All in all, the weekend was great.
The kids behaved as usual at Mass on Friday, but my chipper attitude got me through it. I was a little upset when Katie face-planted in the parking lot while running to the van to go home. She put a huge hole in brand-new tights. These happen to be really expensive tights that I sprung for because they claim to be durable enough to hand down to younger siblings. They are not asphalt-proof.
At the two parties, the children were charming. Even Petey permitted some strangers to hold him for brief periods.
Not so amusing, though, is the talk I hear of my husband remaining in this job for the next 18 months. My steel-blue eyes were glinting at him like daggers in a streetlight, and he, not having heard what I heard, began voicelessly protesting his innocence to whatever crime he was accused. Later, he insisted that he was really going off to school this coming summer, really. Even later, he admitted that his future was really out of his hands, really.
Yesterday at Mass, Jenny made it until the homily before asking to go to the bathroom. I took Pete with me. The bathroom is right next to the nursery, so I went there and signed both of them up for the free babysitting hoping that Pete would be happy to stay if Jenny was with him. I went back to church and Father was still giving his homily. I don't know what I missed, but I got there just in time to hear him bring up a really sore topic: holding hands during the Our Father.
Our last parish only on rare occasions would request the parishoners to hold hands during this prayer, but, for the most part, our kids were wholly unfamiliar with this practice. When we moved here nearly two years ago, we realized that this was the expected behavior. Had it been just Bill and I, or if the kids had been older, we might have taken a stand against it. But I was afraid that the children would appear disrespectful of adults if they refused to hold hands, and there was no way we could have reasonably ensured that we, the parents, were always on the outer edges of our family group.
Father, who has been here for less than 6 months, very charitably explained that holding hands during the Our Father was improper. He also said he knew that he was going to be very unpopular for prohibiting it, but he was anyway. Bill and I could barely contain our glee.
I sent Father an email later on in the day thanking him for his actions. He had mentioned in his homily that even though people would be upset with the ban on holding hands, there were also people who were upset with holding hands to begin with. Fortunately, Bill and I are not the types to walk away from the Church because of the inappropriate actions of a priest or a congregation, but many do walk away. I spoke with a friend after CCD, and she confessed to being very sad. She had no idea that it was wrong, and there is some sense of betrayal for having been lead astray for 30 years. Even though the truth is hard to hear, praise God that my pastor is courageous enough to speak it!
Pete and Jenny did not do well in babysitting. When I retreived them 40 minutes later, Pete was crying and Jenny asked me with a teary face why I left them there. Yes, I'm a meany. I left them in a room filled with toys and books for less than an hour. I denied them a crowded pew with no toys, books with no pictures, and constant shushings from grownups.
I guess I shouldn't complain. It's nice to be loved.