We’re a Catholic family, and we go to mass on Sundays. I love our church. It’s a good size, focused on social justice, has friendly people and loving priests, and good music. It also doesn’t really have a cry room.
That’s right. I go to mass with a toddler in a church without a glass box for him to be a baby in. You know what that means? He acts like a baby in the church.
We go to an early mass, and my child has made friends with the kids, dads, mothers, grandmothers and grandpas who sit behind us. He smiles at them and distracts them and makes them happy. He also wiggles, fills in the silences with babbles and gets cranky towards the end. He is a reminder that our church is alive and growing.
Holy Spirit has cards in each pew for kids to draw on (as opposed to doodling on the offertory envelopes). On the back of these cards are messages of welcome to parents that encourage us to let our kids learn about the mass and our faith by participating with us. There are also some nicely worded messages to everyone else to remember that children are squirmy gifts who need to learn about our church and feel welcome here.
So when my kid decides to keep singing while everyone else is reflecting, he gets to stay in the church. On the occasions that he has fallen apart and started sobbing, one of us takes him out to the meeting room that has a comfortable couch and a TV to watch the mass. Although honestly I usually don’t make it that far. Often in that situation we’ll stand in the narthex and participate from behind the glass doors.
I am so used to feeling welcomed that it takes me aback the few times that I have been glared at when my little one makes a peep. We stay anyway. My kid isn’t in the cry room because he is a welcome member of our Church. It’s his home, and no one makes you leave your home for being yourself.