Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Angels and Demons?

While logic dictates that our Sunday morning routines should be calm and relaxed, toddlerhood dictates otherwise.  Instead of a quiet, slow morning, our day of rest usually begins with a mad rush to make it to the early morning mass on time.  This is a habit we're just easing into -- the early mass, with the whole family -- and we're not very good at it.

The kids have probably been up a little later than usual the night before, making them either cranky or late to wake.  The parents have also probably been up later than usual the night before, and are arguing about who should have to go make breakfast and who should get to sleep for 20 more minutes.  This argument usually ends up in both parents getting up later than is conducive to arriving places on time. 

There's a tiny baggie of snacks to be packed, a tiny, a silent pair of church toys to be found, two tiny dresses to be negotiated over and donned by two tiny little girls.  Four piggy-tails to be bound, four squishy feet to be shod, four people to be corralled out the front door, and probably four minutes in which to accomplish all of these tasks.  I know our family is relatively small, and we should have all this under control, but we don't.  These things take time, right?

Last weekend, though, everything seemed to be going more smoothly than normal.  It was like we were finally catching the Sunday Morning Groove -- everyone was happily dressed, fed, and awake, and we were barely running late.  Success.

We hauled ourselves across the far side of the church parking lot, accompanied by a few fellow late-comers, and squeezed into an empty pew, hopefully causing a minimum of distractions.  The girls were more well-behaved than usual.  They sat somewhat still, fairly quietly entertaining themselves through readings and songs, while Justin and I eyed each other in disbelief.  It was amazing how little squirming and bickering there was.  It was fantastic how few outbursts were made.  It was wonderful how the quiet room was not visited once, and we all stayed together for the entire service. 

We made it all the way through the homily with no incidents or disturbances.

Before our luck ran out.

Sometime after the homily and before the Eucharist -- I don't know exactly, because things all started looking fuzzy around then -- it all went wrong.  Mia had finally started to get antsy, and was bouncing up and down as we stood.  I bent down when she paused, put my face to the top of her head, and started to whisper something about being still.

Which is when Mia jumped up again. 

The top of her head banged into the front of my face, and I saw a universe of stars.  My nose felt broken, my cheekbone felt swollen and my eyes were tearing up quickly.  I sat down with my hands covering my face, while Mia whispered over and over, "I'm sorry, Mama! I'm sorry!"  I nodded as best I could while trying not to cry over a little bit of pain.  I was sure my nose was starting to bleed, but I wasn't sure what to do about it.  The collision had knocked me silly.

Meanwhile, Justin assumed I was overcome with some sort of spiritual emotion. 

After a few minutes of composure-gaining, I could stand back up again, wiping my nose as discreetly as possible.  There was no blood, which made me feel like a great, sobbing wimp -- could I not withstand ANY amount of pain without assuming I was about to DIE?  Nevertheless, it had hurt, and I was still dizzy from it. 

The mass went on without any notice of my plight, which struck me as odd.  Shouldn't angels have descended to care for a (not quite) broken nose?  And if angels were going to be filling the sanctuary, surely the mass would have paused in reverence to witness the healing that was about to take place?  And if a healing were about to take place, wouldn't it be possible for my sniveling, red face to be beatifically transformed into a more presentable one?

Either way, nothing happened.  The girls kept getting more and more antsy as the sacraments were blessed and offered, but it was still better behavior than we've been used to.  My face stopped throbbing so conspicuously, and the mass was nearly over.  We stood to sing the final hymn, happy with our relatively peaceful morning.

Which is when Mia pulled down the kneeling bench.

The full force of the pew-length kneeling bench -- the old, heavy kneeling bench -- came down on top of my tiny middle toe.  My strappy sandals provided exactly NO protection from the wooden leg's fall, and I squeaked a tortured squeak.  My foot instinctively curled itself around my uninjured leg, and again, I sat.  I rocked a little bit.  Tears pooled in my eyes for the second time that morning, and I peeked at Justin. 

This time, he knew what had happened, because it had happened to him, too.  On the far end of the pew, the kneeling bench had also landed on his toes, but through the thick, sturdy leather of his dress shoe.  Still, his jaw was clenched in a show of manly pain management. 

If I'd expected angels before, to heal my wounds, now I was expecting demons, giggling at the torture they'd inflicted in such a short amount of time, and through such innocent means.

Mass had ended, and we tried to go in peace. 

Me peacefully limping; Justin peacefully chuckling at my face-crashing, toe-smashing morning; Mia and Lauren peacefully chewing on the candy from Father.

And the angels peacefully enjoying a quiet, non-interventionist morning.


  1. Congratulations on worshiping together as a family, sympathy on the injuries sustained and the lack of consolation offered.

  2. OUCH! Maybe running late is the better option after all!

  3. And THAT was a peaceful mass? I'd like to hear about one of your wild-and-crazy days!

    Sorry you got hurt though. Ouch!

    (Oh, and just because I'm curious, what time does the early mass start? I'm over here feeling L-A-Z-Y for taking my girls to church at noon!)

  4. Emily - Well, I won't call you lazy...I'll call you smart. Our mass starts at 8:30. And then we go to 'my' church at 10:45. Sundays wear us out :)

  5. Oh, Sarah! This made me tear up with laughter, all while cringing sympathetically. Noah is currently fond of head-butting me IN THE FACE... like, RIGHT IN THE THE NOSE. For tiny little people who can't fix their own breakfast, their power to harm is amazing ;)

  6. We like to joke that mass is the other "full contact sport" on Sunday's. I know exactly how you felt because that head banging thing happened to me too....oh it was so hard not to scream in pain!

  7. Oh my ouch! I've done the whole kneeling over and jack in the box head thump's a killer. Our church has children's services during the regular service. Hallelujah...because I think he would run up and down the aisles!
    Hope you are on the mend!

  8. I had to laugh that he thought you were having some sort of spiritual emotion instead of a banged up nose!! :) Hopefully it'll be better next week!

  9. Really really sorry to have laughed out loud at a very painful moment, but as Corinne said, I couldn't hold it in when you suggested Justin thought you were overcome with the Spirit or something! lol. Oh, that was good.
    And I hope your face and toe are both better.

  10. Oh man. I am sorry I have to confess that I laughed at this. I hang my head in shame.

    We had more than one progeny who didn't like to sit still. I will tell you what I did, once they had some "word knowledge" under their belt. I got each of them their own "Sunday word book". It was a blank notebook with lines. Each Sunday I wrote out a bunch of words that they were supposed to be listening for during the sermon. Easy and simple words. They needed to just make a hash mark beside the word every time they heard it. My kids are such word nerds that they loved it. And it kept them quiet.

  11. Oh how terrible! At least it was good for a few laughs. :) And no, I'm not laughing at your pain... more at the line, "Justin assumed I was overcome with some sort of spiritual emotion."

    I hope your next mass is injury-free!

  12. Oh Sarah, you crack me up! I am sorry however for the pain you endured. I love Justin's reaction or lack there of to your head butt experience-I hate it when that is SO incredibly painful and happens more often than you'd think! Oh and we have learned to keep a foot or leg propped against the kneeler so Savannah can't pull the same stunt. And she usually makes it fairly well until right before Communion, that must be the time limit. One time we actually made it early and I think that was a mistake, turned out to be the longest mass ever....I've decided that showing up late with a toddler in tow just might be the way to go ha ha, of course who am I kidding I can't show up on time anywhere ha ha. Oh and P.S. you could always join us at St. Peter's at 9 if you're too late for the 8:30 (we have to switch it up sometimes when we just can't make it outta the house on time!)

  13. Sadly this probably has to go into the church worship victory pile at least as far as the kids go. Maybe the habit is starting to pay off, or the injuries to mom encourage piety.



Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?