This Sunday is my nephew’s cresima, his Catholic confirmation. This site defines confirmation as “A sacrament in which the Holy Ghost is given to those already baptized in order to make them strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.” In fact, when my total, 100% and closely guarded ignorance about the Catholic Church spurred me to ask my husband what confirmation was all about, he did mention something about Soldati di Dio. That’s right- Soldiers of God. That’s all he could remember from his own confirmation ceremony. Oh yeah, and the gifts. There were a lot of gifts.
Coming from a society as multi-religious as America and a family as intellectually a million miles away from any organized religion as mine, raising my children in Italy has been a learning experience at best, and a challenge always. The traditional life of a child in Italy has a very definite and mapped out path, with the same rigid stops along the way. This may also be true in the US. After all, what on earth do I really know about that, anyway? I’ve only been there as a visitor since having my children. But here in Italy, my husband and I have a parenting style that has been non-conformist and confusing for most of the general population. Parenting is the ultimate learn as you go experience, and the results of your labor my never really become clear. But I can say that we’ve fought tooth and nail to try to give our children an open mind, and a view of the world that goes beyond their own noses.
Choosing not to baptize, march to catechism and confirm our children in my small town hasn’t always been a piece of cake. It also hasn’t been easy to instill a sense of independence in my children, and a desire to spread their wings, even if it means falling down some of the time. The prevalent parenting style here is akin to smothering, in my opinion, both at an emotional and practical level. Some of my children’s classmates turn in homework done by their parents for the fear of getting a bad grade.
And packing up our little family and moving to the other side of the ocean isn’t a piece of cake, either. Through my excitement and anticipation, I’m scared as shit. Are we doing the right thing? Will my kids hate their new school? Will they make friends? Will they pine for Italy? Will the slutty evil American girls chew up my Jonah and spit him out heartbroken? (I don’t consider this option for my younger son, Dana, as he will certainly do the chewing up and spitting out) Will the dog get eaten by a bear? Will my husband make decent money?
What the hell was I thinking when I decided to do this?
What's so bad about complacency, anyway?
This is the view of the valley behind our house in Colorado, put here today to battle my urge for complacency.