We went to the Last Chance Mass on Sunday – 6pm. For us Catholics, keeping the Sabbath holy means getting to mass on Sunday. (We also strive to rest, meditate, do good deeds, spend time with family . . . but most importantly – get your ass to mass!)
Because it was the Last Chance Mass, it was also the “Come as You Are” Mass. In other words – jeans are fine. Just wipe the peanut butter off the kids and strap them in the car seat because we gotta go.
Please know: this is not a complaint. I love going to mass. I love it. I love the fellowship, I love the mystery, the prayer . . . I love spending time with my Jesus surrounded by my family. I am a Catholic by birth, yes. More importantly, I am a Catholic by choice.
One of the things I LOVE about my tribe is that we have so many opportunities to get to mass. You can go late Saturday, early Sunday, not-so-early Sunday, noon Sunday, or Late Sunday. This week, we chose late Sunday.
Because our kiddos are little, we generally split our masses. Greg likes going late Sunday, I like going Sunday morning. That way we don’t always have to take the 5 year old & 2 year old. To kids that age, a 45 minute mass is eternity. If a certain priest is giving the homily, make that eternity plus 15 minutes. (Sorry Father, but it’s the truth.)
This week, we didn’t divide and conquer. We took everybody.
When we take whole family, my husband goes into the pew first. The 8 year old is next. Then the 5 year old, me & the 2 year old bring up the rear. We kneel and say a pre-mass prayer. At this point the 5 year old – who will never admit to being tired under any other circumstance – is suddenly exhausted. He immediately lies down on my lap. The 8 year old will decide that sitting upright is too much of an effort, so he leans against my other side. The 2 year old then proceeds to climb me like a jungle gym. Meanwhile, my husband is sitting a little apart, comfortably listening to the readings.
When it’s time to stand, I pick up 2 year old and nudge the older boys reluctantly to their feet. Then 2 year old decides he’s had enough and shimmies down. As soon as his feet touch the terrazzo floor, he begins to climb again. And on we go.
We’re not unique – look around and every family with small children is doing some variation of the same dance.
This Sunday, there was a new twist to the mass dance.
As 5 year old leaned and 2 year old climbed, my jeans started to scoot south. I hitched them up as best as I could, retrieved 2 year old from his 10 seconds on the floor and tried to listen to the gospel. Bored with his 20 seconds in my arms, 2 year old climbed down again. And took my jeans with him.
My 2 year old literally pulled my pants off during mass.
That means that half the church plus the choir loft saw my blue-polka-dot-boy-shorts from Lane Bryant.
Thank GOD I didn’t wear a thong.