I see you, lonely mama. You were introduced to me at a parish mom’s group. I listened intently when you chatted nonchalantly about your career, your first cute and absolutely adorable little baby, how you found out about the group and decided on a whim to check it out. I heard the nervousness, covered with talking and chatting and running after kids. I heard you looking for validation. I heard you and I saw myself in you.
I was in a similar position with my first child, stretched far away from family in a new city. I didn’t know how to be a mom. I didn’t have much to rely on for help, just like you were telling me you don’t feel you have. I struggled with what was normal. I struggled with finding a fit with different groups too. It still makes me nervous, this stretching out of myself to try to meet new people. But I must admit you were quite graceful at it and I admire your courage.
I heard you mention that you just don’t know what to do with church and your baby. You haven’t gone to Mass since your baby was born because you just don’t know how to do it. How does one manage a crying baby? How does one nurse when they get so hungry? What if she cries at the wrong time?
I hear you trying to connect to your faith. I hear your struggle. And I want to give you such a big embrace for asking these questions and being courageous and coming to the group. All I want to share with you is that you are absolutely without a doubt welcome. Welcome to come to Mass and just be. Join us and be who you are and let your daughter be who she is. Is she fussy? She’s welcome! And as a coping Mama so are you. Is she always hungry? Nurse away! Is she awkward to carry at times? Come and sit and the both of you rest in the love of our God. In our community there is almost always a child crying (and I can vouch for my own at least once per Mass) and so we can embrace this as the normal of our here-and-now lives. Children are normal. Their tantrums are normal. Their mischief is normal. Poopy diapers are normal (as are the explosions, unfortunately). Their joy is normal. Their blessed innocence is normal. The gift of who they are is our normal.
Our community is less when you can’t join us. While we are a community far from being perfect, we are now closer to the perfection we strive for when you are with us. We are fuller with you and especially now that I know you and I can call you by name and remember your face. I miss the times that you are not with us. I’m eager to encourage you and help you find that normal. I’m eager for you to find that community you’ve been searching for in us. We’re not perfect, but we are a bunch of misfits loving our God together. I think we can all relate to that. All of us parents are continually trying to figure out our kids as they change so frequently and sometimes we don’t get them figured out right. Sometimes that spills over into our worship time. Sometimes not. There is always a place for us here.
So I will search the congregation at Mass these coming weekends. If we get there before Mass starts, I would invite you to sit with us and see how well our “normal” works during Mass. It doesn’t always. But sometimes, it does. You can listen to how well other families’ “normal” works for them. And best of all, we can be together listening to and worshiping our God.
I see you, lonely mama. I don’t want you to be lonely anymore.
Copyright 2015 Jane Korvemaker.