Monday, April 30, 2012

The Twins, They've 'Come of Age'

Okay, here are the deets on why I've been in cone of blogging silence in this space: I've been super-busy helping The Eldest Boy and The Girl prepare for their Coming of Age ceremony -- and their accompanying service projects -- at our local Unitarian Universalist church. In the Unitarian Universalist (UU) church, the Coming of Age ceremony is like a low-key confirmation or a waaaay extremely mellow bat/bar mitzvah when the kids reach at 13, although the ceremony only happens once a year, regardless of the dates of the kids' birthdays.

What did this "Coming of Age" stuff entail? Each kid had to select one of the seven Unitarian Universalist principles that resonated with him or her then design a public service project to go along with it and write a speech to be delivered in front of the congregation. Mommy got to be alongside them through it all with the exception of prepping the Power Point presentations, which The Spouse handled.

The Girl immediately seized upon the principle related to the "interdependent web" of life and decided to research and support no-kill animal shelters. Our resident animal lover used our rescue dog Max (see above when he was a puppy), whose litter was originally found in the trash, as her inspiration.

We twice visited Buddy Dog, a local animal shelter that's been in operation for decades, for the first time on Valentine's Day. The Girl interviewed Buddy Dog's director, gathered info about shelters in general and toured the facility. She then organized a pet supply drive through our church to benefit the shelter. It was during our second visit when, while dropping off donations that we saw the puppy that we very nearly adopted but alas, did not. (I'm not dropping the second dog subject though, especially now that Coming of Age is over.) Thus supporting no-kill rescue shelters to help dogs and cats who've been abandoned through no fault of their own became the theme of The Girl's Coming of Age speech.

The Eldest Boy selected the second principle about "justice, equity and compassion in human relations." Inspired by an extremely sad image he'd seen of a malnourished Kenyan toddler in the Wall Street Journal (see above), he decided that he wanted to do something to help hungry children in Africa. He became quite passionate about the subject.

So we, the Picket Fence Post family trekked down to New York City to the Unitarian Universalist Association's United Nation's office during the February school vacation and met with the man who runs the Unitarian Universalist Association's program, Every Child is Our Child, that helps orphaned children in Ghana with food, clothing, health care and an education. Thus The Eldest Son became an advocate to our congregation for this program, which became the focal point of his Coming of Age essay. (The kid wrote a compelling plea for donations. He's got a way with persuasive writing I tell ya, though I'm not always keen on him training his persuasive arguments on me.)

Prior to the kids' speeches, The Spouse and I had to "introduce" them to the congregation. We divided the duties with The Spouse introducing The Eldest Boy and me introducing The Girl. Our goal was to try to not get too emotional because, in the past, I've teared up watching other parents present their children and I didn't want to start blubbering. (I was stressed out so starting to blubber was a distinct possibility when you're talking about your child entering youth adulthood.) The Spouse and I made it through our speeches dry-eyed, but our relatives later told us that they were grabbing for tissues. (I didn't notice that because I was trying not to drop the microphone or flub my lines.)

Couple the public service component and the speeches with preparing a tri-fold display board for each child which photographically traced The Eldest Boy and The Girl's 13 years (this is where I needed my tissues, both for the passage of time AND for the fact that I suddenly realized that I hadn't printed out any family photos since 2009 and had to pay a rush shipping fee to get hard copies of the photos) and feeding our immediate family at our house afterward and the past week was kind of a blur.

Today I had planned on decompressing from all the excitement and actually working on some writing, but those plans were thwarted by a medical issue with my other child (the one who has asked me to refrain from writing about him on the internet). Suffice is to say that it's been very dramatic here.

Nonetheless, with the Coming of Age projects and ceremony behind us, I'm hoping to resume my regular blogging schedule, that and to actually exhale. I can't even imagine how stressful it must be for parents of children having a bar or bat mitzvah. The twins have been to a couple of them already and they were both very well done. (The Pajama Diaries comic has recently featured a humorous storyline about bat mitzvah planning.) Luckily, the UU Coming of Age isn't as involved as all of that.

Image credit for second photo: Rebecca Blackwell for the Associated Press via Wall Street Journal.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Meredith! You and the Spouse have brought two very bright shiny stars to their teens very successfully! They are truly fortunate to have you both as parents!