This morning, we decided to be a bit ambitious and attend Mass with everyone in tow. The two little ones are not real keen on the nursery at this point anyway, and we were up for the challenge. Besides, Sunday is our "Family Day" so why not actually be in church together, right?
Well, I can give you a few reasons.
For example, before we were even seated, the baby had begun digging through her bag looking for her juice cup. This was followed by numerous pleas of "Pick me up!" or conversely, "Put me down!" or someone deciding to swipe the. very. last. tissue. and hold it just out of my reach to wipe her own snotty nose with it. I am sure there was a wonderful sermon today and fortunately, I had read the Gospel reading ahead of time because I'm also sure I didn't hear a single word of it. But the final straw came just as communion was about to begin; (you saw this coming, right?) Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the baby had unzipped my pocketbook and was trolling through it. No wonder she was so quiet. I signaled to my husband and we quickly grabbed receipts from Walgreens and the grocery store; the Blockbuster card and tube of lipstick--oh, and of course, the offending child. Fortunately, her dad picked her up at that point, because quite honestly, I was done. I felt tears beginning to well up in my eyes (must be those adoption hormones) and was about to lose it when I remembered something.
It was a conversation I had with my Grandma, shortly after my second child was born. I had gone to visit her and have lunch. She was pretty much homebound at that point and I lived out of state so opportunities to visit were rare. As we sat in her kitchen, I struggled trying to fix our lunches, carry on a conversation and keep two small children occupied and, more importantly, out of trouble. I persevered until the baby began to cry, actually it was more of a shriek; which in turn sent her overly anxious preschool brother running amok leaving me standing not knowing which way to turn first. Again, I was ready to throw in the towel, but when I forced my self to raise my head to mumble some sort of an apology---I noticed that Grandma was smiling.
Now, I didn't know what to say, and I certainly was not smiling; but then she spoke--
"You know. I remember these sounds in this house when your dad and his brother and sister were younger. Oh, and I remember what it felt like to stand in the midst of it all; but I'm telling you right now---I wish every day to hear the sounds of them running through this house again."
And then she smiled again.
So, after communion, while I sat snuggling my toddler, I didn' t even bat an eye when our three-year old insisted in a rather loud voice that she had to go potty not in a minute, but RIGHT NOW! I reflected back on the words of my Grandma, who passed away the week after that very same three-year old was born. Quickly, my thoughts shifted, and I thought about a time when my husband and I would no longer occupy an entire pew at church, but sit together, in a small, quiet (except for the bustle of young families around us) side pew. And as I sent our 8 year old to the ladies room with her younger sister, I smiled. And from somewhere, not so far away, I got the feeling that my Grandma smiled, too.
"Likewise, tell the older women to be reverent in behavior, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good managers of the household, kind, being submissive to their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited." Titus 2:3-5 NRSV