It was a bad day in choir.
The big boys were out until 10 p.m. the night before for baseball, so of course, Nicholas was falling to pieces long before we finished choir warmup. I’ve been waking at 4:30 for several days, so my patience was stretched pretty thin.
And Michael? I don’t know what his deal was, but he was a disaster during Mass. Michael Mayhem in all his glory, only he’s more devious at 3 than he ever was as a toddler. Eyeing the slides on the sound board (sorry, kid, you’ve caused deafening feedback one too many times; I’m onto you on that one). Stealing my choir hymnal (well, I know “Amazing Grace” by heart, anyway). Fiddling with the microphone cord connecting the sound board to the floor jack. I had debated which jack to use before Mass, trying to decide which one was the least likely to be kicked by a wild child during Mass, but clearly I underestimated Michael Mayhem.
It was Communion, and we had just started the first refrain to “On Eagle’s Wings” when, with a deafening CRACK, every microphone in the music area went dead. I looked over, and sure enough, Michael had unplugged the cord.
Normally we kill the entire church sound system when we need to deal with microphone cables, because of that noise. Plugging back in is much worse than unplugging.
But it takes 15 seconds for our sound system to cycle down and another 15 to cycle back up, and we were in the middle of a Communion song. So I gritted my teeth and shoved the cord back in the jack. (CRACK.) Then I hoisted Michael into a chair beside me and tried to keep calm and carry on singing while out of breath from exertion and temper.
And that was the moment when Julianna hijacked the Eucharist.
(I think she and Michael planned it together Saturday night. After I put them in bed. When they were supposed to be sleeping.)
She’s been showing greater and greater interest in what’s going on at church, and I’ve been whispering to her about bread and wine, body and blood, trying to unpack the Eucharistic Prayer for her. “Next year, that will be you,” I’ve told her as she watches girls and boys receive their First Communion. “Oh, look!” she will cry as the priest holds up the cup. “Eet—iss, Blood!” I took her out of summer school last week to send her to a church program focused on the sacraments, because let’s face it, the girl does not conceptualize at all. She needs as much exposure as she can get, especially since she doesn’t have daily religion class in school.
She wanted so badly to receive Communion last fall, I questioned the decision to have her repeat first grade religious ed along with first grade at school. But after a while, she settled down, going up with her arms crossed, docile as you please.
Little did I know she was biding her time.
When Christian shot the look at me from the piano, shaking his head and laughing, I thought he was reacting to Michael’s sound system exploits. We sang one of my songs post-Communion–ironically, one I wrote as a way to deal with my grief after Julianna’s birth.
Quiet, quiet, quiet my soul
Like a child at rest
Like a child at rest.
I was just starting to internalize this message when the song ended and Christian came over. “Julianna took Communion. I saw her coming back shoving something into her mouth and going, chomp, chomp, chomp.”
The stinker didn’t even deny it. “Did you take Communion?” I asked her.
“Yes, I deed!” She turned to one of our neighbors, who was there with her kids. “Guess what? Guess what? I, I, I, I, I take–I take–I take BWEAD!”
Christian was hilarious. He called his parents for Father’s Day and said nonchalantly, “Oh, by the way, Julianna had her first Communion today.”
A beat, while the phone squawked horror and outrage.
“What?” Christian said. “You mean you didn’t know she was going to?” Another beat. “Oh, well, that’s okay. We didn’t know, either.”
Funny guy, my hubby.