The "tunnel of parenthood" is those early years, when your kids are all still very young, very dependent, and you're still rather unsure of yourself too. I will often think of it when things are tough in my life as a mother. They will not be this way forever, they will get more independent and reasonable, although it's sometimes hard to see that light. Like today.
Today I took both children to Mass. Alone. Already you know where this is going, I'm sure. We went to the playground beforehand with the idea that if Anthony ran off a chunk of his energy he'd be better behaved. Ha.
This is how we spent Mass: We arrived early enough but were actually late from going potty. Again. Settle in just before the Gospel. Anthony whines really loudly; tries to pick up sleeping Katie Rose, waking her; tries to climb into my lap while I'm nursing, making me expose myself to the gentleman behind us; and/or tries to empty the diaper bag into the lap of the gentleman behind us. We make a racket leaving for disciplinary action to be taken. Anthony doesn't seem to care about said action, and just wants to play out in the vestibule. Well, in my battle-fatigued mind I can't reward his misbehavior by giving him what he wants, so back in we go. Rinse both hands in the holy water font and repeat.
By the time we finally get to Communion, everyone is done. I had already determined that on the way back from receiving I would scoop up the long-abandoned carseat from our pew and make a graceful (i.e. immediate) exit.
About a third of the way up the aisle, Anthony plunks his bottom down and refuses to move. Of course he's whining, too. After a few awful seconds of standoff, I had no choice but to pick him up. Mercifully, he shut up. So here I go charging down the aisle, newborn in the ring sling, toddler under my arm as if I'm about to score a touchdown. I certainly wasn't in a recollected state of mind to receive Holy Communion. My state of mind was more like, "JesusMaryandJosephhelpmenow!" I really, really, needed a major infusion of grace just then. The priest seemed to think so, too. He gave Anthony two blessings.
So we get back to our pew like this. I have no choice but to put Anthony down in order to pick up the carseat and diaper bag. Again that child won't follow me, and resumes his whining. Now what do I do? "Anthony, we're going home." Nothing doing. "Come on! Now!" The older gentleman is probably ready to kill me now. "Come on, wee're going outside." "OutSIDE! OutSIIIIIIIIIDE!!!!" "Yes, now come quietly with mommy."
As I'm opening the door to leave, he turns and blows Jesus a kiss.