Friday, October 9, 2009

Why I Took On the Fall Festival

"Sherry, you're nuts but in a nice kind of way." a friend said who agreed to provide baked goodies for tomorrow. I get that a lot.

So I thought, given that the event will happen and things have finally slowed down a bit, I'd explain how it is that a mother of nine took on planning a festival for 400 or hopefully, a lot more.

In 2008, I learned I was pregnant with our ninth child and honestly sat for a month and a half asking God why again, rather than giving thanks. It wasn't my proudest moment as a human being, let alone a mother.

Then we found out our youngest had Down’s Syndrome and nine children seemed suddenly like a walk in the park by comparison with facing an unknown "permanent" as one woman called it, handicapping condition. We were offered unbearable options. Then we learned our son in addition to everything else, had a heart condition that would need a major operation to correct some time after birth. Suddenly Down’s Syndrome seemed a cakewalk to staring down open heart surgery on a newborn. As I said at the time, any sentence containing the words "needs open heart surgery" in it, was a bad sentence.

So we progressed through the pregnancy but it was hard. There was a quiet in my mind that wasn't a happy quiet or a peaceful one. I knew I needed to reenter the world. The principal of our school talked of needing a chair for the Fall Festival and I felt as if a rope had been tossed with which to pull myself out of my dark heart full of feelings so I grabbed on tight.

Last year, the Fall Festival was wonderful and amazing and funny. The only person who used the first aid was me, and that was to lie down and rest, being ten days post-partum. This year, approaching it without the aid of Percocet or compulsory naps, it's a bit more daunting but that same rope has kept me discovering new people and pushed me to be more open to the community that demands all of us be cracked open, the Church.

To set this feast for all who attend the school and all who use the parish is a great privilege and to know all the men and women who have put in the hours to help bring it to being is also a great honor. I only hope it succeeds enough to further the cause of the school and secure a spot as a tradition that will grow and grow until it becomes a generational experience of being part of Saint Martin's.

The Fall Festival is a rare opportunity for the families of this school and Parish to come together to play. I hope it is a time when all of the faculty, staff, parents, children and parishioners can forget themselves in the timelessness of simple games and good food in good company and next year, I hope we can expand it so it goes until 4. Then we could all clean up and close with a bilingual mass.

Because all of these people are united beyond the barriers of school/parish, immigrant/citizen, English speaking and other, in our stewardship of our families and by our love of what the whole Parish is about, the Eucharist, our Faith, our Church.

So that's why. And yes, I also love it so I'm a bit crazy, but in a good sort of way.


Anonymous said...

I need to forward your column to all former Halloween chairmen at St. Anne Catholic School. It is as Frank O'Malley (ND prof-1950's-1980's _once said " the blood is in the bricks- and I think after so many Halloween carnivals at your elementary school in Beaumont- the carnival is in your experience
of growing up- and the rest is history.

MightyMom said...

glad you made it out of that dark hole.

good for you finding that rope and holding on!

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!