Then I became a parent.
That little life sucking being, whom I love and adore, and would gladly chop off my right arm for, can sometimes be a real pill. Sometimes that pill can spill beyond the comforts of my home. Sometimes my bag of tricks just doesn't quite cut it when it comes to places like the grocery store, on an airplane, and my latest most dreaded place to go - church.
You see, in the last year Scott and I have transitioned from going straight to the cry room (in my world it's also known as 'the penalty box') before church even begins, to immediately joining the rest of the congregation. We believe we are at the point where Marcus needs to learn that there is a time and place where he must act like a civilized human being. The penalty box is kind of a free for all, and that's not teaching Marcus why we are at church.
We attend the 'children's mass,' which would lead one to believe it would be a welcoming environment for families with kids. It is. If your children sit stone still and don't utter a peep. Asking me for a peep-less-hour filled with sitting still is basically like asking me to tame a stampeding heard of hungry elephants.
The bag of stuff I bring to church is ridiculous. The number of "quiet" games and toys I'm able to pack, along side the cornucopia of snacks in my purse is comical. My purse is the tiny clown car where clown after clown pile out; I just keep pulling stuff from the purse with no end in sight.
I'm not alone in the struggle. Two of my good friends attend the same Mass, and each of my friends has two kiddos to keep entertained (God bless those parents with multiple kids - for real). We band together, the group of moms (plus Scott), trying to do our best to keep the kids happy and quiet. But, we have our days. Believe me when I say we know when people in the congregation are less than thrilled with our presence. On multiple occasions we've been on the receiving end of nasty looks, heads shaking, and scoffs, most obviously intended for us. Either these people have never had children, forgot what it's like to have children, or are simply holier than thou.
There was even a Mass where one of the priests spoke during the homily about how children should act in church…
The one place where we should feel the most welcomed is often one of the least welcoming places I visit.
I've begged Scott to skip just. one. Sunday. I've made my case that the only thing I get from Mass is sweaty arm pits (because I'm so freaking stressed out) and communion right before we make a mad dash for the exit.
If we skip church what are we teaching Marcus? That poor behavior gets a 'free pass' from places we might not want to go? That sitting still and remaining quiet aren't sometimes social necessities? That when people make us feel uncomfortable we should run and hide?
We will keep going. And someday (God help me) Mass we will enjoyable again.
Lastly, to any parent to whom I at one time rolled my eyes, or grumbled words that didn't raise you up or encourage you as you drudged through the trenches of your most difficult parenting days, I truly am sorry. Please forgive me.
Now I get it.
If I see you weary eyed and stumbling along in the store, on a plane, or even in church, I'll likely be one of the first to offer a toy car, a bag of goldfish, or maybe even the coveted Dum Dum sucker (I'm not above pulling one of those out for five minutes of sanity, don't judge). I can only hope that others, parents or not, will take note and follow suite.
Bringing our little
|We'll get there, little man. It may take several years of uncomfortable Sundays, but we'll get there.|