Before I sign off for the remainder of Holy Week, I wanted to write a quick post so that the awkward one about President Obama won’t be the top post on the page. Also, because I’m genuinely curious about the Triduum traditions of you all, but especially of those of you with small children.
For the first two Holy Weeks of our marriage, Atticus and I attended all the services. Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, and sometimes even again on Sunday just for good measure. We love Holy Week that much.
Last year Maggie was nearly four months old during Holy Week, so we did everything the same with the exception of the Easter Vigil (my favorite Mass of the entire liturgical year), because it was just too long.
This year, however, we have a toddler. A 15 month old who, on a good week, makes it all the way through Mass standing in the back of the Church with either myself or Atticus, and who on a bad week…cries. A lot.
Routines are becoming so important for us around here, with bedtime routine being the most important of all. So there goes the gorgeous, Holy Thursday Mass tonight at our parish. It lasts two hours. The Easter Vigil is out, though it begins early enough, it is just too long (at 3+ hours…no we don’t omit any readings) for a toddler. Or for her parents to have to wrangle her.
Thankfully Atticus has tomorrow off from work so we will be able to attend the Good Friday service tomorrow afternoon. We want to enjoy the day off, but don’t want to do anything that’s contrary to the spirit of Good Friday, so we’re going to do a trip to a local park for a walk and some exercise after church. I don’t want to just sit around the house all day, but we can’t really spend all day in church either, with this little noisemaker.
We have a few little things we’re going to to try and keep with the spirit of Holy Week, with a toddler.
We have an excellent book that Maggie’s godmother Elizabeth sent. It’s called My First Pictures of Easter and has photo stories of Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and some of the sightings of Jesus after Easter. It’s perfect for the 2 and under set.
Atticus and I have a CD from Lighthouse Catholic Media which is a guided reflection on Stations of the Cross. We haven’t listened to it yet, but we’re planning to listen as a family on Friday.
We’re also going to watch the final two installments of the Fr. Barron Catholicism DVD series. It’s been very good.
As for Easter itself, we got Maggie a picture book called The Story of Easter. It’s cute, we had it’s companion The Story of Christmas and she liked it a lot. She’s small for much else than that on the religious front, so we’re going to focus on making Easter a joyful, fun day with good food, fun surprises (an egg hunt in the front yard) and most importantly, a beautiful Mass.
Neither Atticus nor I grew up in a home with much religious tradition surrounding Easter (other than go to church on Easter Sunday), so we’re basically starting from scratch ourselves.
What about you all? If you have or have had toddlers, how did you incorporate the Holy Week solemnities and celebrations? Did you already have traditions in place, or did you make them up as you went along?
If you haven’t already stopped looking at the internets for the rest of Holy Week, I’d love to hear from you!