Wednesday, June 10, 2015

white dress

I'm wrestling with my feelings of ambivalence about my faith at the moment. Faith has been a challenge for me since my teens. I struggle daily with my memories of a happily religious childhood and the many harsh realities of the Catholic Church. Particularly as a young woman, the restrictions and expectations placed on me jarred me to the point of swearing off religion of all kinds. 

I slowly ventured back when I moved home and eventually found myself as a teacher in the Catholic School Board. With maturity came an uneasy kind of peace, and I am able to find some of the joy I knew as a child. It's still a struggle, daily. I was once told that as long as I am on the journey, it's all good.

In spite of my ambivalence, it was beautiful to celebrate Violet's First Communion with our family this past weekend. She has been preparing all year with her Grade Two class, under the faithful tutelage of her classroom teacher and our school/parish priest. She has looked forward to this day with much reflection and anticipation. Her pure, innocent approach to faith is beautiful and inspiring, and calls up nostalgia in me when I remember how I felt about the Catholic Church when I was a little girl. 

And while my own path is a long and winding one, I believe that children should be set on a path, any path, to see where it takes them. I believe that this path may be one they follow forever if it brings them joy, but that it also might be just the starting point, that perhaps they may step off into the unknown someday to find their own path. It's all good.

Keeping with tradition, my mom made Violet's dress (she made mine, too!), and I embellished it with some simple embroidery. She couldn't wait to get out into the pasture with the sheep and ponies as soon as we got home, and I quietly followed with the camera. 

This is my farm girl, the little girl I was in so many ways! I always say that I don't see myself in her physically (although I know she's mine!). She has beautiful, long, tapered fingers whereas my hands are like a pioneer woman's: square, blunt fingers, built for digging tubers and smacking bottoms (haha). She is a nut-brown maid, while I am all peaches and cream. 

But her fondness for animals, the outdoors, reading, and a quirky mix of logic and romanticism...that's all me. Oh, she has plenty of herself in her too, mysterious dashes of qualities that don't echo mine or her father's.

My beautiful daughter! She takes my breath away, whether she is a pure-white Lamb of God or a tangle-haired, shirtless wild thing in jeans and rubber boots. I cannot claim her as mine, as she belongs to herself. I pray that she will always love and respect herself as she does today.


  1. Thank you for sharing this moment in time. Violet's dress brings decades-old memories of spring frocks and wildflowers a-bloom in the large fields surrounding my childhood home. Mom and Grandma sewed and we were blessed with many articles displaying their prowess: dresses, shorts, sleeping bags, bedspreads and curtains for our windows... much appreciation for the trip back.

  2. A lovely little girl. I do understand "an uneasy kind of peace" when it comes to faith. I had to put my beliefs and a lifetime of religious instruction on a shelf for "easy" peace to find its way in.

  3. Beautiful photos and soul searching writing even for this nanny


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