Every time I do bring him, though, I repeatedly chide myself for doing it. He's not horrible, but he is active enough that I cannot properly focus on the Mass and I end up feeling as though being there is worse than not going at all.
John calls it "Grandmom Time." You go because you are obligated, not because you are going to enjoy it. That's what I feel like at Mass with Vince. I'm there just to fulfill my obligation, not to spend any quality time with God, and that makes me feel horrific. What am I teaching Vince by that?
Then I wonder what I'm teaching him (or not teaching him!) by leaving him home with Daddy. Do I really think at the age of 5 he'll magically sit still and become a saintly little boy? Am I insane? I look at other parents manage their young children well enough, and I look at my own mother who somehow managed five of us hellions every Sunday, then I look at myself - unable to wrangle a 2 year old without feeling like a miserable waste of motherhood.
I don't know if I'm being overly hard on myself, overly hard on Vince, or maybe some combination. All I know is I dread Sunday Masses with him, but, at the same time, end up feeling like a failure for leaving him home. I dunno.
After a friend (who has a 3 month old, himself) asked me where Vince was this weekend after Mass, I cringed inside. Just another reminder that I'm being a bad Catholic mother in refusing to allow Vincent to Mass if I can help it. Then it hit me.
I thought back to what that wonderful monastic priest told me during Confession. He had said, "Raising this little boy should be your constant prayer life." All of the challenges, frustrations, and sacrifices can be offered up. So, in all honesty, I really should be bringing Vincent to Mass with me. Plus, he needs to begin learning how to sit still for longer stretches of time so when he DOES turn 5, maybe he CAN be the saintly little boy who understands when to sit, stand and kneel. Ha ha.
Coming upon this realization makes me both happy and nervous. I'm happy because I finally feel as though I know the "right" answer. I feel as though Jesus does, of course, want Vincent there, and attending Mass from so early an age will (hopefully) give him an appreciation of and reverence for the importance of such a gift. By the same token, I'm beyond nervous because I'm kind of dreading the "adjustment period" in which Vince learns the proper boundaries of behavior in a Church.
Oh Dear God... help me. LoL.