Friday, April 18, 2014

Holy Thursday: Why we go at bedtime with little ones

Holy Thursday Mass is my absolute favorite Mass of the year.  It was the first Mass I ever attended, back when I was an extremely wary of the Catholic Church and generally uninformed Protestant.  Even then, I saw the beauty in it, the reverence, and that it was the re-enactment of the Last Supper.  I wouldn't say that was the beginning of my journey to the Church because many things had happened before that got me to the place where I wanted to go see what a Mass was like.  However, it captured me, nonetheless, and put the wheels in motion to research what the Church was all about, and that got me to where I am today.

Pictures are completed unrelated to this post!

All this is to say how much I love Holy Thursday Mass.  If you know me then you know that schedules and babies going to sleep on time is very important to me.  This is THE Mass that I take toddlers and babies to even though it starts at their bedtime, the only Mass.  Yes, this makes the Mass somewhat not as enjoyable for me since I often have one or two tired little ones both wanting mommy due to their exhaustion.

A couple of years ago we found this church that is about 15 minutes away from our house.  It is small, quaint, and not modern which we love.  The church that we go to regularly is only 3 minutes from our house and therefore much more practical for our family and for daily Mass.  BUT on Holy Thursday we make the trip. (Ha! 15 minutes is hardly a trip, but it seems like one at bedtime with little ones!)  I feel badly for those sweet, faithful parishioners whose Holy Thursday Mass we destroy liven up.  Last night I wondered to myself if they now remember and dread our attendance.  I am going to go with, "Hopefully, not!" since all too often I am a bit egocentric.  Our kids are normally pretty well behaved in Mass (minus the wildcard Drew,) but at this time of night they are a little wigglier and whinier.

You always need pictures in a post, right?

This year it was two little ones both wanting mommy.  Judah was quiet but SUPER wiggly, trying to dive for the back of the pew so he could chew on it when we were standing.  Naturally I was trying to stop him.  He is really strong, by the way.  Then he went to sleep in the Ergo right after the end, of course.   Drew wanted me.  Brian spent the whole Mass trying to keep him quiet and ended up taking him out to the foyer for the last half.  The foyer at this church is the size of a closet and not sound proof.  Twice he had to step outside to quiet him.  Isaac decided to abandon his pursuit of holiness about the time Brian took Drew into the foyer which left me to bounce Judah in the Ergo while correcting Isaac for not kneeling or facing the front.  All the while I was trying my darnedest to absorb as much of the beauty as possible.  Did I mention there were three other children all in different families and at least four years old.  We kinda stuck out like a sore thumb even though we've became a back pew family.  We have Drew to thank for that.

Then came the procession.  I explained at the back of the procession to Isaac how important it was to me for him to just be respectful while we went to pray before our Lord for five minutes.  FIVE.  I reminded him that he was trying to be holy.  We walk into the room they have prepared in the parish center.  Isaac loudly flops down on the floor with a look of utter despair and says, "I'm bored," thankfully, not too loudly.  We pray while Drew is in Brian's arms trying to get my attention so he can beg me to rescue him.  (He's such a Daddy's boy when it isn't bedtime or Mass-time.)  We leave and I try to get Judah into his car seat without too much waking and crying while I try my best to let go of my disappointment.   I too am a sinner.  They are just kids.  God loves us no matter what.  He is pleased with our efforts even if I wasn't able to focus most of the Mass.  So, no I don't regret going.  I regretted it for only a moment at 2:30am when my normally sleeping through the night almost 8 month old woke up possibly due to a disrupted schedule.

P.S.  Drew and Genna got their feet washed.  Drew was super excited about that part and talked (loudly) about it all the way up until the time to do it.

Mental note: Do more preparation of what to actually expect at the Holy Thursday Mass next year with the kids that can understand.  I assumed they would remember and behave like usual.  Assumptions!

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