Out of the corner of my eye, I saw them walk into church yesterday before Mass. There was a mom and four young children, probably between the ages of 8 and 2 1/2 or 3. The two little ones were boys and appeared to be quite close in age. Everyone was nicely dressed, neatly combed, and extremely cute.
I've only seen this family once or twice before. They sat in just about the same spot. After I set my guitar down and turned the page of my music, I turned to sit down myself and saw the little boys snuggling up against their mom in the pew as Father started the homily.
How can you see that and not smile?
Father had a good homily, but it wasn't a short one. There was a little whispering and wiggling from the young family sitting near me. Of course there was! They're little kids. Then I saw the mom get up and lead everyone out. Jackets and all.
I was so, so tempted to run out after her. I wanted to let her know that it was OK. Maybe next week they'll last 5 more minutes. And really, her kids were not that bad. They weren't eating or playing with Matchbox cars or Game Boys or crayons. They weren't screaming or running up the aisle.
I hope and pray that this mom will not get discouraged, that she will continue the very tough task of bringing four young children to Mass on Sundays. For the rest of the Mass, I prayed for that mom. I was hoping that she had not gone home all upset and angry and embarrassed. Been there, done that.
But I still wish I'd slipped out after her and offered a little encouragement. And if I see them again, I just might do that.