My Purple Dress

As every parent knows, your greatest dream for your children is to provide a better life than you had.  Luckily for me, my parents made this task extremely easy.  Not that they were bad parents, they loved me and I always felt that, which is the most important thing.  But, there were just a few items that might’ve made things a bit more enjoyable.  So my top three rules I try to follow to achieve the aforementioned dream are as follows:

1.  Stay sober (well, not exactly all the time, I am Irish after all).

2. Clean the house (at least every once in a while).

3. Provide 3 CONSISTENT squares a day (alright, mine aren’t always square, sometimes triangle, rhombus, octagonal, but ALWAYS three)!

My parents had a mixed marriage, Catholic and Methodist; I know, quite shocking.  They were married in 1961 and being the good, obedient woman of her day, my mother readily converted to the cult.  However, I don’t think she really bought into the whole Catholic thing hook, line and sinker.  She taught us the prayers she grew up saying and ACTUALLY READ THE BIBLE.  If you’re Catholic, you know, we don’t exactly do that.

But, she made sure we went to Mass every Sunday, signed us up for CCD and got the big four sacraments: baptism, confession, communion and confirmation .  For you non-Catholics, CCD is sort of like Sunday School for Catholic children who go to public school…except its not always on Sunday.

You may remember from an earlier post that I have two older sisters.  Things must’ve been going pretty well for them when they were receiving their sacraments, because I’ve seen the pictures.  At first communion, they both had pretty little white dresses and the requisite bridal veil.  I’m still not sure why the cult insists on making 7 year olds look like their getting married when they’re having their first bite of the holy host, but whatevs.

My parents marriage went downhill pretty quickly after my birth.  Hmmm….always made me wonder if it was my fault?  But, they’ve assured me time and again it was not.  Remember, they weren’t great at cleaning and staying sober and shit, but they were good at loving me.

So by the time my first communion rolled around, they were in the thick of their divorce.  Ahh…what happy times those were.  They went from yelling and screaming at each other right in front of us, to standing in the front yard speaking in hushed tones, while we waited inside.  Yeah, it was great.

Anyhoo, first communion is usually held in the Spring somewhere near Easter.  My favorite color was purple (still is) and I had a beautiful, flowing taffeta purple Easter dress.  It had a satin ribbon around the waist and twirled out when I spun.  I remember it quite vividly and how much I loved it, until I hated it.

Being in CCD, we all received our First Communion together at Mass in front of the whole congregation.  Well, of course, I’m 7 and have no idea what any of the cult’s customs are, because really for any kid in any religion, church is just one long torture session.  But, you’d think after 20 some years of marriage, my mother would have had a handle on the situation.  I guess my Dad could’ve clued her in, but remember, he was drunk.  (Again, its okay, don’t feel bad).

So the big day rolled around, and all of us girls and boys made our way down the aisle hands folded in a prayer like stance.  All the boys wore little suits and ties and the girls had the most beautiful white gowns and flowing veils- even little white gloves.  ALL THE GIRLS, except me.  I had my purple Easter dress on…ya know, the one I loved.  Except now, I despised it.  Why the fuck didn’t I have a beautiful bridal veil and white gloves?  There’s proof of this disaster in pictures somewhere.  The whole second grade communion class together on the altar, with me sticking out like a sore thumb in my purple dress.

As an adult, I’ve asked my mother about this debacle.  She blames it on the women’s movement and says she thought the cult had moved past that tradition.  Really?  The cult has 2000 years of tradition that they keep intact and she thinks a little old thing like the “women’s movement” was going to change what a bunch of old men at the Vatican think?  Honestly, I think she was just a little too preoccupied to pay any attention to what I was wearing.  So I forgive her.  But, I’ve made damn sure that my girls have a beautiful white gown and bridal veil!

So I guess the 4th item should be:  Provide appropriate clothing for monumental moments in life.

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