"I want to go to Adoration," my 4 year old begged last night. I knew from experience how it would turn out, and yet...
"I want to pray," she said.
"I won't move," she said.
"I promise," she said. Again and again.
If I walked out the door I would go with her crying in the background, wanting to come to church with me. If she came with me, I knew I would not have my time for quiet reflection that I look forward to each week.
Last night I gave in. It is about the 3rd time I have taken her with me to my weekly time slot spanning across multiple months, and each time the outcome is similar. Glimpses of piety mixed in with a whole lot of activity and curiosity. An "I want to pray the Rosary" followed by reciting after me part way through the first decade, guiding her hands along the beads. A kiss on a statue that she knew was Mother Mary.
There were tender moments of bonding between mother and daughter in front of the Blessed Sacrament, but there were also some frustrations. I tried to remember what my priest told me once when I said she had distracted me at Mass - "she's not a distraction; she's an attraction." I tried to think about the value in bringing her from time to time, even though I know it will be a struggle, rather than a retreat to rest in Him. I thought about her having early exposure to my most powerful form of self care and about how she will hopefully grow up longing to be in His presence on a regular basis as well - a comfortable rhythm and routine to her life.
Nurturing others in the faith requires sacrifice. Sometimes we need to set aside our plans for what we want and how we want it in order to provide access to experiences to others. As we were heading out the door and she repeated after me, "Good night, Jesus. I love you. Thank you for this time together," I knew this was a good thing; yet, I also knew I will hesitate to bring her again for a while. There was also a layer of sadness that I didn't get "my hour."
I'm navigating this journey of investing in my relationship with God, while also allowing space to help construct a foundation for her relationship with God. As some have mentioned before, "You can't give what you don't have," I know that at times it is okay to tell her no when she begs, while at other times I am called to say yes to her pleas.
Lead me, Lord. Help me to recognize when I need to focus on my relationship with you and when I am called to sacrifice my desires to participate in your plan for building her foundation with you.