At the gentle urging of my wonderful wife, I bring my 5 year-old and 2 year-old to 10am mass. You know what’s coming–bedlam among the pews. For those interested I’ve chronicled the debacle below. Amen.
Bedecked in a proper cardigan, pressed shirt, sensible jeans and plaid Vans, I pack my youths into the Odyssey. Ten and two on the wheel, a hair under the speed limit, I entertain what’s to come: a reasonable sermon from our Russian-inflected Padre. He’s hard to understand but he means well. I wonder if he’s from Chernobyl?
Typical of calamity, things begin harmlessly. Reese lovingly carries her baby doll into church. Jack sees some CCD friends, gives them a wave. A few adults admire my kids. We get good seats. Settled. Usher in the Russian Padre…
This is where I break churchgoer law, a venial sin–I laugh out loud at what Jack’s doing. My laughter, a singular act, innocuous in any other setting, gives birth to the coming horror. Jack’s raising Reese’s baby doll above his head in mock adoration, his eyes slitted, his smile Nicholsonian. Then he offers this plastic Simba an off-key hallelujah! I’m beside myself. A few adults snicker.
Suffocating my laughter I glance at Reese. She smiles knowingly, seeing my guard is down. All bets are off as she books it to the end of the pew. She’s quick as hell–I can’t get to her! She’s loose! Jack takes it upon himself to chase and ultimately tackle his sister in the House of God. So, this is how things are going for me right now–my two delinquents are pew escapees, toppling over one another in the nave, prostrate creatures on display. I pick them up as if they’re loose meat sandwiches and retreat to the vestibule.
I consider leaving, just get in the car and go, but I truly feel like I could benefit from the Eucharist right now, so I ride out this hellish campaign all the way. In time, we’re given access to the altar when something occurs to me–I’m in the perfect place to ask for forgiveness for my unruly offspring! On our way out I genuflect in front of St. Joseph’s statue, questioning, “How was Jesus as a kid? Was he as much of a pain in the ass as my kids? Probably not, considering his reputation. Ok, anyway, pray for us sinners.”