On Sunday evening Will was supposed to serve his first Novus Ordo Mass. However, he had been asked a few days before if he could compete in the Red Jacket Regatta in Rockland, a small boat sailing race for youth. Tim drove down to pick him up early so he could get to Mass on time, but when he arrived, due to the lack of wind, Will was all the way across the harbor. While the sacristan was understanding of the circumstances, I hope that next week's Mass will go a little more smoothly. For in addition to Will's absence, Mary asked if we could sit in the back pew and that was a huge mistake.
I won't go into all the details, because that would be gossip just for the sake of being nasty, but the family sitting in front of us made our family, with the smaller children drawing pictures on their bulletins and Julia Ellen drawing in my tiny notebook through Mass looked angelic in comparison. But I'll just say that there were large quantities of toys, wailing, chatting by the grownups, and Playdough was almost ground into the carpet. The woman who was sitting beside them leaned over at the end of Mass and said, "Are these your children?" "Well, it is a few of them (Timmy went with Tim to pick up Will)." "They are so well behaved and so nice looking." At this point there was a little whispering from behind me because the children knew that I would stop at the store on the way home. I waited a moment until the priest exited the church and then explained,"If they get a compliment then they get doughnuts."
Now, I've always been one of those middle-of-the-road moms when it comes to little children and Mass, I've brought religious coloring books, bags of Cheerios, sippy cups of water, holy cards to organize in a little picture album to keep them occupied and quiet. I've rarely seen any horror shows depicted on the internet of kids bringing McDonald's Happy Meals into the cry room, screaming fits that go on through the entire homily, or Nintendo games played during the Consecration. But as I told Mary after informing her that it was all her fault for begging me to sit in the back, we will be sitting up front in the future. After 14 years of taking unruly children out of church, spending most Sunday mornings in the cry room, training babies to be quiet for the sake of those around them, I refuse to subject myself to someone else's poor parenting during Mass.