Over the past week our family has spent a great deal of time in church. Will had his foot washed as part of the Maundy Thursday Mass as the altar servers took on the role of the 12 apostles. If I had known, I would have made him scrub his feet beforehand in the tub. Of course, being a Traditional Latin Mass, there were no women taking off their shoes, just 12 boys all wearing black socks and black shoes. I was grateful that I had bought him new socks and shoes a few weeks ago, the soles of his old church shoes separated from the tops during Mass, even after my attempt to superglue them back together. Luckily I found a great pair (size 7, my baby is now wearing men's shoes!) at the thrift shop for $2. Friday afternoon found us sitting in our usual pew for 3 hours and of course we repacked the tote bag with religious coloring books and crayons for Easter Sunday morning.
Julia Ellen and I spent about half of the service on Friday and Sunday in our new church building's cry room, a good-sized room with huge glass windows and plenty of chairs in the back of the sanctuary. The sound system doesn't pick up much of the service, except the homily, but it is far preferable to standing in the vestibule or sitting in the classroom watching the service on TV like we were doing before. Of course, my squirmy, fussy thing automatically transforms herself into idyllic toddler as soon as we set foot inside the cry room. Who wouldn't want to cling to their mother when in the midst of fussing and screaming angst of 10 short people? Perhaps there could be a middle ground, a space where non-perfectly behaving children might go so their mothers don't have to distract folks in adjacent pews, but one that doesn't require parents to subject themselves to listening to everyone else's tots who are much more ill behaved. (It is just the age, I have seen many children exhibit the ugliest behavior in Mass transform into genteel little people in just a few years).
I figure that between all my children, I have only physically been present during the entire Mass a handful of times (we converted when Will was not yet 1). While I am grateful our parish has a cry room (when we attended Mass at Sacred Heart in NC the only options were the sanctuary or outside), I will be grateful when our youngest is able to sit on the kneeler and color quietly for 90 minutes so I can stay in our pew and hear all of the Mass.