I would like to say we were at Sunday Vespers to pray before the Blessed Sacrament and participate in the 40 Hours of Devotion at our parish because I totally have my act together as a good Catholic mommy. However, the fallen human truth is, we were there because I forgot to bring my daughters to Confession the day before, which put us already two weeks behind our once a month commitment to receive the sacrament. I’d abruptly ordered the girls into the car so we could get to church on time.
When I tapped my ten-year old on the shoulder and motioned for her to stop mopping the floor with her hair, the slant she shot me as she slung her head up from between her knees indicated she was at capacity for restraint. I forgot to tell them there was a long service in a language they couldn’t understand before Confessions were heard, and her eye-daggers said enough.
“Mom, what gives?”
The seven year old was asleep on my shoulder. The nine-year old was flapping her hands on the pew three feet away. But you know what? That was the worst of it. Pretty in their pink dresses, they made it through the hour and fifteen minutes without incident. Then they stood in the Confession lines for another thirty minutes. Then, as usual, they came out from behind the curtain beaming from ear to ear, nearly skipping with happiness over to a kneeler to say their penitential prayers. And, as usual, I grinned at the sight of their bowed heads, wondering what sins they had just admitted to the poor priest.
Outside they sprang to life in the long rays of evening sunshine, warmth we haven’t felt in six months. I almost thought nothing of it all, but in the car, I made a point to praise them. “Girls, I’m proud of you for knowing what you were supposed to do, proud of you for not complaining, proud of you for recognizing the importance of worshiping Christ. Your reverence was your way of worshiping even if you didn’t know the words. Good job.”
Some country tune played on the radio when I turned the key, something about “cruisin’ with the wyndows douwn.” They burst into a song I didn’t know they knew, and I obliged by, in fact, rolling the windows down. We squealed together, our souls clean and spirits soaring. It was perfect. I thank God children have such beautiful Catholic experiences. We rarely do things perfectly, because we aren’t perfect, but Christ showers us with graces abundantly, sometimes just for trying.
[Safety note: No mothers were driving during the production of the selfie.]