Early last week my good friend Jackie texted me and informed me that some ladies at her church were praying for Joaquin’s upcoming open heart surgery and that they were making him a prayer shawl. I thanked her so much because I was genuinely grateful. And then the next text came in, “Shawl will be ready this Sunday and will be blessed during the service. Hope you can join us!”
Now listen. Momma didn’t raise no fool. When someone offers to pray for you, you take it. But an invitation to attend mass at some place other than a Catholic church got me nervous. So what did I do?? Well heck – I knew that Episcopalian services were similar to a Catholic mass but I didn’t want to be surprised. I wanted to go in prepared. So I Googled it and Wikipedia came to the rescue. It turns out they’re almost exactly the same. Score! Nothing to worry about. Until the husband tells me he has to work that Sunday and I’m on my own. I go into panic mode. Listen, I try to avoid going to the grocery store with my two stinkers much less mass because Joaquin does not have a church voice. Well, maybe he does, but you can still hear it several pews down.
Sunday came and I wrangled the stinkers so I could put their clothes on. Not an easy task when one child asks why he needs new underwear if he had already taken a bath on Friday (don’t judge – it was a weekend and he smelled clean to me). After threatening one child with putting him out for the trash man to pick him if he didn’t behave, we were ready and we (almost) looked picture perfect.
We get to church and I parked as far as I could so no one would judge my filthy van. We were ready. We were greeted by two nice gentlemen and we were shown inside. To a pew. Not a cry room. Great. Now I really wouldn’t be able to pay attention and everybody would hear Joaquin. But to be fair, the nice gentlemen provided us with crayons and activity sheets. Score one for the Episcopalians, yo.
The first thing I noticed was just how laid back everyone was. Very unlike a Catholic service. At my church you kneel, stay quiet, don’t look around and don’t cross your legs or the devil himself will snatch you away. The rest of the time went like a breeze. Until the guy behind me started making funny faces at Joaquin. Oh yeah guy, really?? Before you know it, Joaquin was laughing so loud that even the guy realized what a mistake it was to feed my caged animals. Geez. Then the priest came forward and presented us with the prayer shawl. And when he did, it was evident that I was raising a heathen child. I mean, judging from how Joaquin clung on to me and cried when they blessed us you would have thought he was a vampire child being shown a crucifix. Eventually it was all over and as I scooped Joaquin and Alejandro off the floor (literally, Alejandro was lying down on a kneeler throwing a paper airplane around) and I realized that I never had anything to worry about. Because prayers are prayers. Blessings are blessings. And kids will always act like monkeys…no matter what church you attend.