First Communion isn’t just one first thing. For the children who received the Body of Christ for the first time this month, including Teresa, the event meant doing lots of things for the first time. Much of it is superficial. Teresa went shopping for a special-occasion dress with her Grammy, had her hair done for an event for the first time (because there was no way I was doing it) and had her first sip of table wine the night before the big event, just so the taste of the Blood of Christ wouldn’t come as a surprise. But many of the new things reflect the growing maturity of the first communicants. Children in Teresa’s class have taken it in turn to host school Masses this year, using their new reading skills to offer the first readings and the petitions. Several of them filled those roles at the First Communion Mass. Other communicants brought up the gifts and welcomed the congregation. The children also had their first reconciliation this year, a recognition that they understand what sin is and how to ask forgiveness for it. Teresa noted last fall that she and her classmates were to receive two new sacraments this school year: reconciliation and Communion. Unlike most of the sacraments, they offer grace that can be received over and over, and we hope that they will become lifelong habits and sources of strength and comfort. Watching her receive Communion for the first time, with her family around her, was truly moving. But I think I will remember other moments just as fondly: watching Teresa play tag, white dress and all, with some of her classmates while the adults had coffee in the gym afterwards, then doing the same thing with her cousin — in her own Communion dress — at a family party the following day, crooked veils and all; watching her twirl in the dress; even seeing her face screw up in distaste after that first sip of wine. All of those moments showed that Teresa and all her classmates — while growing up so much — are still children, with all the wonderment and joy, and, yes, inability to sit still that implies. When we asked Teresa how she felt in the car on the way to church, she couldn’t settle on whether she was nervous or excited. “Nerve-cited,” she finally said. It would be wrong to say I’m sad to see her walk further along the path of growing up. I’m happy and so proud of her, and I can’t wait to see who she becomes. But there is a tinge of nostalgia there, too, for the little girl she will leave behind.