If you’ve ever brought a toddler to Mass, you know that it can be a bit… unpredictable, to say the least. Even the most well-behaved toddler can end up melting into a puddle on the floor for seemingly no reason.
It doesn’t help that Mass times often coincide with nap times (if you’re lucky enough to have a toddler that still naps… *sigh* those were the days!), and expecting a wiggly little one to stay quiet for an hour once a week when they literally never do that any other time is a bit impractical, in my opinion.
I could write an entirely separate post (and I probably will one day) on how moms of toddlers are looked at during Mass when their children aren’t statue-still and silent, but that’s not what I want to share with you today.
You see, when we say toddlers are unpredictable, that’s typically not a “good” thing. But I want to share a story of one of my toddler’s unpredictable moments that actually brought me joy. And as an added bonus, the people around me seemed to feel the same way too #MassWins.
So let me set the scene for you: my 2.5-year-old son, who doesn’t nap regularly anymore, was standing next to me, balancing precariously on the kneeler. We were approaching the reverent time of the consecration- you know the part where the entire church is supposed to be silent.
In the seconds leading up to this, I’m always scanning my children to see if anyone is poking anyone else or doing something that could end in a noisy disturbance. But to my relief, my 4-year-old and 8-month-old seemed to also be doing just fine.
I turned my attention back to the Eucharist, satisfied that no one was on the verge of a breakdown. And for some reason, for a fleeting moment, I also wondered what my son was thinking about. At two and a half, the sky really is the limit.
Just then, the priest raised the Eucharist and said the prayers for consecration. The congregation fell silent, and at the same time, my son exclaimed, “Body of Christ!”
I just looked at him for a minute, completely stunned. I honestly had no idea that he paid any attention to what was going on in Mass because usually, it feels like all I do is shush him the entire time and ask him repeatedly to please stop kicking the seat in front of us or jumping up and down on the kneeler.
Now I won’t pretend that I think at two and a half he understands the mystery of the Eucharist. But the fact that he knew that small white circle was even called the Body of Christ was enough to make my mama heart swell with pride!
As moms of toddlers, it’s easy to feel like we don’t “get” much out of Mass when we’re constantly playing referee among siblings or trying to keep our children from disturbing others. And it’s easy to assume that our toddlers also aren’t getting much of what’s happening either. But you just never know what little nuggets of faith they are picking up while they are there.
So moms of toddlers- keep up the good work. Keep bringing them to Mass, keep trying to teach them bits and pieces of what’s happening, and above all, keep praying for them. You just never know when a sweet moment like this will happen, and you definitely don’t want to miss it when it does!