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?
For Better or for Not Terribly Impressive
Sometimes These Things Just Write Themselves
The Last Regular Day