Tonight, Butch and I did something we've never done in the history of our marriage since we've had children.
We went to church together...without the kids.
It all started this morning when I was having a hard time getting everything ready for the day and getting myself ready in time for church.
Then, I remembered: I have a child who can DRIVE NOW!!!
All three of the biggers went together and Butch and I made the plan to go to 6pm Mass. 6pm mass is normally not our very favorite because we're not fond of the contemporary music where the verses last FOREVER and are so repetitive that everyone around us starts looking uncomfortable...BUT, it is MASS and sometimes you just go and try to filter that stuff out.
We sat there feeling just ODD.
Here are the things we did NOT do (that we NORMALLY do, when we have kids with us):
1. Flash the peace sign across the crowded pew.
2. Take any bathroom breaks.
3. Have to move from kneeling to sitting to kneeling to sitting to walking out of church because some child is trying to get us to pick them up during the kneeling part.
4. Miss the entire Gospel and most of the homily because some child needs to be set right or brought potty.
5. Wonder how many people are staring at us and wondering "Are all those kids from those parents?".
and many other things that I thought about during Mass...that I actually kind of missed!
Yes! Surprisingly, while I was very happy to have the time to reflect on how it did feel a little like back when we were in RCIA and we would go alone together all of the time, I saw a little baby girl who was SO cute and it made me think about my little baby girl that was the first little one we brought to church...and THAT made me think of every other baby I brought to church over the years...which brought me right to the present and my little baby girl at home with my biggest baby girl...and I couldn't wait to get home to all of them.
We were walking out of church and I commented on a friend's little girl and how big she was getting. She and her husband noted "How did you get to come here with NO kids!? THAT must feel strange!"
We both laughed and kind of let out our breaths. It was SO weird to sit there the whole time with the elephant in the room being the one that was at home (namely, our missing family). I actually started to wonder if we were being stared at because we normally have so many bodies between us and the people at church maybe thought we were strangers or something! It's all about context, right?
The whole thing made me reflect on something I told a friend last night at a cancer benefit that Butch and I got to go out to last night. I was telling her that I was thinking how, someday, all of our kids will be grown and we might be faced with an empty nest of some sort. I was saying how very odd it would be and what the heck would we do without any children to care for and just each other? I thought about it a little more and then I laughed. YEAH! RIGHT! Duh... because we've increased our potential for MANY grandchildren and there will NEVER be a time when we have an "empty nest"! That's the most ridiculous thing ever! We'll ALWAYS have people in our home. Our doors will always be open to the people that need care. If it's a friend, neighbor, child, grandchild, great-grandchild...as long as we're living, we will have someone who depends on us and who we depend on to help us get through this life.
I'm so very glad to share it with the ONLY man who understands me and loves me as much as he does. I like time alone with him, but I like time with him and the people we love TOGETHER, even more.