After Nicholas was born, it just wasn't possible for me to go to church alone with the children anymore. The two little ones were more than I could handle by myself. For a long while, I didn't even attempt it.
A recent First Communion ceremony that we attended somewhat cautiously, however, confirmed my suspicions that all the boys are now officially mature enough to attend Mass with me alone. They were perfectly behaved. Now, I realized, we could participate in the Mass on weekdays again, though we really were not in the habit anymore.
Ascension Thursday provided the perfect occasion to go together again. I was a bit concerned that I was being overly confident--what if the First Communion ceremony had been a fluke and today the two little ones would cause some unexpected disaster, or an older child would pull an even less expected stunt? I took my chances.
The church was crowded. I scanned the pews looking for an open end and found none, oh wait...one. We filed in and only after sitting did I realize why the pew had been empty. There was no kneeler along half of it. Luckily I sat where there was a kneeler. It was the three oldest boys who were kneeler-less. I whispered to them that it was Ok and that they could just sit when others were kneeling. They nodded in agreement.
When the Eucharistic Prayer began, however, I could see that Simeon was uncomfortable sitting through the consecration. He moved to the edge of his seat and sort of half-knelt while hanging on to the pew, then he just went for it and knelt down on the cold stone floor. It was a small, but sincere act of piety and the others followed his lead, as they always do. Alex first, then Jacob dropped down onto the hard floor--moved more by respect for Simeon than for the Sacrament they have yet to understand.
For the rest of the liturgy, my heart swelled with gratitude for these children, for this oldest son, for the example he sets, and that the others follow. I could thank God, too, for the opportunity to thank Him while in His house and at His table, and not just from my kitchen.
So though the littlest ones were somewhat squirmy toward the end, the wiggling seemed a small price to pay and I've decided, now, to make a habit of taking my chances.