Fall is here!!! Yes!!!! It occurred to me as Labor Day was upon us that we had actually made it through this summer’s church services. To take you back a bit…I realized as June began that the church would be stopping nursery services for the little ones for the summer. That meant we would have to pull out our absolute “A game” for summer church services with all 4 boys. (Typically we have one or two of our youngest go to the nursery) The previous summer, Matthew and I spent a lot of weekends taking turns on who would go to church as the baby was still under a year old. This year there was no turning back.
We employed all types of strategies. June was focused strictly on survival….which meant just making it the whole hour without disrupting everyone. Often we would split our group up just so the kids would be able to keep it cool. I made a decision mid-summer that I refused to go in the cry room any more. Instead I hauled our gang allllll the way up as far as possible. I like to repeat the phrase “the priest is watching you” to our kids a lot during mass. Being up front really has helped a lot but of course kids are kids and I still keep an eye on them for a straight 60 minutes. The promise of after mass donuts helped a lot with behavior bribery.
So here came Labor Day weekend and I thought, “WE DID IT!” Matthew and I were at a wedding out of town and coincidentally did not have our kids with us at mass. The services started peacefully as it was so enjoyable to be able to actually LISTEN THE WHOLE TIME. And then as mass went on I found myself thinking of my kids…as the song lyrics came up it reminded me how I would whisper to my son that he knows how to read and should be singing, as the basket went around I thought of how each of my kids race to try to get the envelopes in, and as we did the sign of peace I missed giving them each hugs. By the time we had got to communion, I made the fatal mistake of glancing back at the cry room. That was it. I was trying to mentally shove the tears back into my eyes so no would notice that I am absolutely a crier. For how much struggle and stress that my angels may cause at mass, they are integral to the future of the church. I was doing some deep breaths trying to keep it cool and then came the icing on the cake. The priest had now called any child who was not old enough to receive communion (which would have been all 4 of my boys) to come up for a special blessing as the gospel choir broke out into a very rousing rendition of “This Little Light of Mine.” Oh just absolutely slay me. Matthew was smiling next to me at all the little children and I am now assured that I look like I’ve been run over by a truck. I was simultaneously brought joy by seeing the other children and yet felt my heart floating out of my body as our kids weren’t with us.
So this one is for you, brave parents who bring their kids to church week after week. We know it’s tough. We give each other looks of solidarity as we walk the “noisy” child to the back of the room. We desperately try to stifle those cries before they get too loud, fully aware there is a good chance we are disturbing someone praying reverently. But we will keep fighting the good fight as our parents certainly did before us. ❤
Silly silly baby boy ❤
“Look at the camera and say cheese” Our best family shot ❤ ❤ ❤