Monday, September 27, 2010

The Theological Implications of Donuts and Dollars

Three Sundays ago, my kids had to serve the 8:30.  With the exception of when I'm feeling extraordinarily ambitious, these sorts of mornings, we do a split squad for mass.  I had some folders to drop off for people who would be working the Fall Festival so I took the early shift.  Unfortunately, in waking the three required children, another five got up.  I wasn't worried,  I knew some would hang back and opt to have breakfast with Dad.  Then I heard those little words that send chills down any Catholic's spine.  "I'm bringing my money to buy donuts." 

My six year old's conception of money is not yet fully formed.  He knows money is needed to buy things, he knows how to count money, he knows to save money for certain desired items.  However, he does not fully comprehend that once the money is spent, it doesn't exist anymore.  He also frequently loses his money by removing it for repeated viewing and counting.  Thus when he came bounding down the stairs announcing he would buy six donuts and a drink (I guessed roughly eight dollars worth from his talk), and his pocket jingled loudly, I sought to do damage control by pairing him with his oldest brother in the back seat.  "He can hold your money for you."  I explained.   He refused.

We loaded the car and not five minutes into the drive, there was a wail from the back seat.  "I've lost two dollars."  He began throwing the blanket, umbrella, and various miscellaneous bags of stuff around, searching madly.  His brother was trying to calm him down and pitching everything to the trunk as it was being tossed.  The rest of the ride to the church was not restful.  I tried reason. "The money is still here, it's just hidden."  No dice.  I tried chiding.  "I told you to put your coins in a wallet or let your brother or me hold it or..." but stopped because it only was making things worse.  I was right but so what?   I pointed out that we didn't NEED to buy six donuts and a drink, that he could still get his own drink and donut with what was left. 

None of this rational thinking did any good.  I parked and the altar servers disembarked.  I hoped the walk to mass would allow all of us to get into good working order for the morning.   But there was a low grumbling rumble from my six year old repeated over and over again like a mantra.  "I want my money.  I want my money. I want my money."  I told him he sounded like a bill collector.   He glared at me.  I didn't like pulling out the big guns but, "If you don't stop, we won't go downstairs for donuts."  

So then he squeezed my hand, "We should have kept looking.  We should have kept looking. We should have kept looking."

We got to mass.  I prayed things would settle down.  My son is usually pretty attentive or at least quiet during the times when silence is preferred.  The gospel talked about the woman losing one coin and sweeping her house until it was found.  "See?"  my son is looking at me with the "You-should-have-let-me-look-until-I found-it" justification in his eyes.   Vindicated by the readings, he settled for the moral victory of being able to boast after mass, "Mom should have listened to me." as he munched on a sprinkled donut and hot chocolate.  His siblings chipped in for the donuts for those left behind with Dad.

When we got home, he went to put his remaining change away and came back joyful, "Guess what?  I guess I forgot I didn't take all my money.  I found the other two dollars on my bed."   I made a mental note; no children bringing money to mass...ever...or at the very least, I'm going to crib the day's liturgy of the word before we get into the church.

1 comment:

MightyMom said...

Oh My!!!

I'm penniless....uh, I mean speechless!!


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