Why my kid isn’t in the cry room

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.

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One thought on “Why my kid isn’t in the cry room

  1. there is a lot in your post that resonates with me. I recollect that the Easter Vigil service when I was in Jackson, MS., was a messy affair. It was dark, incense, kids being baptized, crying, lots of chaos – and I remember thinking once that this is exactly what the early church must have been like.

    I was the administrator of the Episcopal Cathedral in Jackson, MS., and my four year old granddaughter was with me at church a lot. When we shut down the church in the evening I would always let her push the button that turned off all the lights in the nave, and she could play on organ. I think that always meant for her that this was a fun place to hang out.

    One Sunday we were sitting in church on the opposite site from where we usually sat. She asked me if she could go up to the front and get the coloring book and crayons from the basket near the side entrance. Although there were coloring books on both sides, she had only gotten the ones from the other side, which meant she just trooped in front of the lectern where a rather unhappy priest was holding forth in sermon. She was noticeably displeased when my granddaughter walked in front to get the supplies. But then, when making her way back, my granddaughter spilled all of the crayons right in front of the lectern, but very calmly picked up every single one. She never had any reason to think that the church was not as much for her as anyone else.

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