So why does it get under my skin, driving me mad, making me cry? Why do I let it bother me? She’s just expressing her independence, and I’d better get used to it, right? No one else minds (much). We’re a FAMILY, after all, and families are made up of screaming toddlers and other unhappy components (poopy diapers come to mind).

But it DOES get under my skin (I let it get to me). It DOES make me cry (I REALLY let it get to me too much). Why is that?

Well, it turns out I’ve been thinking about that (as you may have feared). There are probably a lot of things that need improved of my parenting skills, but first I need to accept who I am and how I am. And then I need to forgive myself for those failings I see with flashing neon arrows.

It’s OK that I’m the easygoing parent. It’s OK that she walks around the pew. It’s OK that she needs to go to the back and climb up and down the steps.

The one who minds the most is ME.

Those others in the crowd who mind have their own battles to fight, and there’s no need to worry about their criticisms. I am a harsher critic than they would be anyway. Let’s deal with the first things first, because there’s no keeping everyone happy. We’re there to see JESUS and to give him back that Mass time. It’s the least I can do, and I need it – oh, do I need it.

Why do you think Jesus said “let the children come to me”? I have a hard time believing they were all angelic little cherubs (in the eyes of their mothers). I have a hard time believing he got only the good ones when he stretched out his arms. After all, his arms have always been held open wide enough for the likes of me…

Maybe Jesus called for the children as a reminder to their mothers. Maybe it’s a lesson to me, the mother of a restless, squirming, loud, headstrong, beautiful, enthusiastic, energetic toddler. Maybe it’s a reminder that we’re called to be more childlike; maybe it’s a welcome mat thrown down 2000 years ago. Hey, the doors are open at my place. Kids eat free. Bring em in. Mom loves another baby.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure Mary does love another baby. I’m pretty sure she was giving me a hug after the Mass we had this evening.

The thought I leave you with: was Jesus a toddler too?