Between the four of us, our family attended seven Immaculate Conception Masses over the past 28 hours. Dan is in the church choir (~20 members), a smaller group made up of 8 choir members, a trio, and a chant group that meets twice a month at another parish. He's hoping to start a chant/Schola at our parish's Latin Mass in lieu of some of the other groups. In the meantime, December is getting a little crazy with the choir obligations. On Monday, the trio sang at the Immaculate Conception anticipatory Mass and since I was unaware of this and not home when Dan came home with Peter at 4pm, Peter ended up coming with him. Tonight, the small choir group sang at the 7pm mass, tomorrow he has choir practice, and on Thursday the choir is singing at a Taize service. I'm not sure which masses he sings at for Christmas, but I'm sure it's at least one Christmas Eve and one the next morning. It's a good thing we live 3 minutes from church.
Last night I went to masstimes.org to figure out what Mass I could go to. Our parish had the two Dan was in plus one at 8am today. I normally pick up our milk across town on Tuesday mornings, then pick up Leo's carpool buddy in time to get to preschool (at our parish) at 9am. I considered getting the milk at 7am and going to Mass at 8 with Leo, but that wouldn't work for carpool. I could have gotten the milk during preschool, but I really prefer to work while Leo's gone. The thought of bringing both boys to Mass at 7pm by myself (because Dan would be in the choir loft) after Peter had already attended two Immaculate Conception Masses did not sound like a good idea. Peter's pretty good at Mass but Leo hasn't figured out how to stay at whisper-level and occasionally makes a break for it. According to masstimes.org, there were 5 suburban parishes and probably 8 urban parishes within about 10 minutes of our house. Of the ones with current websites, the vast majority offered Mass in the early morning and evening. Then I found one about two miles away (clearly I need to cross over into Minneapolis more often) offering a noon Mass. Then I realized it was in Vietnamese. Umm, no. I knew there was a noon Mass downtown (15 minutes plus parking) that might even have childcare, but it isn't much fun to park there on a Sunday afternoon. Finding parking on a Tuesday morning with a snowstorm starting when I was in a time crunch due to Leo finishing preschool at 11:30 sounded stressful. Eventually I realized that the Basilica of St. Mary offered a noon Mass. It's on the edge of downtown and I had to pay for parking, but $5 in a ramp right next to the church felt like a reasonable compromise. We got there a few minutes late because the ramp wouldn't take my quarters and managed to stay in the pew about 10 minutes before Leo got wiggly (in addition to stage whispering) and I got an ugly look from an old lady and I decided it was time to check out the side chapels. At least with the Basilica, there's plenty to look at. I managed to muddle through the Mass and afterwards, we went behind the altar area to check out the choir loft and pipe organ and look way, way up into the copper roof we can see along the skyline.
During the school year, the boys have Sunday School during Mass about 3 weeks out of 4 from late September until April. Those weeks I usually am sitting by myself while Dan's in choir. It's only in the summer that we have a 2 adults: 2 kids ratio for Mass. I think Peter was easier to manage in church at Leo's age but my memory could be fuzzy. Peter can read along with hymns and the bulletin now and Leo likes to hunt for the right hymn numbers. But the hour can feel like a long time. Next year Peter will age out of Sunday School and be with me again. I'm just glad that the only year they offered Sunday School for 2 year olds, Leo managed to hit it. All the other 2 year olds freaked out but Leo was happy to leave us for the hour. Tomorrow they have their Sunday School Christmas performance -- I think this year Leo might actually stand and sing instead of running circles around the risers. We shall see.