On our way back from vacationing in Las Vegas, we stopped off at beautiful Mission San Miguel, a Spanish mission in San Luis Obispo County, CA. As we frolicked (respectfully) among the cemetery, I noticed the above monument. It said, “Suffer the little children and forbid them not to come to me, for the kingdom of heaven is for such.” Mathew 19:14. That’s beautiful, I thought as tears came to my eyes. Until my conversion last year, I had done that – kept my children from God, “But I’ve got them on track now – we’re good!” I thought. Then I realized, we’re not good…there was still the two-year old! I had been keeping her at home during Mass with my not-so-keen-on-Catholicism husband so I wouldn’t have to “suffer” the wild child. Ouch, busted! Great. Did I really have to do this God? My imagination kicked in to overdrive and I envisioned all three children escaping in three different directions at top speed screaming, “I want my donut! I want my donut!” during the middle of the Eucharist.
The verse however haunted me and I decided I couldn’t keep up my selfish ways. I’m a little slow on the up-take so about five months later I worked up the courage to bring all three of them to Mass… by myself. I was sure the anxiety all revolved around my psychosis of “not causing a scene” (which I totally blame my parents for). The kids would probably be angels. I would just promise donuts and everything would be fine.
And it was. Everything was fine. There was no meltdown from my Aspergian six-year-old because Sunday School was not in session. Check. The two-year old didn’t escape my arms and run screaming down the aisle for donuts. Check. And I guess you really can pray to God while braiding your hair so my eight year old was happy. Check. I, unfortunately, was a sweaty mess of anxiety for absolutely no reason whatsoever and spent most of the Mass praying for God to help me get through it. Then I promised myself donuts and felt better. Check mate.
Oh and the best part was, someone else’s kid was really loud, screaming like a banshee during the blessing of the Eucharist. “Wow, my kids would never do that..wink..wink” I thought as Father Gary smiled and said “yes” after the kid screamed “no” for like the fifth time. Then everyone laughed and we all thought how adorable kids are even though we knew better. So I’ve learned to suffer the little children — because God want’s you to and because really, it’s the best laugh you’ll have at Mass.