Opinion: Epic Catholic fail


Commentary by Danielle Wilson

Recently we Wilsons had an interesting turn of events to which, in the broader context of parenting, I think many of you will relate.

My boy/girl twins are almost 15 and were set to make their Catholic confirmation last weekend. On the last day of their five-day preparation retreat, literally seven hours before the ceremony, I got a call from my son telling me he did not want to be Catholic. He would not be making his confirmation that evening. My initial thought was, “But I ordered two cakes!”

He couldn’t explain his reasoning over the phone but assured me that this decision was not something he had taken lightly. I told him I was proud of him for choosing his own path, but hung up in tears. Had I done this? Had I been the one to turn him away from Catholicism, from my heritage? Or was he simply acting out a teenage rebellion, deciding this was easier than smoking pot? With no time to contemplate my maternal shortcomings – his sister was still going through after all – I continued making pasta salad for the post-mass party.

I did however text the relatives to let them know what had transpired and left the question of gift etiquette in their hands. When I picked him up prior to the mass, I heard his reasons. They were good. They were strong. And in that moment, I realized maybe I was actually a decent mom. I’d somehow taught my kid to stand up for his beliefs, whatever they are, and even if they aren’t the same as my own.

To my surprise (and his, I suspect), the family recognized this as a special moment, too. They rallied around my son in support of his decision, showering him with cards and cash anyway. In one particularly brilliant recovery, an aunt simply crossed out the word “confirmation” and wrote “cool new glasses.” Perfect.

Teens don’t always make the right call, which is why at cross country drop-off I love yelling “Make good choices!” But in this case, my son made the right one. Peace out.