(photo's were taken before church)
Not too long ago Iggy and I would wake up on a Sunday, and decide if we wanted to go to morning, noon, or late afternoon mass. We would sit in the pews, laugh when the sermon was funny, squeeze each others hands when it was convicting, and discuss the sermon afterwards. A little over a year ago we had our beautiful quiet baby girl to dress and show off.
Now we've reached the toddler years. Our family always goes to morning mass because the kids naptime is too close to the noon services, and get too silly for the the late afternoon mass. And truthfully it's also just to get it out of the way.
Don't get me wrong, as much as I love(ed?) going to mass, and I look forward to raising my kids in the church, and fostering their relationship with God, I'm realistic that it isn't going to happen anytime soon and this painful process is a way to get from point A to point B in their religious upbringing. I don't want them to recall a time when we started going to church, I want it to be a part of them that was always there, even if they don't remember how horrible they were and the pain they put me through.
That's for me to remind them when they are older.
When we go to mass we usually go to the cry room unless we're feeling particularly brave and accomplished as parents . One thing that irritates me about the cry room is that sometimes there are adults with no children there that give me the evil eye when my kids are less than stellar. Baby Iggy gets a pass because he's so little, but Anna has the loudest voice on earth.
The problem I have is that she's just so happy and exuberant and I don't want to kill her spirit. I'm all for "no meaning no", but I don't know if she can grasp what's okay in certain places isn't okay in others.
Today she was fascinated with the colors on the floor via the stained glass window and kept dancing and twirling around in it. And singing. I'd get down to her level and do the big eyes and point my finger to my lips and shush her. Because it usually works.
Anna opened her eyes big and solemnly shushed me and fell in a fit of laughter afterwards and pretty much everyone that saw laughed at me too. My daughter had everyone laughing at me.
And then she gets a mind to root through my bag and, hi, secret lady stuff on the floor.
Usually by the end of mass I can only recall which priest was speaking, maybe what book we read from, and the homily is just totally lost on me and we leave right after the blessing.
I think I would be more frustrated if mass was the only time I had with God, and if I'm honest, sometimes if I let life get carried away, it is.
Usually when I'm on top of thing I listen to father Robert Barron's sermons at wordonfire.org, and I have the aha! moment once I realize where my priest was going with his homily on sunday (even if you don't need the sermon, he makes very interesting videos discussing current topics so check it out!), go to weekly bible study (mine if finally starting up again next week, we do the Great Adventure bible study with Jeff Cavins), and listen to KKLA a Christian radio station, even if I need to ignore some anti-Catholic programs (ahem, pastor Raul Ruiz at 1pm). When I turn out the light at bedtime I usually do the rosary with Anna unless she's being difficult.
And pray for the terrible toddler years to go by swiftly :)