Late afternoon sun streamed through the high windows.
And I sat in the third row.
And watched my son in his cassock and surplice. And Crocs.
Practice carrying a candle, a cross, an enormous tray full of gold-plated chalices. Up stairs.
And set it on the altar.
Five other boys practiced the same.
I imagined what a brotherhood he's joined.
All the boys that have done these same things for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years.
Imagine all those candles. Crosses. Enormous trays full of chalices.
And that tall, tall, clear, glass pitcher for the wine.
No other place would you hand a nine year-old boy a tall glass pitcher of wine and tell him to walk around with it. Especially in a long skirt.
Hours of practice. All six boys practiced all the jobs.
And at the end, Father Mark gave a short, witty, nine year-old-level talk on reverence.
Six boys went back to the sacristy and removed the garments and hung them up themselves!
We drove home together in the minivan. I told Joseph that Grandpa Tony was an altar server when he was a young boy. And I told him I was proud of him. And that I'd say a prayer every time he had to carry the tray of chalices up the stairs to the altar in a skirt. He smiled. He's not worried. Just me. It's my job to sit in the third row, now. And watch him carry the cross. And then wait while he hangs his own clothes. And when we get home, I go in where it's warm and reflect on the afternoon. And he goes out in the cold on his bike and plays with the other kids on the street.