Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cry Room Chronicles XXI

Lucy has been getting in some new teeth, so she wakes up a couple of times in the night. Consequently, she's been sleeping in lately. Today she got up around 7:40, which meant there was no way to make it to 8 a.m. Mass. So we went to the 9:30 Mass.

We arrived early for once (we left extra early to go to the grocery store; since the temperature was in the 30s/40s we didn't have to worry about the milk going bad). Being bold, we went into the main church and sat in front of the choir's risers. Unfortunately this Mass only had a limited repertoire of musicians and singers--an pianist, a flutist, and four singers. Jacob and Lucy were interested in them but were also very chatty and not fully distracted. We headed to the cry room just as the first reading started. I'm sure we'll have the ambition to try staying in the church again in the future, but not next week.

The Children's Chapel was quite full. I counted 13 children and 12 adults. Occasionally someone would walk by the glass door with a small child but not come in. Most of the kids in there were well behaved. Jacob resumed his usual habit of picking a book off the shelf and reading to himself more or less out loud. Lucy wandered a little bit but didn't play with anything. No interactions of interest happened between any of the children. Even during the sign of peace, things were pretty sedate. We finally headed upstairs for communion. I forgot to bring change for the poor box. Angie had some coins so Lucy and Jacob did the family duty. Jacob didn't asked to stay in the church after communion. I guess he remembered that the musicians were few and had enough of them at the beginning of Mass.

Even though the kids were well behaved, they were still noisy and a little distracting during the sermon. Father spoke about having a sense of God's time as opposed to our own sense of time. We want to rush and do things and not be idle. God allows for some waiting and quiet times. Father must have said more about that but it didn't stick with me, due to distraction. I was a little bummed, because I was hoping for a good nugget to start Advent. If anyone has any good nuggets to share, I'm all ears!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cry Room Chronicles XX

For our twentieth chronicle, we are proud to present our first field reporter: She took Jacob into the sanctuary at the beginning of Mass so he could enjoy the 9:30 Contemporary choir:

As a visitor to the Reninger household this weekend, I was privileged to attend church with them.  As grandmother, I wanted take Jacob to the pew in front of the musicians so he could watch them to his heart's content.  A family moved over to make room for us on the end.  Jacob was inching closer to the family so he could get a better view of the instruments.  I realized that I would have to use my body as a shield to protect the family from Jacob's encroachment and accidental kicks.  I was getting tired of turning around and dragging him back to our end of the pew.  That was making it difficult for me to concentrate on the prayers and focus on worship.  Jacob did fine throughout the sermon.  He spoke softly a couple of times and responded well when I reminded him to whisper.  Just prior to the collection, Jacob announced that he wanted to go to the room with the books.  He was heading out of the pew when I grabbed him from behind with an across-the-body rescue grip.  I held him on my lap and gave him money for the collection.  That kept his interest for an additional 5 minutes, after which we left for the children's worship room.

Meanwhile, downstairs in the Children's Chapel (also known as "the room with the books"), Lucy was playing shy with the other children, who were mostly sitting quietly with parents. One poor boy was crying so much his dad took him out of the room. Eventually Lucy found the big bead rosaries and gave one to mommy. Then she took it back and tried to put it on mommy's neck. Mommy had to help. My turn was next. My head was almost to big for the rosary to drop around my neck. I'm glad I helped and Lucy didn't try to force it. She also gave rosaries to another little girl but did not insist on her wearing them.

When the usher came for the collection, Lucy was very excited to put in our donation. Then Jacob and Granny came in and joined us. Jacob did his usual reading of books in a quiet voice. At the sign of peace, he was not interested in shaking hands for some reason. Lucy was into it big time and shook my hand twice.

Going upstairs for communion, Jacob wanted to look at the elevator by the book shelf. When I gave him a quarter surprisingly he put it in the poor box and not the book shelf box. I guess we'll have to wait a little longer for that Biblical Sudoku. Jacob didn't want to stay upstairs after communion since he had got his fill of the musicians with Granny. We went back to the children's chapel, which worked out quite well for us since we were next to the parish hall. What's so great about that? This week a bake sale was going on and we were among the first to peruse and purchase some yummy treats: pumpkin bread, cookies, and a blondie.

The sermon was quite excellent this week. The gospel was about the crowds taunting Jesus on the cross and how the two thieves reacted to being crucified with Jesus. Father talked about the need to give all for the Lord. He told of a couple he met at daily Mass who were just married and who wanted to come to Mass as often as possible to keep Jesus as the head of their home. Another woman in her 30s came to him with a problem. She's single with a good job in Annapolis and a nice apartment and thinks she's in love. She told her parents she is in love with the Lord and wants to join an order where she can use her communication skills to spread the message of God's love. Their reaction was to tell her that she didn't know what she was talking about because she never really loved anyone. As she told the priest this she started to cry. He told her of his own vocation: He'd been dragging his feet in high school about applying for college. His mom kept nagging him. One day he went to the spiritual counselor (a Franciscan), and told him he wanted to be a priest, something he had been thinking about for a long time. The counselor was overjoyed and ready to measure him for his robes! When he told his mom later, she was extremely upset and said something rude to him. She then went to his dad to tell him his son wanted to be a blankety-blank priest. The dad came upstairs and told his son that whatever the son decided was okay as long as he would be happy. And he's been happy ever since. The woman agreed that her happiness would be in giving herself completely to Christ. Father was amazed at that desire to give herself completely, or even of the couple to give themselves completely to the Lord. He asked parents to be open to the happiness of their children, even if that happiness is not what they expected for their children. God give us the grace to be open to our children's happiness.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cry Room Chronicles XIX

We had a slow start this morning, so we decided to take it leisurely and go to the 9:30 a.m. Mass instead of 8 a.m. Of course, we got there late because we were too leisurely. We could blame it on Jacob trying to go #2 in the potty at home before Mass. That didn't work out; he pooped right after the sermon and not in the church potty. But that's another story.

The 9:30 Mass is one of the "official" children's chapel Masses. The place was packed, too. I counted four other families and about 17 other people besides us latecomers. We walked in just as the Gloria was ending. All the children were sitting with or on the laps of their parents which surprised me. Our kids were definitely wandering around more than anyone else's. I like to think they were taking full advantage of the accouterments of the room. Jacob read a couple of books, knelt and stood on the kneeler, and moved some chairs. Lucy did a little bit of sharing with one other boy. Lucy was also pretty jealous of Jacob getting to go to the bathroom for a diaper change. Or maybe she just wanted mommy to stay with her in stead of daddy.

Amazingly, we had to encourage Jacob to go upstairs for communion. He wanted to finish reading one last book. After that, he gave his usual 25 cents to the book sale box, got a drink of water, then went in to the church to watch the musicians. The contemporary choir was there with an assortment of instruments: a violin, a drum, a guitar, a trumpet and a piano. Jacob was most enthralled with the trumpet. He waited around until all the musicians left before we headed back to the children's chapel to get our jackets.

Monsignor's sermon revolved around God's care for each one of us. The gospel talks about the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and the coming persecution of Jesus's disciples. He assures His listeners that though they may be betrayed by family and put to death they will secure their lives by persevering. Obviously he does not mean their mortal lives but they will secure their eternal lives. We need to persevere in witnessing to Jesus's message of love in a culture that seems entirely opposed to that message. God grant us the fortitude to be a channel of His light to the world!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cry Room Chronicles XVIII

Last week we missed Mass because I was recovering from an eye injury sustained the night before. Luckily, my eye has fully recovered, but that first day was very painful and not very restful. It was a scary Halloween for me.

Getting to Mass this week should have been more restful since we returned from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time, which means an extra hour of sleep Saturday night/Sunday morning. We tried to take full advantage. Lucy's molars are coming in, though, which means she wakes up a couple of times in the night, like last night. Also, Jacob came in our room at 4:30 and said he wanted to go potty, which he did. It was really great of him to do that, but the timing could have been better.

So we had our usual baked oatmeal breakfast before the rush of showers and dressing. We made it almost in time for the start of 8 a.m. Mass. We were the first ones to the Children's Chapel, at least. The TV and sound were on but not the lights. Jacob quickly took care of that. He also found some books to read and was pretty good about reading quietly. He also didn't rearrange furniture like last time and was very patient about waiting to go upstairs for communion.

Lucy was also well behaved and fairly calm. When a family with two tots came in, she looked and looked at them. Eventually, she offered the daughter (about 3 or 4 years old?) one of the big bead rosaries. Lucy walked up and laid it on the ground in front of the girl. The girl didn't pick it up. Lucy picked it up and put it on the chair next to her. Eventually they exchanged a sticker from the girl's activity book. Lucy at least made a new friend even if Jacob was aloof.

Once we got up stairs, Jacob put another quarter in the book box. I think our fund is up to $1.50. He wanted to watch the organist play after communion. I took him over and he watched quietly. He even got a smile from her at one point. He's also discerned the difference between an organ and a piano and didn't touch either.

Today's homily was all about Heaven. It won't be what we are expecting at all since we really can't imagine life with the Beatific Vision. Unfortunately stickers were being exchanged at this point, so that's all I got from Father's sermon today. Hopefully next week will be better for paying attention. If we get enough sleep...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Uncle Dan Visits!

This week we had a special visitor for one night only, Angie's friend Dan from her UC Berkley days. He's in town for a conference and spent a little time with us.

Dan visited us once long ago (i.e. before Lucy was born) and he and I had a good time playing Guitar Hero after Angie went to bed. We also had a fabulous breakfast with scones, eggs, bacon and lots of other good stuff.

On this visit we had a bunch of new things. First, of course, is Lucy, who had lots of smiles for him. Second, we now own Rock Band (second hand from Craigslist), which meant that we had two guitars and drums. Angie did not get to sleep early that night! Dan loved the drums and is convinced they need the game at their house. Eventually Angie was able to escape leaving us guys to play some more. We played until our fingers bled. Well, at least until Dan's finger bled. He developed a blister that popped while he was wailing on the drums. Sorry Dan!*

The next morning, we had a special breakfast. Angie baked our Saturday morning treat, Baked Oatmeal, on a Wednesday morning. It was very yummy and everyone was happy to eat such a good breakfast. Dan read stories to the kids while I showered and Angie headed off to work. Then Jacob, Lucy and I toke him back to the metro. It was a great visit. Hopefully we will see him again soon!
Lucy wasn't awake yet!

*In an interesting side note, my Tae Kwon Do buddy Dave sustained a minor injury and bled a little Wednesday night. As I write it is Thursday 10:30 p.m. So far there are no injuries yet. I am the only one still awake, so I guess it will be me if these things really do happen in threes.