Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ashes to Ashes

Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.
—Genesis 3:19

Today is Ash Wednesday and by Catholic standards this is a very mournful day where we are reminded of our mortality and the sinfulness. It's kinda depressing. Lent is depressing, reminding ourselves of the scorn and nastiness that plagues the human condition. But then we are rewarded with Easter and chocolate and hunts!!! But not before we are really shamed by reenacting the gruesome death of Jesus on Good Friday.

We take you to Ash Wednesday service at 5pm. I was suppose to pick you up from Ms. Patti's at 4:30pm but there was an enormous 10 car accident on my way home. We make it into church by the time the priest is processing in. Daddy met us there. I luckily had a snack baggie of Frosted Mini Wheats in my purse that kept you happy. During the entire mass you would not stop bossing us around. You would shout out "Stop singing Mommmy!" or "time to sit down" or "time to stand up!" Most of the patrons sitting in the last three rows understand that bossy loud toddlers are part of that chosen area. You were met with patient smiles. However besides the rampant bossiness, you had so many questions circling around why are we here and what's going on? Usually you go to nursery during mass. I am trying to retell the story of Lent and Jesus and pointing out the rather large crucifix at the front of the church. "Do you see Jesus up on the cross?" You look hard trying to see and then you question "Baby up there?"
Oh dear.
I tried my best to explain.
Yes, Jesus was a baby (a couple weeks ago) but he grew up over many years and had to die for our sins. We nailed him to a cross and he died (see crucifix at the front of the church). But don't worry he came back to life and now he lives in Heaven with his dad and mom!
You simply listen and nod your head.
Religion is a bit tricky with a curious two year old!

My absolute favorite part of mass was when you "sang" along to one of the many somber songs and turned to me and said "crying." I didn't understand at first, there was no one crying around us (it happened often during the hour that one of the babies would cry). But then I figured out you were talking about the song! "Yes, this is a sad song!" I affirmed. My lessons on tone are working!!!
I'm amazed at what you pick up on.
Like how you have started to set the table for dinner. Your father and I have no idea where you learned how to do this or if you only figured it out from watching. I put out the dishes and utensils in one big pile in the center of the dining room table and go back to cooking in the kitchen. When I come out a few minutes later, the table is set! At first I thought your father was doing it. I've actually never seen you set the table, it's just always been done when I come back in. I'm amazed you pitch in and help without being asked. Just like how you have started to say please and thank you without prompting. I think you do it because you know it's a "good thing to do."
I hope this second kid is as easy as you have been. I don't do anything! You just absorb it and start using the skill!!!

Anyway, we had to rush home for a quick frozen Chinese (shrimp) meal since your bedtime rituals start at 7pm. I thought I would be exhausted but instead we were all energized and ended up having quite a jovial evening together. It started with you excusing yourself from the table (you ask to leave by saying, "done, please?" That has to be a Ms. Patti thing. This gave your father and I time to talk and enjoy some adult conversation. We found you in the living room on the couch surrounded by a pile of books reading to yourself.

Then you entertained us all by walking around in Daddy's shoes and squealing in delight. Don't worry, there's also a video coming!

Finally after a bath, you decided instead of book time, you wanted to "jump bed" where you climb up onto our bed and jump around. We sang a song about some monkeys who liked to jump on the bed and we snuggled together before your bedtime.

Ash Wednesday is a very somber day but for some reason this year, you put a different spin on it for me. Yes, we are sinners, yes Jesus died for those sins and just as God gave us life from ashes, we will return to ash one day. However you teach me to embrace and appreciate the wonder and joy that is so uniquely human especially during small insignificant moments like today because far too soon, to dust we shall return.

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