Every Sunday morning Liturgy goes the same way. I quickly grab service books as Renee and Nora bolt towards the Nave. Like runners in a marathon, sticky fingers are dipped in holy water, icons are kissed, and beeswax candles are lit. Then proudly my two little ducklings waddle to our usual spot – close to loved ones but yet close enough to the door so we can sneak away at the beginning of meltdowns.
These days it takes about twenty minutes until little Nora needs a bathroom break. Out the door of the nave we march. Then, due to the tasted freedom, Renee will start to whine about being bored. “Be patient,” I whisper while swaying a cranky Nora back and forth. For a moment things are calm, but then the girls start to argue. Back out we march for a timeout. “Can you find the icon of your Saint?” I attempt a quiet game during the sermon, but the excited exclamations once the icon is found once again force us back into the narthex.
Our “in and out” dance continues for the remainder of the service. The experience is often draining, but also rewarding. Between the disruptions I hear Renee singing hymns along with the choir. And as I whisper prayers into Nora’s soft fuzzy hair, she replies “Amen.” Then at the climax of the service, I get the honor of watching my children partake of the Eucharist. No sight is more beautiful.
Orthodoxy and motherhood is not an easy combination. On the average day it feels like a game of survival. However, this is the path that I was called to walk. This is the cross that I was given to bear. With each passing day my children strip me of all pride and selfishness. Each time I bow my head under the epitrachelion and admit my failures as a Mom, God heals my soul a little more. As I take Communion with my family I feel our sacred bond strengthen.
This ancient path is worthwhile. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.