Two-year old Edward entertained himself during Monsignor’s homily recently by crouching down on all fours, meowing softly and then licking the marble floors.
His new “trick” is to pretend he’s a cat, his Aunt Sarah’s beloved feline friend named Ghost, to be exact. Edward embraces his character with such heartfelt sincerity, pretending he’s eating food and purring on cue, that I had trouble on this particular morning dissuading him to stop.
I’m sure onlookers thought it weird to witness a toddler on his hands and knees, tongue sliding across the marble, but since he had finally ceased attempting to eat the donated food in the bins intended for the homeless, I briefly considered allowing him to continue the cat routine.
The licking the floor thing was less tedious for me to manage, for sure.
Unfortunately, my conscience got to me and I started thinking about germs and saliva-contracted disease and so I squelched his attempt at method acting.
I redirected his behavior by dragging him over to the larger than life size statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who has a super-glued pointer finger (I can never be certain, of course, but I’m fairly sure none of my kids were the perpetrators of the four fingered Jesus.)
In any case, I pointed to Jesus’ heart, a heart on fire with love, and whispered to my child, “See Him? That’s Jesus. He loves you even more than I do.”
“Jesus?” Edward repeated and stared up, wide-eyed, at the huge image. He grabbed Jesus’ pointer finger.
“Yes, Jesus,” I said, and buried my head in Edward’s chubby neck.
Resisting my attempts to smother him, Edward wiggled out of my arms and went back to running from eye-catching display to eye-catching display while I spent the remainder of Mass making sure he didn’t pull the fire extinguisher out of it’s glass case.
(Please, someone tell me, why is the fire extinguisher posted right in front of a child’s line of vision? Is it to torture parents?)
I was completely unable to hear what was happening in the body of the Church, but I received Communion and offered a few silent prayers anyway and I had peace my Sunday obligation was fulfilled, purring cat and all.
What does this story have to do with anything?
There’s a connection, I promise.
I haven’t posted on my blog since October, mainly because I’ve had a blogging identity crisis of sorts.
(Yes, a first world and modern day problem, I know.)
I'm not an overly crafty mom who posts a myriad of ideas on how how to make liturgically correct cupcakes. I also don't regularly regale readers with information that seeks to expound upon or even explain the Catholic faith.
Mostly? I tell funny stories or share random spiritual insights.
By and large, what I write is not an instruction manual for the Catholic faith. It’s not didactic or even partuicularly helpful during really important Liturgical seasons like Lent or Advent.
So I took a sabbatical and during my break, I had a realization.
I realized I don’t have to be like those Catholic moms who make the perfect cupcakes or defend the faith like a boss, because that's not who I am (though I do love cupcakes and I love our Catholic faith).
I don’t have to run a website with a million subscribers and a social media strategy that makes Donald Trump jealous. (Good thing because a social media maven I am not; I can't even figure out a way to post articles on the regular. )
What matters is that I do me. What matters is that I stay in my lane and continue to do what I do as best as I can do it.
And what is it I do exactly? Good question, I'm glad you asked. (I wasn't sure myself until recently, hence the long-winded blog post. I know, get to the point already.)
The thing I think I do best is share my life as an imperfect mother of an imperfect Catholic family. I like to tell you about the time Edward spent most of Mass licking the marble floors at the back of Church and how I let him do it.
Because you know what?
Your kid has probably tried to lick the marble floors at the back of the church too and maybe my story telling will relieve some of your anxiety or help you dial down your high standards. Because, yo, managing toddlers at mass is tough. (And it's not probably going to kill them to let them lick the floor every once and awhile anyway...)
Or maybe you have grown kids and you don't need to dial down your anxiety beause unlike the rest of us shmucks, you already know everything is going to be just fine in the end. Still, maybe you need to laugh and that image of Edward purring like a cat and licking floors will do the trick. Laughter in and of itself is important and highly undervalued in today's day and age, I think.
So, I’m back, friends, with the many crazy stories I have to share about living as an imperfect Catholic mom in an imperfect Catholic family.
I’ve missed you.