I am not a fan of Saturday night Mass. I much prefer to go on Sunday morning when I am fresh and happy. The problem with Saturday night Mass is that it starts at 6 p.m. In my home, 6 p.m. is usually the time in which I snap. It is the time that my patience with children has worn thin. 6 p.m. is not good around these here parts and if I ever comit a crime you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be at 6 p.m. No doubt.
Another reason I do not enjoy Saturday night Mass is because it is the children's Mass. This means that there are little kids singing and playing musical instruments. I don't mean to be mean because I know very well how difficult it is to get up in front of an entire Church full of people and perform, but the singing is bad and the music is worse. Usually it sounds like an animal is being sacrificed to God up in the Choir area.
And another thing. I have been going to Catholic Mass for, lets see now... MY ENTIRE LIFE! Why do choir directors think it is a good idea to "introduce" a new song to the congregation at the Children's Mass? It would be so much easier if she stuck to the old faithfuls so that the congregation might have a fighting chance at drowning out the children's choir. Instead, we all hold our Glory and Praise books and try to follow along with the melody to a new song that none of us have ever heard before. There is a time and place for change (The Political Campaigns for example...) but Saturday night Mass is not one of them.
Last night we had to go to Saturday night Mass. My husband had to work today (yes, working on the Lord's day... not laying about watching the SuperBowl 12 hour pre-show.) One of the reasons why 6 p.m. is not good for me is because our 4 year old is in rare form at this time of night. Maybe it is because the sugar from the day has finally kicked in, or maybe it is because she is a vampire and only comes alive after sun-down... I don't know. The baby is always a peach in the evening as well. This could be because her bedtime is 6:30 p.m. so she knows she is fightging a losing battle and she is going out like Billy the Kid with her guns a blazin'. She can be the most pleasant sweet child all day long, but come 6 p.m. and she is a squirming, squealing, let me pull you hair and stick my finger up your nose, type of baby.
Last night was no exception and the two little ones were a handful. We were that family in Church that you talk about once you get into the safety of your own car. "Did you see that little girl? She was naughty! Can you believe that mother spanked her right there in the middle of the Consecration? What is this world coming to? This is America's future... Lord help us all."
I could have sold Emma last night to the lowest bidder. There was one point in the Mass when I was holding my hand over her mouth and she kept speaking with a loud voice saying "I AM HUNGRY!" She told me she didn't like me, she told me I was mean, she even told me that my butt looked big in my pants. While all of this was happening, I was holding a squirming, grunting, squealing baby. One that didn't want to be held and only wanted to stand up and look at the people behind her and suck on the kneelers. She pulled my hair, she lifted my shirt up so that the people behind me could see my lovely nursing bra strap and she ripped a chunk of skin off of my nose when she was trying to stick her fingers up it.
Eventually my husband took the baby out and I pulled the 4 year old close and threatened her within an inch of freedom. This did not stop her, children know there is safety in crowds. No way would a mom spank a child in front of all of these witnesses. What a small child does not realize is that eventually they will no longer have the safety and protection of the crowd around them and they will be home, in their bedroom with a sore butt and no dinner.
These are the moments when I simply apologize to God. This was my prayer last night... "I am sorry for not paying one bit of attention today... but I am trying here Lord. I have got to get some points for trying. Also Lord, I would think that I would get some Big points for my amazing composure throughout this ordeal... this ordeal with YOUR CHILDREN I might add. I mean, c'mon God, you would think that you could help out a little at Mass with these kids. Put your big hand on them and tell them to sit down and shut up. Something Lord. A little help would be much appreciated right now. Oh, and can you please always make sure they are protected and safe from evil... because I do love them very much, but right now I want to cry and run screaming from this pew. Forgive me for the alcohol I will be consuming after Mass tonight, and please forgive me for those thoughts about my mother-in-law earlier today. Yes, I know I am supposed to be nice. I am trying. In Your name I pray."
When we got home Emma did get a spanking. We talked. I told her that her big sister Hope only got ONE spanking from being naughty at Mass. She learned her lesson quick. Her brother Aaron received a spanking for 5 years straight after every Mass. Some people take longer to catch on. Emma says that this will be her first and last spanking ever. Let's hope she is right.
So, next time you see a mom and dad in Mass having a time of it with little children, don't gasp or click your tongue in judgement for the poor job you may think those parents are doing. Instead say a prayer for them, and if you see them out at the bar after Mass, by all means buy them a drink! They'll need it!