Last night, we took the kids to a vigil mass to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Less than a mile from our home, there is a mission church for the local Catholic Church in town. We normally do not attend that church, because we prefer to attend mass at the church where J grew up. The down side to attending mass at our registered parish is that it is 30 minutes from our house and taking three kids to mass at night is a scary enough thought, without adding a five-point harness to the equation. That being said, we decided to drive to the mission less than a mile from our home because we have lived here for a year and have always wanted to see the inside of the church.
Two hours before bedtime felt like the witching hour and about 5 minutes before mass even began, I was already having regrets and had a quick thought about leaving before the toddler tantrums began. But in that church, there were amazing strangers who instead of staring at us and thinking our children were wild animals, chose to smile and it is to them that this letter is dedicated.
You do not know us and the closest we may have ever come to speaking is my child saying, “Trick or Treat,” on Halloween night at your door, but you my dear stranger are a sweet angel.
Thank you for your kind smile. Sometimes as a mom, I envision the perfect day out and practice with my child what proper behavior is but even with practice my children are just that, children. They do not want to sit and listen and the ants in their pants get them so excited. Last night, after multiple attempts at trying to get my oldest son to color quietly, without the need to count all of the windows in the room at a million decibels, my blood began to boil and I could feel my patience wearing thin and just before I almost said something I know I would regret, you turned and smiled. Your eyes met mine and at that second I knew you remembered what it was like to take three kids to mass and feel uneasy about their behavior. Your decision to smile and reassure me that it would all be ok was so kind, Thank You!
Thank you for telling my husband our family is beautiful. Your sweet words help us to know that we are trying our hardest at teaching our children how to behave in public and that by taking them to church we are helping to ensure they love Jesus as much as he loves them. The sense of pride one feels when a stranger compliments their most precious loved ones is amazing. Thank you for reminding us that our children are never an inconvenience and that they are beautifully made in his likeness.
Thank you for trying to comfort our crying baby girl. Sometimes being outnumbered is tough but you, dear stranger knew immediately what to do. When both J and I were trying to help the boys put on coats and baby G was screaming in her car seat, you lovingly offered to rock her and help us out. You saw that you could help and you did and for that I am ever so grateful. Nothing is worse than hearing your daughter scream, as you are trying to complete a task that will only take a second, and you knew that. You quickly rocked her and waited for me to finish zipping up Little D’s coat and you graciously said, “I’ve been there,” to me with a smile on your face and in your eyes. Thank you dear stranger for helping us out, when you could have easily just walked out the door and gone home.
Thank you for complimenting my son on his manners. Big D works hard on remembering to say please and thank you to everyone. He also tries to be as polite and well mannered as he can. Last night, when we were walking out of the pew and you said, “Go ahead,” and he said, “Thank you, Sir.” My heart melted he did not have to be prompted and you looked at him and stated,”You dear boy, having amazing manners,” loud enough for J and myself to hear and for Big D to smile. You dear stranger allowed my son to feel confident about remembering to treat others with respect. Thank you for noticing his kind words and for helping me remember that this kid who is so respectful, was taught correctly by his mom and dad and that all of those reminders will soon be a thing of the past.
Dear stranger, you made my family feel welcomed and loved. You reminded me at the end of a long day that there are people who care. You showed my children the actions of Jesus and you invited us into your beautiful church. Attending mass with three little ones is often stressful but because of kind people like you, it makes our time so much more enjoyable. THANK YOU!