The Easter Morning Sprint

It had been a two hour Mass. A beautiful two hour Mass with a full orchestra playing a Mass by Haydn and the propers chanted by an all male choir. We took two trips down to the restroom. Once during the epistle and again during the Creed. I knew a third time for a potty training kid was probably an excuse to get out of Mass and go somewhere were she was allowed to run. I paced around in back with her for the second half of Mass, took her outside the couple of times she decided to express her displeasure at not being allowed to get down with shrieking. She almost made it away from me up the aisle twice when we “knelt” during the Eucharistic prayer. When we went up for communion she insisted on being set down and skipped while holding my hand. I had to hold her in back again afterwards, but brought her to the pew for the Last Gospel as the people coming in for the next Mass were filling the back of the church. We were only four rows from the back. I set her down in the pew and then made the mistake of moving G to the inside of the pew and leaving the free-spirited child on the aisle. We almost made it through all of Mass, the priest and servers were almost processed out of the church when she saw her window of opportunity.

The empty aisle beckoned to her. It said, “Run, run, run away!” She heard the call, slipped into the aisle and ran. I noticed that she had gotten away too late. She was about six pews in front of me, and her sprinting pace is only slightly slower than my quick (but of course reverent because we are in church pace and all the pews are full because it is Easter and everyone is seeing my child run up the aisle and I have to chase her down because there is nothing else to be done) walk. She glanced back towards her parents about half way up the church and saw me following; then I saw the smile on her face meaning “It is a game!”. What was I to do? I picked up my pace, but she sprinted on ahead, her doily veil flopping up and down and her heals kicking out behind her in her pigeon-toed run. A nun in the pews saw her and smiled; what is more joyful than a two year old savoring her freedom? She approached the front of the church. I wondered what I would do if she decided to climb past the altar rail up into the sanctuary, but am so thankful that I did not have to find out. She veered to the right. Maybe those Baptismal graces kicked in at that point. I caught up with her as she started her way down the side aisle. It was over, we were going back to our pew, and I was trying not to laugh. This child will put us through it all, I think…

Happy Easter!