Thinking back on the past few years I wouldn’t say Sunday mass-going with our littles has been easy, but lately our mass experiences have been just shy of ghastly pandemonium. Christmas mass? I wanted to burst into tears. I’ll spare you every minute detail, but I’ll share at least two medium-sized ones. I spent part of it out in the van with Audrey and Heidi changing a soiled outfit, and part in the back (in heels- retiring those forever) slowly dying of Hyperthermia and juggling a fussy Heidi while Audrey clung to me after twice telling me one of the little girls running around had pulled her hair.
Many Sundays we battle these loud silliness-giggle-fits of Evie’s- they usually creep in around the homily, and once they hit it becomes very challenging to try to distract or redirect her back into the land of non-obnoxious behavior. And another part of the challenge is keeping Audrey from feeding off the craziness and turning to her wild toddler side.
Thankfully the girls did pretty well this past Sunday but we still had to make multiple trips out of the pew. We arrived to mass just in time to slide past a middle-aged man who planted himself at the end of a not very full pew (someone should start a movement: M.A.U.P.E.S- Moms Against Unnecessary Pew End Squatting). It was during the homily that things started spiraling downward- a fussy Heidi wouldn’t nurse and in the middle of the blanket-covering commotion my bracelet snagged my scarf and unraveled a long thread (why do I try to accessorize?!). Then Evie announced she needed to go potty, so we shuffled kids around and to the ladies’ room she and I went. Well, that ended up being a false alarm, although upon our return Tim scooted out with a full-diapered Heidi (sorry, Mr. End-of-the-pew!). I bent down to pick up Audrey and immediately smelled THE smell. Tim had already left with the diaper bag so there I sat, helpless, clutching my malodorous toddler and praying no one around us would pick up a whiff of the stench. Audrey and I didn’t head to the restroom until after communion and by that time the contents of her diaper had reached new heights (on her onesie).
We try our best to be faithful Catholics and raise our children that way, but must it feel so daunting? (And now that we’re outnumbered I feel the level of daunting has increased.)
My brother-in-law’s mom has (had?) a framed quote in her house: “There’s a special place in heaven for a mother of four boys.” Well, please let their be a special place in heaven for parents who brave Sunday mass each week with children in tow!
For anyone else out there in the trenches here is a small slice of solace I recently came across:
“He did not say: ‘You will not be assailed, you will not be belabored, you will not be disquieted,’ but He said: ‘You will not be overcome.'”
~Bl. Julian of Norwich