The Sweetness and Sorrow of Ceremonies – By Cara Potapshyn Meyers
A couple weekends ago, my son and I went to the Communion ceremony of my best friend’s son. Considering that I had never participated in a communion ceremony and my son is being raised Jewish, this was a brand new experience for both of us.
We were escorted to chairs on the side of the alter, with the other guests, and were lucky enough to get front row seats. While we waited for the procession of children seeking Communion to arrive, my son had many questions. Why did the “bad men” do that to Jesus (nail him to the cross)? Why are the children eating those round things and all drinking out of that cup? Don’t they know they can get germs by doing that? And many other questions about the differences between the two religions. I tried to answer each of his questions as simply but as completely as possible. A daunting task when it comes to religion.
At one point, my son wanted me to put my arm around him, hugging him close. He held onto my dangling hand. He then asked, “Mommy? All of the girls look like brides. Why do they have to look like brides?” I explained that by wearing a white dress and a veil, it is as if they are “marrying” or becoming closer to God in the Church. At that moment, my son pointed to my wedding band, which I wear on my right hand, the hand he was holding. He asked, “Mommy? Is that your wedding ring?” I told him that it was. He then carefully slid it off of my finger and immediately replaced it. Then he said to me, “See, now we are married, Mommy.” There is much to analyze about this, but we’ll save that for the professionals. His gesture, however, triggered an interesting feeling in my heart. Considering that my wedding anniversary will be this coming weekend, having my son pronounce his desire to be committed to me and love me unconditionally forever, brought back those giddy feelings I felt 16 years ago when my husband put that very same ring on my finger. Only when my son did it, the feelings felt deeper and truer. This is probably attributed to the fact that a Mother and child, especially a son, have an extremely close bond. I feel that bond with my son every second of the day. But with my son symbolically wanting to “marry” me, it made me feel that, unlike his father, my son will never betray me. He will never abandon me. He will always be there for me. “In good times and in bad.” Completely unlike his father. And instead of grieving for the loss of my marriage, I felt secure that there is one person in this world who WILL be mine forever. Until death does us part. Or he finds a spouse.
My therapist warned me about little boys my son’s age going through the Oedipal Syndrome (where the little boy wants his mother all to himself, while pushing his father away from his mother). Well, his father is about as far away as he can get, right now. But I am making sure that my son knows that Daddy loves him just as much as I do. And that there is no reason to push Daddy away. I will always be here for my son. Still, my son wants me. He needs me. He knows deep down inside that I completely understand him, inside and out. So let him hang on to me for a while longer. In a couple years, I will be, “Mommy who”?
As for my anniversary, I will dig up all the fun memories from last year when I whisked myself away to the Bahamas for 5 days. I tried to go this year, but although the hotel prices were reasonable, the flights cost half an arm and a leg due to the high fuel prices and surcharges. The rates were ridiculous. So, instead, out came the t-shirts, the cheap, beachy jewelry, and the photos I took on my excursion. Last year was a milestone anniversary. I had to remove myself from this continent and distract myself with pristine beauty and fun. I got what I went for. This year will be solemn. My husband has a wedding to go to on the day we got married. I wonder how or whether that will affect him at all? In any event, I’ll spend time with my son and maybe even go to our local pool. I’ll lie on a lounge chair, close my eyes, and reflect back to my time in the Bahamas. I will be with the sweetest little man, who loves me so much, he wants to “marry” me. At this point in my life, what more could I ask for?