Our miracle baby made his first confession last night and it was incredibly special. His big brother helped him pick out some nice clothes. His older sister encouraged him. His godparents prayed for him. And when we came home he celebrated with a big bowl of sorbet and CocoWhip.
JF has a few special needs and so his preparation looked a little bit different than what we did for our previous two children. We brainstormed with his tutor, our priest, and some good friends, including one whose adult son has special needs. Their insights were invaluable and along with having frequent conversations with JF about sin, mercy, prayer, and our relationship with God, we figured out ways to help him in his struggles with speech, reading, and anxiety.
JF has been diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech which can make it difficult for him to communicate, especially when he is tired or upset, and occasionally make him hard to understand. To help in that area we had our priest over for dinner last month. He and JF played card games, which allowed Father to get used to the way JF speaks and let JF feel more comfortable with Father.
We were also afraid that James would be so nervous and anxious that he wouldn't be able to read or remember his list of sins. To help with that we took pictures of him acting out his sins and then made a small booklet. The booklet included not only the pictures, but captions that he or Father could read if need be, and on the back was the act of contrition. We used it as we practiced and JF took it with him to confession. This worked so well and I'm so grateful to my friend who suggested it to me.
I wanted to share this with you all because sometimes we need reminders that good things are happening in this broken world, too. There those of us who not only believe but live out the fact that everyone has dignity, that God's grace and mercy are for everyone, that life is beautiful, and that in real life people are awesome.