Saturday we went to the evening Mass. We don’t usually choose to go on Saturday evening, but we did this week because my husband worked this weekend. Why don’t we usually choose Saturday evening? Well, because it falls right during our usual dinner time for one. But mostly because our parish does not offer childcare in their nursery for the Saturday evening Mass. My older two do fairly well during Mass now, but at barely two years old, Sis is just, um difficult to wrangle for an hour. So she usually goes to the nursery.
I’ll spare you the details of trying to keep her contained while she was saying the whole time, “I cazy! I cazy!” and trying to hang upside-down on my lap. We’re not the first parents to manage a two-year-old through a Mass, nor was this the first time we had her in the service.
But, this was the first time for us to go up to receive communion as a family. Having only one previous experience of receiving the Eucharist, in a serene and peaceful and lovely moment with my husband while not juggling three children, I was extremely nervous about doing it with all three of them in tow.
I was a little nervous that my eldest, my super curious girl, would be begging the whole time, “Let me see! Can I have some?” I was a little nervous that my sweet middle daughter, who chose that day to skip her still much-needed nap, would have a minor meltdown in the middle of the aisle, or worse, at the feet of the communion minister. But mostly I was worried about handling my littlest.
I had practiced receiving communion during RCIA, but never using the open-mouth technique as would be required by someone holding a baby or small child (I think??? They didn’t teach us about this), so I wasn’t comfortable doing it that way. But I was scared that, as soon as I let go of Sis so I could properly accept the Eucharist with two hands, she would run off and do who-knows-what in the few seconds I’d need to, with proper reverence, receive communion. I did not want to take any chances with her running around people holding consecrated hosts and wine. Surely I’m not the only person to have felt this dilemma?
Let’s just say the second time receiving communion was a little bit different from the first.
So. You’re wondering, what did I do?? Well of course I held her hand as we walked to the front of church (she was pulling me with all her might the whole way). And when we got there? I pulled her in front of me and squeezed her between my knees to hold her in place while I used two hands to receive the Body of Christ. I am no artist, and I certainly cannot render a drawing like Heather of Mama Knows, Honeychild, but here’s my attempt at providing a visual of the moment:
Yes. A bit different from the first time. But it was still just wonderful. I love being Catholic.