2 years ago

Just dropping by to share my warm fuzzies

P A L M  S U N D A Y.
Worst Mass performance by the children Svellinger thus far.

Let me build it up first before rolling around in the mud that was yesterday’s folly.
Mass with our 4 boys usually consists of:

-one trip to the potty
-one trip to nurse Jude
-3 or 4 face slaps or hair-pulls from Jude.
-frequently reminding Collin to sit/stand/kneel
-shuffling the missal/chorus books around so each child has ONE JUST ONE! or none at all if I sense page-tearing is on the agenda.
-on the rare occasion, asking Lexington to stop undulating his head like a banshee.

Of course, Emmett brings a different level of young-child-at-Mass challenge: he has Autism. He frequently quotes movie lines which are mostly inappropriate for the occasion.  But we only watch G-PG Disney’s so the worst you’ll hear from him is “GET OUT AND STAY OUT!” (Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas) …and on the super rare occasion, Emmett might remember that one time Craig was playing with the Dubsmash App and Emmett overheard a “HELL YEEEYAHHH!”

Sometimes, sometimes things work out perfectly and Collin sits still, and Jude doesn’t even need to nurse, and Lexington actually pays attention, and Emmett sings out “Ave, ave, ave Maria. Ave, ave, ave Ma-ri-ri-ah.” during the Consecration and oh, my goodness do Craig and I feel so fuzzy and full of proudness and zest and sprinkles from the twisty soft serve waffle cone ice cream. Yes we do, man, life is good.

But yesterday.

Okay, so we arrived 20 minutes late, the Gospel was already being read.
I was really excited, knowing it was a long read, the Palm Sunday Gospel (LK 22:14—23:56) and Emmett, who loves to read along would enjoy this.
So we shuffled into a pew -a FRONT ROW pew- situated in the in the middle of the entire place.
As it happened, the spot that Emmett and I were standing was directly under a light– basically a spotlight, for the events that were about to blunder onward.
Emmett sat, and even though we were supposed to be standing, forcing Emmett never works out in the favor of silence, so I sat with him while the others stood.

I opened up the Missal, caught up to the right spot, and pointed at the words so Emmett could follow along. He was delighted.
He was even more excited when he discovered the entire congregation was required to speak parts of the reading, in unison.

This is going good. We are doing good. And right as I thought that, we came upon the part when “the crowd” cries out:


Well. Emmett thought that was funny. Hilarious, in fact.
So he starts giggling. I can handle giggling.  I ask emmett to “turn the volume down”. This is how he understands that he’s too loud, but it works 50/50.
Still, giggling is okay, there are wors–


Emmett was now using a guttural, throaty voice and bellowing those lines repeatedly, cackling in between.

So there we were, me and my possessed child, sitting under a harsh ceiling spotlight, for everyone to make note of.

So I’m scrambling to point Emmett’s finger to the bottom of the next paragraph, where everyone else had carried onto, looking forward to the next crowd response, hoping Emmett will latch onto whatever’s next, but he waves my hand away, cackling, with eyes only for CRUCIFY HIM.
I glanced up at Craig, who was now being repeatedly head-butted by Jude.

My armpits were sweating, and my head felt the heat from those ridiculously focused ceiling lights, and I prepared to excuse Emmett and myself, but I looked down and was relieved to see he’d flipped to an entirely different page and was reading quietly to himself.

I stood up, wishing I could evaporate into nothing at will, and finished following the Gospel reading.

Really, aside from Collin loudly whimpering, flailing as I picked his person up from the church floor, and completely going noodle-body multiple times as both Craig and I tried to correct him; aside from Lexington’s sudden intense thirst for water “MOM! I AM REALLY REALLY REEEEEALLY THIRSTY” He scream whispered multiple times with big doe eyes, and Emmett delving back into his loud-voiced mutterings…
…that was the worst part.

A kind gentleman passed us his oragami’d Palm-into-a-Cross after Mass and told us we had good boys.
I will leave you here to imagine my inner facial expression.   



  1. Haha I feel for you! Reminds me of a similar story. My husband is oldest of six kids. When they were all pretty young, their parents took them to visit a teeny tiny church. They were, of course, late, so the only available seating was the second pew from the front. The pastor was just telling his congregation about the funeral he had presided over the day before, where a woman sang the most beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace he had EVER heard… and how blessed they were to have her as their guest to sing for them this morning.

    You can probably imagine where this is going. She got up to sing, and when those first nasally notes warbled out, Brian’s youngest brother (about 6 years old or so) burst out laughing. Like, bellowing guffaws. His dad literally tackled him to the pew but there was no masking it. The damage was done. Although, these many years later, everyone admits that it was the funniest and worst version of Amazing Grace they had ever heard. ;)

  2. Oh my, Carolyn, thank you for sharing this with all of us :)
    I think that Palm Sunday must be THE day when Catholic parents lessen their time in Purgatory for making it through Mass with active children. Happy Holy Week!

  3. Ohhh too good, too good. I laughed till I cried! You have a gift with words! Thank you for finding humor in what can certainly be a difficult vocation! Solidarity sister!

  4. My sister has Aspberger’s and I remember Church being interesting growing up. It sounds like you are a good and patient mama! There was a teenager sitting behind us yesterday shredding her palms I swear as loudly as possible.


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