Wednesday, September 23, 2009
A Perfect Sunday?
Part of trying to live a life with a liturgical rhythm is that I always want Sundays to be special for the family. I want Maia and Eva (and Jeff and me) to look forward to Sundays. I found myself trying to explain to Maia on the way to Mass last Sunday that this is the most important thing that we do all week, and that all of our lives ought to be ordered to worshiping God on Sunday. I think she responded something to the effect of not liking Mass. I was the same, by the way, at her age... I distinctly remember my father offering me two choices: "You can either go to Mass, or go to Mass." It never really seemed fair.
Anyway, I can't say I've ever been a proponent of short Sunday Masses. Given that it's what the whole week is geared toward, it seems odd for the Holy Mass to last under an hour. Since we moved to Jersey and started attending our new parish, I have to say I have an appreciation for the "short" Mass. We decided to plan on the 8:00 a.m. Mass, which has several advantages. There's no time at home just waiting around to go to Mass. We can keep a fast from the night before. It gives us the rest of our morning to do something fun with the kids. But most of all, no matter how challenging our children's behavior, IT'S ALL OVER BY 8:45.
In Dayton, we tried to make Sundays special for the family, and sometimes succeeded with the help of some fabulous brunches with friends and my evening prayer group. But somehow inevitably on Sunday, Jeff and I would get into a fight (often started by frustration with Maia's behavior during Church - a one and a half hour Mass). Maia would be a wild maniac, and Sundays would, in short, be quite miserable.
This past Sunday has to represent one of the best Sundays we'd had in a long time. After the 8:00 a.m. Mass, we had breakfast at home and changed for an apple-picking adventure. One thing I will say for Jersey is that you can live in a (sub)urban area and be out at a farm or on a beach within 45 minutes. That's pretty great. So we headed out to Melick's, had a free hayride up to the orchard, and spent some time picking a whole lot of apples. Maia had a blast picking and playing on the orchard playground. We also picked up some cider and a pumpkin. Both girls fell asleep on the way home; we missed our exit but didn't fight about it (or the extra $2 in tolls). Maia stayed asleep at home, we got to see the other half of our duplex (which is for sale), I started applesauce in the crockpot, and then I went on an hour-long bicycle ride in beautiful weather. Jeff was a little tired by the time I got back (my bike rides wear him out more than me), so he had a little alone time. We had a nice dinner, and the girls fell asleep right on cue.
There was a little tension in the day, and I can't say that the kids' Mass behavior was great. But this was the best Sunday we'd had in a long time. Maybe it will happen again some Sunday.