Yesterday was Palm Sunday, marking the beginning of Holy Week. It's also the first week in ages that we've had peace in our home, since nearly all of our activities are on hiatus this week. I am so looking forward to it!
We generally attend 8am mass on Sundays, and yesterday was no exception. Most weeks, the kids attend PREP (short for Parish Religious Education Program) classes while my husband and I are at mass, but because the public school system's spring break coincides with Holy Week this year, they got to go to mass with us yesterday. I thought they would enjoy the Palm Sunday festivities, and they did - but not quite like I'd expected.
The congregation gathered just outside the church for the blessing of the palms and the first gospel reading, and as soon as he was handed his palm my 5-yr-old son began attempting to light-saber-battle everyone in our immediate vicinity. My 4-yr-old daughter waited til the gospel reading had begun to turn to me and ask loudly, "Mommy, why did Jesus die?" Obviously I know what I need to focus on here at home during Holy Week!
As a mother of young children, I often feel a little left out of parish activities during Holy Week. We'll go to the Stations of the Cross at noon on Good Friday, but our church also has beautiful evening services on Thursday and Friday - but both services start at 8pm and don't end til close to 10pm, and my little ones go to bed at 8:30pm. Short of finding a babysitter, I simply can't attend - the kids would be a wreck by the time the services ended, and so we'll just have to wait til they're older to participate in these beautiful, solemn occasions. There are other things we can do with them, such as the blessing of the Easter foods on Saturday afternoon, and of course the aforementioned Stations on Good Friday; I just have to remind myself that this is only one season of life, and I'll miss the sweet moments that come with having small children when they're all grown up!
Meanwhile, it's time to start school. We've gotten a little behind in recent months, between winter illnesses and traveling, so we can't take this week off; but I'm going to break out my copy of The Big Book of Catholic Customs and Traditions for Children's Faith Formation and find some activities to keep our household focused on Christ and his Passion during this week!