Here are my children in their Sunday best on Easter. We haven't been going to Mass as a family because it's just too stressful with a toddler and tired baby (Gianna is fine and the two preschoolers have CCD during Mass). But, it was very important to us to go as a family on Easter Sunday.
We did not go to our parish...because there is no cry room. People either love them or hate them (cry rooms...or "the children's chapel" as it's called in our old parish, that is)...but I just plain NEED one when we go to Mass with all my children. Otherwise, my blood pressure goes through the roof and I don't hear a word being said because I am so scared my children are going to ruin Mass for other people (never mind me!).
So, off we went to our old parish on Easter morning. We belonged there for 6 years (it was close to our first apartment in the Harrisburg area) and all of my children were baptized there. The only reason we switched is because there is another great parish much closer to our house (where Gianna now attends kindergarten). It was like going home...we saw our favorite usher and many friendly faces.
We also saw many unfamiliar faces. So many unfamiliar faces! We got there early enough to get seats in the cry room. But, people didn't stop coming when all the seats were taken. We were packed in SO tight, and it was very hot in there. The big church was even more crowded. Standing room only down both sides of the church. I know churches around the world looked the same.
About 15 minutes into Mass, people just started leaving the cry room. My guess is that it was just too uncomfortable in there. I would like to think that they went to find another more comfortable spot. But, I have a feeling that some of them walked right back out into the fresh air saying, "What were we thinking!?! We'll try again at Christmas."
It is very frustrating for all of us...regular Mass-goers and the Christmas/Easter Catholics alike. We were at church for the most beautiful of all feasts...to celebrate the Resurrected Christ (the priest said if we didn't think that this was important, we should ask someone on their death bed what they think of the Resurrection!), and all that some of us could think about (me included!) was that, "This is not working for me!" (much to my dismay, they had removed the basket of toys to make room for more people!).
I'm sorry, Jesus! Another thing to apologize to Jesus for...my list is endless :).
But, then I consider my siblings who are not practicing Catholics right now (or who practice sporadically). Even though it was so crowded, I would be estatic if my siblings ever walked into Mass (it wouldn't happen because they live in Boston, but you know what I mean!). I would move over in a heartbeat and I wouldn't care (well, not as much) that I was uncomfortable.
It is my job to get my spouse and children to heaven. And, I'm not doing a very good job. But, I'm aware of that, and I'm praying and striving to improve every day (so, hopefully that counts for something in God's eyes!). I also care about having my family (parents and siblings) in heaven with me for eternity. I don't feel it's my place to nag them or pry into their lives, so I can only live by example and pray.
And, in the mean time, I can celebrate when other people's loved ones come home. Even if it means three sweaty, cranky kids on my lap in the cry room on Easter Sunday! Alleluia!