I Have Been That Mom

In my yearning for the Lord, I had hoped for a quiet Mass filled with contemplation. And what I got was a Mass filled with loud whispering right behind me.

“You be quiet!” the mom behind me whisper-yelled over and over at her kids. And the kids’ whispering and outright talking continued.

“Don’t turn around,” I told myself. Whether I wanted quiet or not, I couldn’t judge her. I have been that mom. 

One year, I was very intent on bringing my family to Good Friday service. Didn’t the Lord also die for kids? That service is always at least a couple of hours, but it’s filled with such interesting imagery that I was sure the kids wouldn’t be bored. But my little one was bored anyway. And she was getting tired. Tired kids don’t always get quieter. 
Sometimes they get louder.

I took her to the narthex. Another bored kiddo joined her, and soon the two were no longer bored but noisy. Before I could stop them, an older woman without kids marched over to me. 

“You are being rude to the entire Church!” she said.

Without a response to her, I scooped up my child, left the building and sobbed on a bench outside. I felt ashamed and unwanted. 

I have been that mom. 

The kids behind me at church asked their mom how long Mass would be. And then they asked other questions that made me think this family didn’t come to church that often. Was I going to turn around and make them never want to come back? No. The Lord died for these. 

I want my kids and that lady’s kids to keep coming to Mass so they eventually learn how to do it. And then when they know how, they’ll have their own kids to teach. If we pray for the Church to thrive, this is what it looks like. If we pray for our kids to remain Catholic, this is what it looks like. If we pray for conversions and for people who don’t usually come to Mass to start coming, this is what it looks like.

During the Eucharistic prayer, my own kiddo started to fall asleep and I put her down in the pew. The mom behind me said, “Aww, she’s tired!” “Me too!” said her son. “Me three!” said her daughter. 

Yep. Tired kids are louder sometimes.

I turned around for the first time and looked at the people in the pew behind me. I laughed and gave them a big smile. I want these kids and this mom to keep coming to Mass, even if they were a bit noisy that day. It takes a little practice. I know what it’s like. I’ve been that mom.

Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”