Sunday, July 21, 2013

MICE communion!

Walter is super possessive, I think moreso than his peers.  He's really into saying "My turn!" these days, which tends to mean "This and every other toy is mine and my turn is infinitely long."

He also says "mine" but he's been mis-pronouncing it.  And so he ends up saying very sternly, seriously and certainly: "MICE!"

Walter is often very little and very grown up in the same moment. So far, Sean and I have been very successful at not laughing during these moments.

In other news, Walter now says "peanut butter" instead of "bilily" and "chicken" instead of "bawk bawk."  I'm impressed and wistful at the same time.

This is my very-buried-lead way of saying that Walter took communion for the first time today, and I was impressed and wistful at the same time, and he was so little and so grown up in the same moment, and most of all I just couldn't contain all the joy of sharing this beautiful gift from God with my son. As I cried through everything after communion and practically sprinted to the back of the church to get my big post-worship hug from Walter, one of our dear friends and congregation members said, "Your cup is overflowing." Amen. Alleluia! (Or, as Walter says, "A-min! Allelula!")

Sean carried Walter up for communion. Umma went first to show him how to do it. I handed Walter a wafer and expected him to eat it right away.  Instead he asked, "Dip it in?" We'd been debating in the van on the way to church whether or not Walter would be able to handle intinction.  In fact, Baba had said, "Is he going to D-I-P the the wafer in?" and from the back of the van Walter said, "DIP!" We maybe need to start coming up with strategies other than spelling.

So, Walter, who had been paying attention in the van and who has probably been paying attention to communion for a very long time (in Walter time) before this day, looked up at me and said, "Dip it in?" And I said, "Yes, you can dip it in. Daddy will show you how."  He watched Daddy dip his wafer in the grape juice and then dipped his own wafer in, of course putting his fingers all the way down into the chalice (*shudder* we'll work on that.) When he brought the wafer out he wasn't sure what to do.  Daddy gently gave his elbow a nudge and made a little Cookie Monster "om nom nom" noise.  Walter ate the wafer, chewing very thoughtfully.

He's brought it up throughout the day today.  "Communion! Dip!" and also, "Communion again? Dip again?" and, memorably, "MICE communion! Please!" He's excited to have it again next week.

I always underestimate what Walter knows and understands, in part because I don't want to overestimate and forget that he's still so little, and still lacking in so much basic life experience. The possessiveness thing for example ... parents of older kids remind me not to be too hard on Walter, because, from a child development perspective, he can't grasp the concept of sharing right now the way he'll be able to a year from now.  The area of what Walter knows and understands and what he doesn't know and understand is still mysterious to me, though, and something I only figure out in bits and glimpses.

The great thing about sacraments (one of the great things about sacraments) is that what Walter does or doesn't understand is irrelevant.  Baptism and communion are gifts from God: tangible, splash-able, taste-able signs of God's love and God's promises. God does the work: God turns water into forgiveness and eternal life, God turns bread and wine into the true presence of Jesus Christ, who IS forgiveness and eternal life. Walter doesn't need to know the finer points of Lutheran theology to receive these gifts (although I hope he has an interest in learning it someday, because I would enjoy sharing that with him, too.)

For the record, I think Walter knows communion is something very special, and that it's a wonderful thing that he gets to share with his family at church.  Today at church he also got to see a long-longed-for baby get baptized, and later he got to be there to celebrate a renewal of marriage vows. He also got tons of attention from the pre-teens and teens who are so sweet with him, living out the promises they made when he was baptized by helping us raise Walter in the faith (mostly by playing peek-a-boo with him. And teaching him how to say "hamburger" and "pickle.")

It was a cup-overflowing kind of day. Amen. Alleluia!

**Edited to Add** I realized shortly after posting this last night that Walter isn't mis-pronouncing "Mine," he's saying "My's." He's figured out that the usual rule in English for making things possessive is adding "-'s" (Mama's, Dada's, Walter's, etc.)  Sean says such over-regularizing of language is common among kids his age. I think it's freaking brilliant.

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