Sunday, August 7, 2016
Anyone that has ever taken their children, or anyone children, to church knows the struggle. Sadly, some weeks it can be a deterrent to even attending Mass. Other weeks it is so clear that we all need a little Jesus that nothing could keep us away. Still other weeks, it is something we are squeezing into our busy life.
We made it today. Praise Jesus.
William was William. He wiggles. He talks. He kicks his brothers. He tries, or succeeds, in ripping pages in the hymnal. He "reads" the book (usually upside down). He stacks the books. He lines them up. He pretends they are cars and makes motor sounds as he moves them along the pew. He sings when we are praying. He plays with my necklace. He stands. He sits. He lays down. He sucks his thumb. He's basically every 3 year old at church or at least the churches I have been in.
Today his Instigator came with us. The Instigator is not a cuddly stuffed animal with a funny nickname. Nor is it one of his brothers. I think you know who it is. It's his dad. Yup, the Instigator was present today. When the Instigator in in attendance I usually try to keep William with me. We are all better off for it. However after several minutes of squirming and previously identified church behaviors, Instigator decides to take over for a while. Instigator isn't much of a whisperer. He's more of a talk in a low man voice kind of guy. So he "whispers" into Will's ear "You have ants in your pants." To which William loudly says "I have ANTS IN MY PANTS?" Followed by "I have ants in my bottom" several times throughout Mass.
So I separated Will and Instigator for a while. Before long they were back together wherein Instigator looks over at me and non-whispers "Am I in trouble?" No. No 37 year old man, you are not in trouble because I am not your mother. But for the love of all that is good and Holy, please leave that kid alone during church. He gets into enough trouble on his own or with his brothers who poke at him the minute I get him sitting quietly for any period of time. Of course, that is only when they can distract themselves from playing with their Fitbits and trying to scam their step counter by slyly swinging their arms back and forth as if they are walking.
The kids measure the time in church by the songs. "How many songs left" starts about halfway through church. So we all made it to the last song without any additional notable events. Time for donuts. Everybody happily dodges their way through the crowds on the way to donuts until the Instigator denies them. WHAT?? No donuts? What do you mean we don't have time for donuts? Donuts are the bribe that gets everyone ready on Sunday mornings. They are the finish line. The light at the end of the tunnel. They are the end of our weekly faith journey. They are the reward for staying sane (me). They are the casual threat during church "Be good, or you aren't getting a donut." So there we went. Heads hung low, shoulders slumped, past the stairs that lead to the almighty Sunday morning sugar high. So long sticky fingers. So long spilled orange Kool-Aid that stains their upper lips. We hope to see you next week.
On the way home from dinner tonight we passed the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and Instigator asked if the dome was really gold. He said when he was young he always dreamt of flying a helicopter and stealing the dome. It's all starting to make sense now.