Despite my total humiliation
at Mass yesterday, it was really a beautiful day for our family. We are
still catching our collective breath at this sudden shift in our
fortunes: exchanging our pajama-wearing freelance lifestyle for a more
conventional Daddy-commutes-to-the-office arrangement. It is a good
thing Rilla came along to teach me how to get a day’s writing done
before the rest of the house is stirring.
We’re all a jumble of emotions: excited about
the adventure, heartbroken to leave our friends here, curious to know
if Southern California can possibly compare to this gorgeous valley
nestled up against the Blue Ridge Mountains, anxious about the hellish
logistics of a cross-country move. So much to decide, so much to do.
Our heads are full and our minds a-whirl.
Rose’s Communion had been planned for yesterday
because her godparents, Scott’s brother and his wife, were stopping off
to visit us for a night on their way down to grandma’s house with the
kids. Rose is a reserved child who hates to be the center of attention,
which is why we’d arranged for her to make her First Communion at a
small daily Mass instead of a big standing-room-only Sunday one. The
decision to have Rilla baptized immediately following the Mass was a
hasty last-minute one made after Scott decided to accept the job offer
in California. We realized we’re going to have a hectic and crazy-busy
rest of the summer and it made sense to go ahead and have the baby
baptized now instead of late July as we’d been planning, even though
most of our relatives wouldn’t be able to come on such short notice.
In all the chaos I hadn’t really noticed that
yesterday was the feast day of Blessed Junipero Serra, an
eighteenth-century Franciscan priest who founded missions all along the
coast of California. Imagine how my heart thumped when our priest, Fr.
Francis, began his homily with a story about his trip to San Diego last
year when he visited the mission established by Father Junipero. He
spoke about Junipero’s travels and how he was so full of joy in the
gospel that he couldn’t help sharing it wherever he went. The homily
ended with these words, which are still ringing in my ears:
"Like Bl. Junipero, we too are sent forth to—through our lives and occasionally through our words—share our joy with others."
To share our joy. I thought about how that is really why I blog: to share my joy in my children, my husband, the books we love, the hard-fought battles we win…I
just realized I’ve got it right up there in my sidebar: "to share the
resources that make learning a joy." A kind reader made that comment on this blog early on, and I grabbed hold of it (with her permission) as expressive of exactly what I want to be doing here.
And now it seems we’re being sent forth to
share our joy "through our lives and occasionally our words," to quote
Fr. Francis quoting St. Francis, in a new place far away. It will be
hard to leave these bonny green hills we love so much, but then I
always say that the Bonny Glen is a state of mind (which means that we
don’t always live there, but we do try). We’ll make a lilting house of
our new home, too.
So here’s how it went. Rose’s First Communion took place at a Saturday morning Mass, which is generally smaller than a Sunday Mass. Only a handful of devoted daily-Mass-goers make it to church that early on a Saturday morning. Our family and friends filled the two front rows, right in front of the priests. Rose was beaming and beautiful, quietly shining with joy on her big day.
Mass began, and then—right in the middle of the opening prayers—someone’s cell phone started ringing behind me. Well, not ringing so much as singing—its ringer was set to play a brassy, up-tempo When the Saints Go Marchin’ In. I could hear it right behind me where my brother-in-law, Pete, was sitting. I shot him a glare: Honestly, Pete. We’re in CHURCH. Don’t you know better than to turn off the ringer before Mass begins? But the song keeps ringing, Pete does nothing, and EVERYONE IS SITTING HERE LISTENING TO THIS FOOL’S PHONE INTERRUPT THE PRAYER. I am mortified. Over my shoulder I shoot Pete another glare—and that’s when it dawns on me that the music is coming from MY DIAPER BAG.
It’s MY phone.
Which I forgot to turn off.
Because I’m the fool.
Ha, and I thought I was mortified before.
I remember that I set the ringer to play Oh When the Saints whenever Scott’s other brother Jay calls, to be funny, because Jay is a saintly man. The kind of saintly person who, say, gets up at five in the morning to drive three hours to the hastily scheduled Baptism of his newest niece and the First Communion of her big sister, after getting home from the airport at midnight the night before. The kind of person who jumps into the car for a trip like this even without knowing all the firm details such as what time Mass begins, which is why he was calling.
Oh Lord I want to be in that number…
All this is flashing through my mind, the horror of realizing that the phone is buried under a bagful of diapers and burp cloths and spare outfits and our current read-aloud and a stray shoe and the cheese knife with the cow on the handle which for some reason Wonderboy fervently believes belongs in my bag and keeps standing on tiptoe to retrieve from the silverware drawer so he can put it with the diapers and wipes as is right and proper…all this, flashing through my mind while the priest is speaking the solemn and reverent words to begin the celebration of the Mass on this important day.
When the saints go marching in…
I knew I couldn’t get to the phone without dumping out the entire bag and then, you know, there’d be a cheese knife clattering on the pew to the accompaniment of the tinny saints…so I did what any panicked and humiliated mother with no composure whatsoever would do: I snatched up the bag and RAN OUT OF THE SANCTUARY. Oh yes I did. RAN. Right down the center aisle with all eyes upon me, clutching my merrily tooting bag to my chest. Flung open the door and hurled the bag into the lobby like it contained a live grenade.
Slunk back up the aisle to my seat in shame. Rose, serene and lovely in her Communion veil, gazed at me reproachfully. Honestly, Mama, don’t you know you’re supposed to turn off your phone before going into church?