February 1, 2012: Catholic Schools Mass
Today was mass at St. Wenceslaus for Catholic Schools Week. By my calculations, I have been to this annual mass about 14 times since Zach invited me as his "special guest" the winter of 1999 of his kindergarten year. Having my sixth grader and youngest child, Grant, wait anxiously at the church door for me is one of those moments that all mothers cherish; our kids still excited to have us in their presence. This will certainly be a distant memory a year from now as he teeters on his thirteenth birthday. But for today, I will hold this memory in my heart.
As he enthusiastically pulled me along up the stairs ("We're in the balcony, Mom"), he informed me that I could choose our seats. I attend many school masses, but this is the only one of the year where I am allowed to sit by my child. A treat for me and seemingly, Grant too. We choose an empty section. Soon a mom of Grant's buddy with baby in tow sits in front of us. I spend quite a bit of time entertaining the adorable tot, much to Grant's enjoyment as well. I kept catching Grant out of the corner of my eye; grinning as I played with his friend's baby brother. No embarrassment here...yet <sigh>. During the Our Father, he grabbed my hand with no hesitation and squeezed my hand back after I gave him the first affectionate squeeze.
As I look down at the many families in church this morning, I was a bit tearful as I sang the hymns. There really is no better gift than the gift of acceptance and the feeling of love. I felt this from Grant, but I also felt it from the many familiar faces that sat around me. Some I have known since that winter of 1999 and others I have only shared a glance or a smile, but know we share a commonality with our children and with our Church. I also felt a bit of nostalgia as I saw several parents of Zach's friends and thought of years past when our now college-aged kids were holding ours hand during the Our Father. It was good to share a smile or a hug with my tenured comrades as we joined our kids for a donut following the service ("Mom...Mom, can I have your donut? Please????"). So, yes, an ordinary day and an ordinary morning on my 14th annual appearance at St. Wenceslaus Catholic School's Week mass....but it sure was a great way to start my very ordinary Wednesday.