Yesterday morning at church I was inspired, like I am every Sunday, but in a different way. When Mass started, I found my way to a pew with my 2-year-old, praying he would stay quiet. (DH was on his way with the little one.) Anyway, in the pew in front of me was a mother with a six-month-old and a 2-year-old. She was by herself. Her boys were behaving as you'd expect, active and chatty, and the mother was barely able to look up to hear the service.
I started thinking to myself, how much enrichment could she possibly be getting when she's hearing about every tenth word? I didn't berate her for not putting her kids in the church nursery, though, because I don't really like to put my kids in there either. All this would have probably kept me at home had I been alone with my two kids that morning. I sat watching my content son playing with his toy tractor in the pew and thanked God for that, that I could hear the readings and participate. I thanked Him (in advance) that my other son would be entertained by his dad for a while, and I'd be able to hear some more of the service. I thanked Him for my peaceful feeling at the end of Mass, not exhaustion or frustration. I thanked God for all these things because I realized that He doesn't always work in big ways, that sometimes His presence is felt in smaller ways.
(All that said, my husband ended up taking both my boys home since we live next door to the church, because they were getting out of hand. I thank God for him, too!)
Anyway, I'm sure that woman will continue bringing her boys to church, with or without her husband, and month by month they will get easier and easier during Mass. And pretty soon she will be able to hear the whole service while they sit quietly beside her. (I, myself, am anticipating that day!) And she will be glad she brought them to church yesterday and all the Sundays in between, and didn't stay home.