my family and my camera, and seated behind the girls of our class, I peered over and around poufy white dresses and veils to find my daughter in the line for Communion – and realized she had just received it and was walking back to her seat. I had missed it. I suddenly felt my eyes stinging and prayed I wouldn’t go all Steel Magnolias on anyone. I made it all the way home without bursting into tears, briefly entertained family at home, and then crashed for a three hour nap.

While I felt gutted by the experience Sunday morning, I am reminded that God sees more of the experience than we do while we are in it. Now that a couple of days have passed, I am able to reflect on the joy of the whole year – getting to know all the kids, and sharing something so special with them. And today, I got an email from the photographer who was hired to take all our photos. She took amazing pictures of Victoria, and as I clicked through the pictures of all the kids, I realized she also took photos of each child receiving Communion. It made me so happy to see that picture of Vic. I emailed the photographer and thanked her for getting that moment back for me. Now, when I look at the pictures of those beautiful children, I am reminded of their sweet, innocent spirits and the love their Creator has for each of them…

…which is the reason we were there in the first place.