Ya think you’re loud? I’ll show you loud…

After the Palm Sunday Mass, a lovely lady in front of us turned around and proclaimed our son A Very Well Behaved Boy. I was unable to respond graciously right away since I was busy picking up my jaw from the kneeler. Was she serious? He must have poked the back of her head with his seventeen palm leaves hundreds of times. Maybe thousands. And that was in the three seconds before I had to confiscate them. This boy? The one who treated his allotted four square foot of pew real estate as a jungle gym? Unless of course I was firmly holding him on my lap, in my role as the Most Grumpy Child Restraint Ever In the Whole World? Whose goal in life is to balance the Gather book on the pew in front of us (like the big people do), only to have it invariably slam down to the floor? We quickly exchanged stories about our challenges with squirmy kids, exchanged encouraging smiles and parted ways. I looked at my son’s toothy grin and sighed.

Today as I joined the usual suspects who hang with me in the foyer at the back of the church, each parent-kid pair engaged in their own shushing strategies, I didn’t feel as stressed as I usually do. When it was time to exchange peace, I gathered up the courage to give the others an encouraging smile and nod – a bit tense, a bit stressed, but encouraging – as if to say, hang in there. I know what you’re going through. No worries. Everyone smiled and nodded back.

I tend to be so preoccupied with my kids and their invariable antics that I forget that many, many other parents are going through the same thing. It’s SUCH a relief when someone says something encouraging and I’m trying to share the love and give my own little smiles of encouragement.

Having an eight-year old that I haven’t had to take to the foyer in years also gives me some hope that things will turn out ok. Maybe one day I won’t be intimately familiar with the selection of flyers at the back and those lovely deep turquoise radiators. And who can forget St. Clement and St. Joseph?

See you in the foyer!