We had company a few weekends ago. My best friend and college roommate came for a quick visit to see us, although I do suspect that her adorable Godson was more of the motivation. We shopped, we ate, we relaxed on the back deck.
Before bed on Saturday night I said to my dear friend (who happens to be the daughter of a United Methodist minister and of the denomination herself), “Say Jess, would you be willing to watch the kiddos tomorrow morning so Kevin and I can go to Mass without them?”
I am not one that believes in not bringing your children to church when they are young, but quite frankly it is virtually impossible to establish any focus with our two monkeys climbing all over us.
Well, being that she has spent nearly as much time learning the Catholic tradition as the Methodist due to the nature of her schooling and is in a searching state at the moment, attending various churches and denominations, she replied, “No, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d really like to go. I can help with the kids.”
The only good things about that Sunday Mass were the facts that we arrived on time and the church didn’t have air conditioning. Arriving on time allowed us to sit in front so that the only poor soul watching our children was the priest and the fans, which lack any effective cooling properties did effectively drown out most of our children’s chatter, whining, and admirable attempts at singing. We only had one removal and one sickening thud of head against pew.
As I dripped sweat and seethed over the dirty looks the priest had given us (didn’t Jesus say “Let the children come!” – and I bet those kids weren’t exactly quiet either!!!), and my blood pressure sky-rocketed. We hadn’t even peeled our thighs off the pew after the closing him when my dear friend turned to all of us and said, “Next time, I’ll keep the kids.”
While that statement alone is enough of a punch line, I’m working hard at looking for the bright side. Perhaps God is in fact SO GOOD that my song (the only thing I can do wholeheartedly at Mass anymore) counts as praying twice!
UPDATE: We've been having a debate over here at the parish office about appropriate behavior/parenting at Mass. We had an older parishioner scold a young mom for letting her little one pace the pew. This is not a new mom, but one with some seasoning. What are your thoughts? Leave me a note. Is welcoming children a matter of hospitality or is it inhospitable to the others around them? I'll weigh in with our opinion shortly...:)