Sunday, June 5, 2011

having my doughnuts and eating them too

Today we ventured out in bravery to our most scary destination. Sunday Mass. We are lucky to be a part of a church that has many options for getting to church and we have tried all of those options. The nursery at most churches is during MK's morning nap. We attempted Mass in the mountains last weekend during her morning nap. I've said it before. I think even Jesus was ready for our family to leave.  Needless to say, Ross and I tag-teamed taking her outside (too loud for the narthex- that's my girl!). She played with wood chips and we rubbed our temples. As I attempted distraction after distraction today, I found myself growing really weary. "Why the heck do we even try," I asked myself. I watched the couple with 2 kids under 18 months in front of us. "They are crazier than we are," I thought. I can tell you two things about Mass. One was that the first reading was from Acts. And the second was that Father's homily was about homesickness and I thought about Fr. Tim's new adventures and prayed that he wouldn't be homesick. That is the extent of my spiritual experience for the morning.

Ross and I talked about how to resolve this. The problem, I realized, is that I want my after-mass doughnut and I want to eat it too. I want to have Mary Kate attend Mass with us as a family. I want Ross and I to go at the same time, not taking shifts keeping MK at home. As Ross said today, our faith is the foundation of our marriage- it is what holds us together on our best and worst days. So, one of us staying at home isn't an option. While I'm pretty sure we'll take her to the nursery when she gives up this morning nap in a few months, a part of me doesn't want that either. Attending Mass as a family is what I've always dreamed of. We don't have a church with a cry room very close to us, though we hope for this in the future if we move. Right now, we want to attend Mass as a family. I don't want to say 'I'm sorry' to each person's hand I shake during the sign of the peace. We want our girl to grow up to know and experience the comfort and joy of celebrating the Eucharist. I don't know if she'll get that crawling around in the back of the church and crawling up the legs of unsuspecting ushers.

I can only hope that as countless moms before me have done, we will get ourselves out of bed. We will put on our Sunday clothes and "go see Jesus" as I tell MK in the morning. And whether or not we have any clue what transpired during that holy time, I hope that Jesus just looks down on us and smiles. I know with all my heart that His love is not contingent on where we are on Sunday morning. But I also know that the sacrifice of the Mass has been everything to me in my life. During the periods of darkness during college, uncertainty during my 20's, excitement during my marriage and baby, going to Mass has been my comfort and my joy. I need it to be a good mom and wife. And I want my girl to have that. Wherever she chooses to worship as an adult, I want her to look back and know that if the world was going crazy around her, her family would stop everything and put their butts in the pew on Sunday, with or without a loud, squirmy, active baby in tow.

I know I sound whiney. Today I really missed actually praying during Mass. I missed kneeling on the kneelers instead of sitting to catch my child from trying to play with the toes of the lady behind us. I want us to be there as family and we will be. But I really really want a 10-month-old who will look at a book or eat a stinking cheerio (despite my conflicting feelings on that too!) and let her mom and dad LISTEN to the Mass.  I am kind of laughing at myself for even thinking that could be possible. A girl can dream I guess.

Does this not look like the face of a quiet, compliant, reverent baby??


  1. Girl! You are so brave to even attempt keeping her with you during church...I love that y'all are doing that! AG's new favorite word is "frog," which unfortunately sounds suspiciously like a very bad word when she says it. I just know if I brought her into church, she would pick THAT MOMENT to scream it as loudly as possible.
    Hope y'all are doing great!

  2. Good luck Keri! I visited a church recently and a child about 12 months was sitting with her parents with headphones and a book. Of course after the service I had to ask if she enjoyed her book. Her mom said they experimented at home first to see if it would hold her attention quietly for service and it did! With the exception of a couple of giggles during the story she was the perfect child and enjoyed her book. I hope it works out because surely God appreciates the effort and the fact that you all want to worship together.

  3. Oh goodness...little people at Mass is such a hard thing sometimes! It can certainly be a major mortification!! lol
    I just happened to stop by your blog today - but I wanted to encourage you to persevere! The Lord is so happy that you are there, and especially that your little one is there!!! The grace of the Sacrament of the Eucharist is unfathomably huge, even if you don't feel like you get anything out of Mass. Being a mama can be so hard, and sometimes so discouraging when all you want is to do the right thing. You seem like such a wonderfully loving wife and mother!! :-)