Friday, April 4, 2008

Taking Toddler to Church

This post reminded me of something I was going to write about regarding another memorable Easter Sunday mass a few weeks ago.

I have been going to our Catholic Church now since 1991. I love our pastor and this church so much that I became a eucharistic minister several years ago. All four of my kids have been baptized there, two have had their First Holy Communion, and one has been confirmed there. My better half and I officially had our church marriage there last year. So it stands to reason that we are long standing parishioners of the church.

When our church was built back in 1973 by our pastor who is still the current pastor, he tells us that he purposely did not build a "cry room" for the children of the church in the event that they make noise. The purpose of this was that he didn't want families to feel isolated from the rest of the congregation and that since Jesus welcomes everyone to His house noisy children should be included too.

He was smart enough, though, to add a balcony which has somehow grown to be the place where we take our children in the event that they are restless but still feel a part of the church. The regular parishioners know this and has been pretty much adapted as our own "cry room."

Which is why I am amused every Easter Sunday when people come to the church and have either never been to church before or have not been to this church before. This past Easter I was with my family up in the balcony because my littlest tiger still can't totally sit still in his seat. No problem. Except for the fact that when we went up to the balcony there was a couple sitting in front of us who were extremely agitated with our much so that they kept looking back at us with sour faces as if to tell us that somehow we didn't belong there because Tiger wouldn't sit down. He wasn't even making any noise but they could hear him doing the whole stand-sit-stand-sit ritual. But that didn't matter to me. How dare people come to God's church on the highest holy day of the church year and make nasty faces in judgement on myself or my children. Weren't we there to celebrate the rising of Jesus Christ our Savior King???? Hadn't we prepared ourselves for the past 40 days of Lent?

I celebrate this day with Easter Bunnies, candy, and colored eggs for my children and it is so festive for them. But I celebrate this day at Church because that is where I am called to be. I feel blessed on this day NOT angry. Why would others feel anger toward me? I am not sure of the answer.

Maybe that couple was never blessed with children to understand how difficult it can be to juggle taking little ones to church. Maybe they are not filled with grace so as to tolerate the children who are there brought by their parents to learn about the Lord.

I took the opportunity to pray for them that they would find grace and patience and perhaps that they would return to church next week to learn even more.

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