That’s sooo ... The end of TV for a week.
My daughters and I are at Mass. My younger child, Sally Elizabeth, is tired and fidgety. She’s a bit of a “performer” by nature. Normally this is cute. She is cute—and she actually usually LOVES church. (I’m serious—she knows the ritual, loves to sing, and religion is her favorite subject.) However, at the “sign of peace” —the part of Mass when we are invited to give each other a handshake and say “Peace Be With You” to family and other members of our congregation, the line between cute and obnoxious has been crossed. I offer her my hand. “Peace Sally.”
She extends her hand, palm up, “Talk to the Hand, Sista.”
I continue to reach for her hand anyway—she pulls it away and leaves me, shall we say, “hangin.”
“Whatever. Duh.” she says, and rolls her eyes.
Puts on hand on her hip, winks at her friend, and tosses her hair.
Holy sh*t. I mean—God help me. Really.
We are in church. She knows I won’t make a scene. I’d have to crawl over my eldest, Emma, to get to Sally anyway. I can tell Emma is praying I won’t. She’s got that “Please Please Please don’t embarrass me Mom!” fear in her eyes. Emma is eleven; I embarrass her by breathing these days, so I decide to choose my battles. Her prayer is answered. I do nothing.
I don’t smile. I turn around to go to the next person and stay calm—offering the Sign of Peace.
“Peace be with ... you. Heh. Um. Peace.”
The older couple and their gigantic family behind us are staring at me with their mouths open. I should also say, this was a quite the dramatic gesture on Sally’s part. She has a big voice, and quite a flourish when she wants to. Ugh. She was pretty loud during her “That’s So Raven! Episode 7; A Pew Too Many.”
Mass continues. Mass ends. Time for Sally and I to have a little “Come To Jesus.”
Or, the lecture I gave my daughter after we got to the car.
“Sally ELIZABETH, misbehaving in church, being rude to me, and making fun of any part of the Mass, is never allowed. Ever. You were offered the Sign of Peace, which is really a prayer from me to God to for you, wishing you all His Blessings. Not only did you refuse to take my hand, you were nasty about it. You basically said “No” to the offer of a prayer and a sign of love.
You will not speak to me as tho’ I’m a fellow CheetahGirl having “a moment.” Hip and with-it does not ever mean rude and disrespectful. Snaps are not part of Mass, or part of talking to Mommy.
You will not use slang. I am not your “Sista.” And if you ever say “whatever” or “duh” to me again, EVER, I’ll make Cruella Deville look like Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother.
Sally, do you understand why I’m angry?”
Bottom lip trembling, Sally WAS sorry. And suddenly embarrassed. Really embarrassed. It bothered her all week.
The new groove:
Next Mass, here we go. Sign of Peace. I look over; she’s suddenly a bit more upright and turns my way. I smile at Sally, turn and offer my hand. “Peace Be with You, Honey.”
Sally extended her hand then said (in a voice so big the ushers in the back of church were chuckling)
“PEACE BE WITH YOU MOMMM! ... AND I LOOOVE YOU. THANK YOU, MOTHER. PEACE (slams into me, big hug, looks up).
Now I’m the one in tears. Good ones. Sally has a way of making everything she does big.
In front of God and everyone.
She rocks. (But not during Mass.)