It’s total silence, as I walk into the room with Josie on my hip and holding Joey’s hand. I say a silent prayer, hoping my children will be quiet for one hour, knowing it will never happen. Then we sit down in the pew and the “Sunday marathon” begins.
I love going to church on Sunday, I always have. When I was young and single, I spent many Sundays on my knees, praying to God to give me children. He answered my prayers. I have two adorable, kind, caring, sweet children, 5-year old Joey & 2-year old Josie. But they are not quiet. They are talkative, energetic and strong-willed, just like their mother. Plus, Josie is a toddler, she thinks “no” means “yes,” and she thinks “shh, be quiet” means “talk louder.” I love how they both sing, and talk all the time. But for one hour on Sunday, I look around the room, and I’m pretty sure my two children are the only two making noise. And while I watch kids sitting nicely and in complete silence on their parents laps, I start to worry that I’m doing something wrong. Why can’t I keep my kids still and quiet? Even though it’s not easy, as a single mom, taking my two little ones to church alone, I do it every Sunday. God is the center of our lives. We talk about him and pray to him daily. So going to church is something I’m determined to do for my little family. And those moments, when I feel like a complete failure as a parent because my children aren’t sitting quiet and still, small amazing moments happen. Life changing moments. Like when we say ‘Our Father’ and I watch as my children hold the hand of a stranger and pray. My heart overflows with joy when it’s time to shake hands and say “peace” and my children go out of their way to shake the hand of every person in sight.
And they continue shaking hands, even when that part of the mass is over. And then, just when I almost gave up hope, wondering if the mass would ever be better for us, my 5-year old son does something I’ve never seen before. As I was receiving communion and the children were being blessed by the Priest, Joey reached up, touched Father on the shoulder and said “Jesus loves you.” And after mass, little Joey walked out to the manger scene, knelt down and bowed his head. He did it for baby Jesus lying in the manger. He did it all on his own. Later, Father told Joey that he made his day, when he said “Jesus loves you.” Father put his hand on his heart and said, “I’ve never had any child do that before.” In that instant I knew the “Sunday marathon” is worth it. My kids aren’t perfect. I’m not perfect. And it’s okay. Because we are perfect in the eyes of our Father in Heaven. So we will keep on going every Sunday, because it is making a difference in our lives, it is having an impact. And I know someday I’ll look back and miss these days. When my hair is gray and my children are grown, I’ll give a look of reassurance to the mother who is juggling two children in church and trying to keep them quiet. I’ll give her a nod and a smile, letting her know that I understand and that to me it isn’t noise, or disruptive. To me it’s the sound of a mom who is trying her best to teach her children what is most important in life.