Monday, May 18, 2009


My son finally decided to be confirmed. I guess the Holy Spirit got to him when Mom couldn't. To recap the saga, our archdiocese confirmed eighth graders until the year before he was to be confirmed. The year he was a freshman, he was "invited" to the first confirmation meeting. It was scheduled for a Monday in September, about a year after Hurricane Katrina. At that time, when he knew nothing about the requirements, except that they included that meeting, he decided he didn't want to be confirmed. I told him that was his decision, but that he had to go through all the preparation classes anyway. That meeting didn't help--and the DRE running the meeting was in a bad mood because no one wanted to be there, since it was the date of the Saints first home football game since Katrina. He got snippy with at least one kid whose parents weren't there (probably because they had tickets before his meeting was called).

After that auspicious start, we had no place to go but up. Unfortunately one of the requirements for Catholic school students (which he was at the time) was to attend one Lifeteen mass and meeting per month. He despises everything about Lifeteen. As a former youth minister told me, the program is built on sensory overload and autistic kids don't do sensory overload (or put another way, ordinary life overloads his senses; he doesn't need loud music and hugging added to the mix). He tolerated that, barely, for two years. Then this year he switched to public school and public school kids were supposed to go weekly, since they didn't take religion in school. Fortunately the DRE knew he went to mass weekly and said he didn't have to go to the Lifeteen mass. Then he started really acting up at Life Nights and so I pulled him out--I saw no reason to ruin it for the other kids. Still he steadfastly said he didn't want to be confirmed. I told the DRE about his choice, and she said that any time he changed his mind, I should just let her know; that he had done enough prep and he could be confirmed. Then one day he said that if he never had to go to Lifeteen again, he'd be confirmed.

His sponser was an old friend of my husbands who had been a teacher at the Catholic elementary he attended for a few years. Funny thing is that even though his sponser has taught middle school in a Catholic school all these years, and the kids are crazy about him, he has never been asked to be a sponser before. He always looked out for my son and said how happy he was to be asked.

Right now, it's hard being his mom. I see the other kids his age reaching milestones he either isn't reaching yet, and in some cases, will probably never reach; yet, he isn't like some handicapped kids whose parents have known for years that they will never progress beyond a certain point. We don't know what he can do and we keep trying to push him forward. I know God made him the way he is, and that there are a lot of kids out there with a lot worse problems. Yet, when your seventeen year olds life goals are to play videogames, it is hard. It is hard when you see what his handicap prevents him from doing, when you see people reacting negatively towards him (and yet can realize that you pretty much feel the same way about other people's kids who act that way), when you know how much is inside him that the packaging doesn't let out. Well, thamks to our understanding DRE, confirmation is one milestone he did reach, at the same time as his peers. Next up, high school graduation (but that will be a year late).


  1. I'm just in awe of you as a mom Ruth. You know when to push and when to let the kids just go on their own schedule. So glad that Jay chose Confirmation and his sponsor sounds perfect.

  2. Anonymous7:45 AM

    I think it's great that Jay chose to do this. He knows what is good for him and when. He's got great parents and that helps so much.

  3. Amazingly, Jay's Confirmation is exactly what I wanted for our kids and pushed to get. When THEY felt the calling of the Holy Spirit- they were Confirmed. There is no set time or place in the Word.
    My heart goes out to you as you struggle with where he is at- but as an educator- you are one of the most reasonable parents he could have had. There is lots out there- even for those who love video games.
    Most of all my aspect is selfish. Your parent's perspective has helped me a great deal this year with a young man who also struggles with autism. When we discuss as a group something odd- I can think of you and come up with some way to help him to the next level...often by just presenting the challenge to him and backing off. He has made amazing progress. Thank you for that gift to my teaching team. If my student's parents knew how much you influenced our team- they would thank you as well.

  4. Congratulations to Jay! I think that you, your son and your parish did an excellent job in how you all handled the Confirmation process.

    Ruth, you do an amazing job as a mom and I admire you very much! You are an inspiration to so many of us other moms. Thank you!


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