Sunday, February 22, 2009
The Meowing Toddler in Church
Some days, our little one is quiet in church. Others, I feel the grey hairs springing up as I struggle to keep her noise down to a minimum. This morning, still in a partying mood from her little cousin’s birthday party last night, she sang “Frosty the Snowman” on our way to church. We knew we were in for trouble.
I get so distracted trying to keep her shennagans to a minimum, that sometimes I wonder why I even bother. But, when we were asked to go to a birthday breakfast this morning, we knew we couldn’t skip Mass for it. Attending Mass together is the one thing we are committed to doing together as a family. It is my husband’s only day off from work, and he likes to sleep late. We seldom arrive quite on time for the 11:00 Mass. But the ushers know we will be there, and often have six seats ready for us when we walk in the door.
Attending Mass together sets the tone for the entire week. Without it, something is off. Although I will rarely hear all, or even most, of the homily, I pick up bits and pieces; morsels that I really needed and thus was meant to hear. Joining hands to say The Lord’s Prayer and sharing the sign of peace, not to mention receiving the Holy Eucharist, are highlights of the experience.
My daughter was in rare form today. She started in as soon as we got into our pew, refusing to allow me to take off her coat. “No Mommy! I do it!” The best thing to do at this point is to leave her be. People staring at us probably are wondering why I don’t do something. My not touching her is preventing a bigger scene, please believe me. I really wish I could be invisible as her little voice crescendos during the most quiet parts of the Mass.
She was a really chatter-box today, her voice sweet and little as she talked to herself. I have to continually poke and stare at the older children to not provoke her into more obvious silliness. I only thought her meowing was not too awful when it became the low growl of a tiger – all in good fun, of course.
By the time the homily was over, she had decided she wanted to rest in my arms and be quiet. I tried to forget all she’d put me through in the past half hour, and buried my nose in her soft hair.
“People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them, and when the disciples saw this, they rebuked them.
Jesus, however, called the children to himself and said, "Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it." "
Luke 18:15-17 (NAB)
Painting above by Robert Campin 1375-1444 Netherlandish Painter
Virgin and Child in an Interior Oil on oak, National Gallery,London