Thursday, April 08, 2010

I'm never going to mass again!

haha! That got your attention? I'm not serious, of course, I would never stop going to mass, but this is exactly what I wailed into my husband's voicemail from the church parking lot on Good Friday. Mass has gotten really, really rough. Tess is nearly two. She's not terrible in mass, for a toddler, but she does require constant shushing and distraction and the like, not to mention a lap (which I'm running out of) and strong pair of arms to keep her in place. Jack is having a *really* hard time in mass. He actually used to do better when he was younger, but now it's becoming more difficult for him. He's obviously overstimulated and needs constant coaching throughout the mass to behave. He doesn't take this coaching well from anyone but me. Kain, being 10, should be flying solo during mass, but he's really not most of the time. Every now and then he will have a really good run of it, but most of the time he needs at least *some* redirection during mass, like "Stop pretending to shoot people in the communion line" or "Stop kicking the kneelers over". Maria, of course, is just fine during mass and has been since she was four or so, and she can even help with the youngers, but only if they are in a mood to allow it. Sometimes they are not, and any effort on her part just makes it worse. This is where I was on Good Friday. Kain was rotten. Jack was rotten. Tess was rotten. None of them would take direction from Maria without protest, and John was working. Combine this with being very pregnant and very tired, and you'll not be surprised to find that even sitting in the Narthex was too much to handle. Eventually I was out in the van in tears, wailing into John's voicemail. And I meant it, at the time, I really didn't see how I was going to be able to manage mass at all once the baby arrived. There are just too many of them and not enough of us. First of all, I am often alone at mass. John works at least every third weekend. All weekend, 12 hour shifts, so no, we can't go in the evenings or anything instead either. When he is off, usually he will manage Tess and I will coach Jack and Kain along. It's not usually too bad. But when we have another baby to manage...and like I said, I'm often alone, and it's getting really bad. If Jack and Kain were "normal" 5 and 10 year olds...or if Jack would let Maria coach him along without falling apart...something's gotta give and I'm not really sure what. We do have a nursery. Jack is too old for it. It's for 1-3 year olds, so Tess would be the only one that could go, and really, I've never considered the nursery to be a very good option. You have to volunteer your time in there for one thing, and with our already crazy Sunday-ness that's just not an option. For another, they are often not open for different reasons and then you have to take them all with you to mass anyway. I've always felt like it's just better to kind of suck it up and plow through these seasons and teach them how to behave in mass by being in mass. The only thing I can think of is to go to separate masses. I really feel strongly about attending mass together as a family. But I don't know what else to do at this point.


scmom (Barbara) said...

I always find that Good Friday has its very own personal penance. No matter how hard I try, or how much I try to be open-minded, it catches me by surprise. I think Good Friday is just too much for satan and he goes into overdrive attacking our faith, and our family love.

Kelly said...

Aw Mel, I sympathize a great deal. I'm always alone at Mass with my 6 and while I don't have the challenges you have with your "special circumstances", it still isn't easy for sure. And for us, we stay sick so much during the fall and winter that we miss a lot of Mass due to illness - so the little ones have less practice and they seem worse always after we've missed a couple of weeks due to the flu or endless stomach bugs or whatever.

Things will change though - in 6 months, Tess may suddenly be great at Mass, or one of your older boys may have a "break through" and be able to handle it better... or Tess may decide that your oldest is God's special gift to her and she may want Maria to hold her all the way through Mass or something... you just never know.

I guess I'm just saying what my grandma always said "Don't go worrying about what's to come - no need to borrow tomorrow's trouble, cause today has enough trouble of its own." ;)

{{HUGS}} I sure miss you Mel!