I grew up in a VERY Catholic household. You know, the kind where you know you're in trouble if your picture is on top of the TV next to the holy candle and Blessed Mother statue. The kind where I was in high school before I realized that Thanksgiving is not a holy day of obligation. My mom's reply to my line of questioning was, "Well, it is in THIS house!" You get the point.
Nelson did not grow up thinking the same way. So, Wednesday night when I asked him what time he'd like to go to mass, he quickly replied by saying, "No time.” Now mind you, he's not opposed to mass. In fact, he got up and went to his weekly 7 a.m. Adoration time Thanksgiving morning. He just thought that was enough.
Thanksgiving morning in the great tradition of laying on that Catholic guilt, I dressed the kids and looked at him with the biggest eyes I could manage and asked him again, "Are you really not going to go to mass with us?"
"Why should I?" he asked matter of factly.
"Well, first of all why should any of us miss the chance to go to mass on a daily basis if we believe that we are really receiving Jesus? What better way to give thanks on a day like today than to give a little something back to God? Besides, dinner is not until 4, what else are you going to do?"
I knew it would be a sacrifice for both of us because we were going to our church which is a bit longer than most. I also knew there would be no nursery for the boys and Nelson is not used to them in daily mass and had no idea what to expect. He joined us anyway.
Mass was longer than I expected and the crowd was extremely sparse. I quickly dangled the prospect of lighting a candle after church for good behavior. In spite of the fact that Dawson managed to make his way through a pew two behind ours and I missed the Gospel because I was in the bathroom with Aiden, all of them did very well.
Nelson took them up front after mass and let them light their candles and then took them to the altar rail to kneel and say a prayer. I stood back admiring the beautiful picture before me. I am thankful for a husband who shares my faith and not my guilt. I am thankful for the opportunity to pass this faith on to our children and am excited that they feel a good reward is lighting a candle and saying a prayer.
I was pondering all of this when an older lady from the parish came towards me as the kids were skipping back down the aisle. "They are growing up so fast," she said affectionately. "It's just so good to see them here. They did great. Thank you for…for...well, just thank you for what you do for them," she gushed.
At that moment I was glad my mom had instilled a little bit of that good old Catholic guilt in me. I was glad I had made it to mass with the whole family. I was glad that once again, God had found such a wonderful way to encourage me in my vocation.
I have the best job in the whole world!