Published on CatholicMom.com
You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Song of Songs 4:7
A new family came into church the other day. It was just the mom and her three young children. My best guess is the kids were one, three, and five-years-old.
The layout of our church is almost theatre-in-the-round. When the mom chose a bench opposite ours, I had a direct view of this family for the entire Mass.
Her kids were dressed immaculately, right down to the completely straight part that divided the 3-year-old’s pigtails. But that’s where the “immaculate” part ended.
The mom looked a wreck. Her hair was thrown into a lopsided ponytail that was falling out. Her clothes were leggings and a long, rumpled t-shirt that may have been slept in.
She was too far away for me to see her facial expressions, but her body language said it all. Exhaustion and exasperation exuded from her as, time after time, she got up and down and in and out of the pew to grab her kids. Either they were climbing over the bench or running up and down the aisles for practically the whole Mass.
As I knelt at the Consecration, and glanced left and right to be sure my own kids were kneeling and praying for that miraculous moment, I finally understood why I was so fixated with this young family: We were them, and I was her years ago …