Lately, I’ve been trying to attend mass more often than I have been in the past couple of years. We decide to start our day off earlier than normal and try out the 9:00 am mass. I walk in and am greeted by two young children handing out programs. We exchange smiles and “good mornings”. On my way to our usual spot I shift around little ones taking one slow step at a time, I stop abruptly to let siblings run by, and I find myself cooing at babies held over shoulders.
The 9:00 am mass= kiddo mass. As I look around, it seems to be a popular choice among families with young children. It makes perfect sense. The whole time I am distracted by these children around me, but in a wonderful way. Every reading is done by a child, the gifts are gathered by a group of children, and donations are brought up by toddlers. Toddlers! A boy in his pjs running with a loaf of bread is just destined to make your Sunday a great one. The whole mass was organized by children and it made my heart so happy to see. I loved seeing the ownership these children had and how proud they were of their little community. The one thing that stuck with me the most was what I observed happening at the first pew.
A toddler girl, in her colorful tutu and big headband, kneeled on her mother’s lap. She sang to her mom, asked her mom questions, and demanded for more fruit snacks. The mother patiently responded to her daughter and gently placed her in the seat next to her. The toddler than leaped back onto her mother’s lap, throwing the poor mom backwards. She moved her head to the side to avoid the collision. The little girl then continued to poke and prod at her mother’s face. She touched her ears and shifted her whole body to the side to look inside her ear. She clasped her mom’s face between her hands to shove it backwards, you know, to get a good look inside her nostrils. She pet her mother’s curly hair and then touched her own. After each examination, she looked at her mom and asked a question in gibberish. Mom just replied with a reassuring nod and continued to be poked and thrown around by her two year old. As I’m watching this, my own mother sat next to me. I thought about the little girl and how mesmerized she was by her mother. She observed every little detail about her. I’m sure I did the same thing when I was able to roll onto my mother’s lap. Even when I’m not able to physically be in her lap to poke and prod at her physical features, I’ve grown by observing her. I’ve grown up asking her questions about life and seeking her advice. I’m thankful that she has let me poke and prod her life with open arms and that she has been patient with me because I’ve sure learned a lot from her.