Danny is eight years old today. He wanted me to post photos of the day he was born above/before all the First Communion pictures “just for contrast , mom” but thinking about sick preemies one week before William’s birthday was making me sad. No sadness allowed today, just all the joy and positive energy and grace that one VERY excited eight year old can bring to a beautiful day.
See these shoes? I know you might think they look like very ordinary black leather shoes, but they’re not. Feet with bulky braces that don’t bend at the ankles don’t fit into any sort of regular shoe. Think about it… do you have any shoes at your house that would fit over your feet in ski boots? So whenever Danny gets leg braces, the braces guy orders him one pair of adaptive braces shoes that look sort of like tennis shoes. And that’s what he wears. No matter what. And then when he out grows his braces and gets new ones, he gets new shoes. One pair, tennis shoes, they come from the braces guys.
This time, while he was getting the casts put on his legs to make the molds for his braces, the guy told him that they had a new brand of braces shoes, and he could CHOOSE! Did he want grey stripes or blue stripes?? (On his light grey shoes)… Danny told him that what he really wanted was BLACK SHOES. Black all over. Just like his brothers wear to Mass. “Because I’m making my First Holy Communion, you know” This is where we had a little communication trouble. Our very kind, truly expert braces guy… obviously not Catholic, probably after our conversation I’d say he comes from a Southern, evangelical, most likely pentacostal faith tradition.
“First Holy Communion shoes? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of those. ” “What’s First Holy Communion?”
Leave it to Danny. He explained, and explained, and explained. Then finally, after telling the braces guy that he’s been in my Sunday School class all year to prepare, a lightbulb went on for the guy. “OH! You want Sunday School shoes!” “I can special order you Sunday School shoes!”
And about three days later, they arrived. Huge, heavy, unbendable, but just the right size to fit over his braces. And plain black leather, just like the brothers. I have never seen a
seven eight year old boy so darn excited about shoes that weren’t soccer cleats ever. And he gets to wear them again today for his violin recital. Just like his brothers.
Remember my special friend who just couldn’t sit between Danny and Bryson? He did a wonderful job all through Mass, although he had to give him mom a VERY enthusiastic high five on his way back from the communion rail. I am so proud of how he has grown up this year.
And this is Danny and Sister Judy. You know about her. She takes care of everything for everybody.
All Danny’s older siblings, all the big kids on our street, my favorite student every year… they have all gotten to read the first reading at the First Holy Communion Mass. This year Father decided that having any congregational singing, any children involved in the music or any children reading would make things a spectacle. This is actually sort of funny, considering …. but we won’t go there. He relented to allow four children to carry up the gifts, so Danny got to do that. And then, at Danny’s request, I took a picture. In the middle of Mass. You should have seen the dirty looks I got from my husband and my big kids! I asked Father’s forgiveness after Mass and he said he hadn’t even noticed. But Danny did and he was so happy to have a picture of his getting to do this special job.
Now I need to get back to the Birthday boy. You know, he might have a point about how amazing some “before and after” photos would be… I need to show him, though, that some of the equipment we have in our house that he gets hooked up to every day is exactly the same as in the photos from the NICU that fascinate him so much… Happy Birthday, Danny! I love you, and you are an amazing young man.
Oh, PS, here’s the obligatory link to Danny’s website: http://www.paradeschool.com/ …. I don’t know if he has a contact linky thing on his website, but if he does, go send him birthday wishes. It would really make his day.