My mother told me once, “There were a lot of Masses when you girls were little that we didn’t get much out of.” This week was one of those for me. To wit:
1: Processional Cross A
Because I walk with the toddler, I’m always the last one into church. I shepherd Michael through his attempt to saturate every piece of clothing in the baptismal font, and we start toward the pews to discover Julianna wrestling with the cross bearer, who gives me a panicked look of desperation. “Mah-ee, I wah kay-ee!” (I want to carry.)
2. Before Mass
While I’m coordinating logistics with the singers, Michael tests the stability of our guitarist’s stand. You are perhaps not surprised to learn that a toddler’s fingers can, indeed, fit between guitar strings.
I’m sitting beside the piano playing my flute when Michael decides he’s a lumberjack and Daddy’s microphone stand looks like a tree. I stomp on the weighted base and then wrap him between my feet and reel him back in. All those Jazzercise leg exercises are good for holding a toddler captive while I finish playing. (Also a good reason to wear slacks to church.)
4. Budding Sound Engineer
We are singing “On That Holy Mountain” at Communion, Christian and I doing the duet, when Michael takes a plunge from my arms. While I’m singing I cannot fight the force of 30 pounds of child determined to escape, so I let him down and he holds my hand. Until he senses his opportunity. I turn a page, and I don’t quite connect that he’s left my side until I see his hand on the slide control for the guitars, and rapidly edging toward screaming feedback zone. I have two seconds’ worth of rests, so I lunge forward and correct the damage. My turn to sing again. Twisting my head toward the mic, I start singing as I step backward into place. Except Alex has decided he has to intervene with Michael, too, and his leg is right in my way. Mid-solo I trip and stagger back into line.
5. Processional Cross B
Mass ends at last; with only half an hour between Masses, we start resetting for the next group. Six minutes later we draw breath and do the obligatory Kid Head Count. Where’s Julianna? Someone points. She’s up in the sanctuary, behind the altar, trying valiantly to liberate the processional cross from its stand. It’s at a 45-degree angle and dropping by the millisecond. I decide this is an acceptable excuse for skipping the reverent bow before vaulting into the sanctuary area.
“You know,” I say to Christian as we walk out of church, “I think the kids just wrote my entire 7 Quick Takes post in one hour.”
Lest you think I’m a horrible mother for this series of craziness, you should know that we had a verrrrrrry long day on Saturday. One playground + two sets of cousins + a holiday light display + camel and pony rides = out of control Sunday morning.
You’re a superstar! I think trying to get through mass with kids is hard without trying to provide music for the service at the same time.
Wow…Michael is 30 pounds? Holy moly…Vincent is only 24 pounds!
My hat’s off to you for continuing to serve the parish in the liturgy while wrangling your kids….Craig and I simply gave up the liturgical ministries we did until our youngest is something like…8? 9? Who knows with Vincent?!?
Gail once told me that even through misbehaving children, the miracle happens. For several years, I sadly didn’t sing as corralling our 5 kids was too much. Now, they all sing with us (except the crabby teenage girl), and it’s wonderful!!!