There’s no place a Reform Jew would rather be on the second night of Passover than in a Catholic church, right?
Well, that’s where I was. Sitting on the aisle, in the second pew, all the way up at the front. Where everyone could see me standing alone when the rest of my row went up to the altar to receive communion.
You see, my son was confirmed this past Saturday night, the night before Easter, during the holy, and lengthy, Vigil Mass.
And I had to be there. I wanted to be there.
As he stood up in front of the altar, with his paternal grandmother standing behind him as his sponsor, I couldn’t help but be proud of him. For his commitment and his poise. For the young man he is.
And I was happy that I could be there, at 9:00 on a Saturday night, sitting next to my daughter and in the same pew as my ex-husband, his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s daughter.
My divorced family dynamic has the added twist of trying to include two different religions. (You can get the back-story in my previous post Guilty Gefilte.)
My first husband and I agreed to raise our kids primarily Catholic. He was a practicing Catholic and I was a non-practicing Jew. And what was important to me was that my children grew up learning about their Jewish heritage and celebrating the Jewish holidays in the same way that I had grown up celebrating them.
And once I had made the decision, once we had made the decision, I felt fine with it. Really fine with it. I had not been active in my faith since I graduated from high school. I went to a Jewish sleep away camp. I was bat mizvahed. But my formal education stopped when the confirmation classes interfered with my softball practices. And I really loved softball.
So when my first husband and I divorced, after almost eight years of marriage and with two previously-baptized children, I stood by my decision to have them raised Catholic. And promised to do my part to support them. And my ex-husband.
And I have.
So that’s how I ended up in a church on the second night of Passover. And even though I was sad that I didn’t get to go to my family seder this year, I did get to be a part of my son’s confirmation.
Looking across the church that night, at my son sitting next to his grandmother, I could see that he looked a little nervous. That he looked a bit like David Byrne in his arms-too-long dress shirt and in his new blazer that didn’t fit him quite right.
At that moment, he looked over at me. And gave me his smile. The smile that only his mother knows the meaning of. And I knew I was in the right place.
Sometimes you have to do things that aren’t your first choice, like sit in the second pew for the duration of a two-hour Mass on a Saturday night, feeling slightly out of place. But the decision to sit there is an easy one, one that you’ve made through a series of steps over a number of years.
And you are who you are.
I am the mother of two children. I am divorced from their father. They are being raised Catholic. And they celebrate their Jewish heritage.
And I’m okay with that. Because it’s my imperfect life.