My oldest son has been a licensed driver for four months now. I am almost over the shock of it.
Believe me, it will still occasionally take me by surprise when he suggests that he run an errand for me or something. For instance, I’ll be wondering exactly how in the world I can possibly make dinner AND run to the store to get the missing ingredient and all of a sudden I’ll hear, “I can run there for you, Mom!”
So, you can imagine my surprise when my boys pointed out that they could take themselves to Mass on Sunday morning.
Now, let me back up a bit and set the scene for you. See, usually, we are a 10:00 am Mass family. I sing in the choir. Adam plays his trumpet. Josh helps with the sound board. And occasionally, we’ll have Greg as a lector and Leah and the boys are on the altar server list for that Mass. Basically, we are committed. Know what I’m saying?
Last weekend, however, we needed to make alternate plans since our youngest had been invited to a birthday party that was going to start during that Mass time. No problem, we thought! We’ll just all get up early and head to 8:00 as a family. I even daydreamed a little about how nice it would be for all of us to actually sit in one pew and worship together.
Alas, it was not to be.
When my two teenage boys heard that we wanted to get them up at 6:00 on a Sunday morning, their answer was a speedy No ma’am, please and thank you!
“Mom,” they said. “If we can take dad’s truck, then Adam will be able to play with the choir. Josh will still be able to help with the sound, too. We don’t want to miss that! Can we go on our own?”
But… But… What?!
So many questions popped into my head. So many feelings spun around my heart even as the words, “Well, that’s fine, I guess” came out of my mouth.
First of all, how in the world were my baby boys old enough to take themselves to church? Second, while what they’re saying sounds great, is that their real motivation? Have they really taken such ownership in their participation in the faith that they can’t fathom missing out? Or is it more that they just don’t want to get up before the sun on a Sunday morning?
Between you and me, I’m guessing it’s a combination of both.
And what about all of us worshiping as a family? Has my singing in the choir for so long robbed us of any hope of ever knowing what it’s like to go to Mass as a whole family unit? Or has my participation only encouraged them to participate, as well?
Just call me Queen Overthinker, please.
But here’s the point I’m meandering to. Our kids will always have milestones that up and surprise us, that catch us totally off guard. We just have to be ready to respond and give them the freedom to grow.
When they’re babies, we can look forward and know that first they’ll crawl and then they’ll walk. Soon, they’ll talk…start school…ride a bike…shave…celebrate birthdays and sacraments. You know (and hope and pray) that all these things are headed their way. And, while they’re exciting and nervewracking, they’re expected.
But then there are those times when they pass a milestone I didn’t even expect to be a milestone! Last weekend’s adventure of wanting to take themselves to Mass is just the latest in a string of ways my kids keep me on my toes. They keep giving me opportunities to loosen my motherly grip and let them go little by little.
I recognize how lucky I am that church is one of the first places they feel pulled to go. It’s a blessing that they want to be active in their faith. Add to that the fact that they’re each other’s best friend? It makes my mama heart very happy.