April 10, 2012

The Triduum Tales

Photo by S. Rutherford, taken during the Chrism Mass on Tuesday, April 3rd

Our beautiful Cathedral was the backdrop for da Creature's FIRST EVER attempt at Triduum-ing.  That means he needed to function for FOUR major Masses/Services over a four day period.  He made 2 and a half, which would have been impossible last year, so I count it as blessing that he managed what he did.

Thusday was Holy Thursday, and there are three separate sets of things he had to be quiet and still for.  This coupled with him being SO excited that he HAD to sit in the VERY FRONT of the rows of, inconveniently for a sensory kid, the temporary chairs you'd find at an outdoor wedding.  Let's pause for a moment to survey the scene...
  • brand new space
  • temporary chairs that are rickety and have **GASP**  tied on seat cushions
  • wobbly, balanced-impaired AND sensory-impaired fidget monster
  •  lots of new and different things going on at Mass
  • Organ silence after the Gloria (PRAISE GOD someone remembers!!!!) which meant a capella music only and LOTS of uncomfortable silence
  • little old ladies all around me
  • the lady who was part of the foot washing group left her purse and sunglasses on the seat next to da Creature 
He did really well for a while.  Then he didn't.  I knew we were going to have to go to the back of the church and the glaring little old ladies made it clear we needed to go SOONER rather than later, but he was trying SO hard and he had already communicated (vehemently) that he felt like going to the back would be a failure, so he was fighting and grousing, but I had to do it, we HAD to move, so, during the Sanctus (Mass XVIII btw... **smile**) we headed down the aisle...

So...pretend you're not me for a second and just watch this play out
  • he's really, red-faced mad
  • stomping
  • being dragged by his mother down the side aisle of a quiet Cathedral during the a capella Sanctus
  • he's SHOUT-SINGING in Latin and STOMPING where the angel's footsteps normally lift the pulse in chant
Go ahead, you can laugh...it was a little funny from a helicopter, but not so much for da Mama.  After Mass, a friend came up to me and said with a smile, "Boy, he sure does know his Latin, huh?"

Yeah, I guess he does.

On Good Friday, he used his finger and followed along, pointing ever single word of the Gospel (the ENTIRE Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ) line by line, because we have to "help" Mommy see the tiny little words (okay, I'm evil, but it gives him SOMETHING to do with himself during readings, and this was a very very very long one).  He managed this, mind you, while standing on the vent which was under HIS chair, and which was blowing freezing air and making the satin bookmarks on his Missal flap in the breeze.  After the Gospel, he actually said "Mommy, I feel overwhelmed" and I was able to beat a retreat to the foyer for a while.  GO da CREATURE!!! WAY TO USE WORDS!!!

Then we went down for veneration of the cross, and he struggled to get on his knees on the floor, and I had to haul him back up like a giant unconscious tuna, but that was okay...he got to do it, and that was what really mattered.

For the rest of Mass, we went up to the choir loft and I let him play angry birds in the library alcove, which should have been a dream, except...  see.... he listens.... to everything.... everything.  Apparently on Thursday when they sang "There is a Balm in Gilead" (blech) he had memorized it.  Here's my liturgical music rule...if my autistic son can memorize a song on one hearing at church, it was TOO simple for adults to be singing.  Unfortunately, the song re-appeared on Friday, while he was playing angry birds.  Wow.  His little voice carries really well, even when he's in a back room facing the back wall.  I leapt from my chair in the choir stalls, and creaked across the floor noisily a little late to stop him from screaming the refrain happily at the very tippy top of his little lungs.  Oh good grief.

So, in the end, it was wonderful.  Easter morning brought more computer time for him, as I had to conduct for the 8:00 AM Mass, but he got to spend it with Daddy, which made him happy.  We went home, I made some form of meat and potatoes, and he got to go find eggs in the backyard and eat some candy.  Easter now means a little more than getting dressed up and being told not to shout-sing the Alleluia.  Now it means getting dressed up and being told not to shout-sing the Sanctus on Holy Thursday OR shout-sing There is a Balm in Gilead, well, ever.  But, he has new experiences of what it means to be Catholic in his repertoire of things he KNOWS.  Now that's PROGRESS.

Happy Easter Season to ALL!

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