When my children reached the ripe old age of six, I decided it was time to introduce a little God into their lives. After all, we live in Florida. Sooner or later, they’re going to get a hell of a lot more God than I’ll ever be comfortable with. We went the Catholic route. I grew up Catholic, and when they were babies, I snuck them into my old parish without doing any of the requisite paperwork to get them baptized. You know. Just in case. Hell insurance, really.
Anyway, it seemed only natural that we start going to Mass before their peers figured out they had no idea who Jesus was; it also seemed like the only way to get them to stop referring to crosses as “x”s. Don’t worry, I picked a Mass that always serves donuts and lemonade afterward. Those Catholics really know how to reel them in.
We’ve been going weekly for a few months now, and the discussions that follow are the result of my hard work, fortitude and moral guidance as my kids find their path to their savior.
Child one put her hand on her chest pledge-of-allegiance style during the Lord’s prayer.
Afterward in the car: “Mama, I didn’t want to tell on him in church, but the man up there said JESUS CHRIST a lot. Are you going to yell at him?”
“You tell us to listen to the stories, but the stories are so boring, mama. Can we bring them a book to read next time?”
Totally skipped it to go to the beach. God is everywhere, right?
Child: “I want to eat one of those flat things, too.”
Me: “You have to be seven and go through a lot of stuff to do that.”
Child: “Maybe we could just lie to them.”
Me: “You’re missing the point of church.”
After Mass, the priest stops to talk to child 2 for a moment.
Child 2: “Oh yeah, I forgot you said CHRIST all the time.”
Child 2: “Mom, did Jesus die?”
Me: “Yes, he died.”
Child 2: “How did he die?”
Me: “Well, he died on a cross.”
Child 2: “What do you mean?”
Me: “You know those necklaces a lot of people wear with the x on it?”
Child 1: “Oh yeah! That’s a cross? And the little man on it is Jesus?”
Child 2: “What, did he walk into it or something?”
Child 1: “But mom, if Jesus is God, then he can’t die.”
Me: “Well, he was human too, so he died.”
Child 1: “Could he not have died?”
Me: “Yeah, he chose to die so he could open the gates of heaven for us.”
Child 2: “He CHOSE to die? Why?”
Me: “If he didn’t, we wouldn’t have a beautiful happy place to go when we die. It was his job.”
Child 2: “So he was born to die?”
Me: “Well, yeah. We all kind of are.”
Child 2: “JESUS CHRIST.”
Child 2: “Mom, where is heaven?”
Me: “It’s very far away. Like, past the sky or something.”
Child 2: “How do we get there when we die? We have to walk all that way?”
Child 1: “No. We must drive.”
Child 1: “Hey, mom? Heaven sounds a lot like aliens and zombies. Is God an alien and a zombie?”
As you can see, Catholicism is going really well. I feel confident I am bringing some good, God-fearing, moral little beings into the world. Even if they’re only going for the donuts.