Letter to the Grouchy Lady at Church

Posted April 6, 2015 by Prairie Wife - 15 comments

Dear Grouchy Lady at Church,

Let me start out by saying, Happy Easter! Not only is this a glorious day religiously (Christ has risen) but the sun is shining and the birds are singing. Can you believe we got here a half hour early (with a family our size we need more room than most) and there was only this spot next to you that would fit us? No don’t worry about getting up for us so we can get past you without causing you bodily harm or us the embarrassment of brushing various body parts against you. I’m sorry my whispers to the children encouraging them to move as far down the pew as possible from you disturbed your prayers, and that Cowboy C (he is two now isn’t that a fun age to bring to church) was a little wiggly on my lap. I also appreciate your suggestion to place him between The Cowboy and I when he lost his balance and touched your leg.

Thanks for only cringing the first time he dropped his horse, but not the second. I’m sorry me tapping the lady in front of us and asking her to get it was rude (in your opinion) but I could tell Cowboy C was about to break down and I wanted to prevent that. It is clear to me as well, that despite me covering up with a blanket to nurse LittleMissH, I obviously offended your sensibilities. I of course refrained from pointing out that your breasts were only covered up by a piece of fabric as well. Though I will admit that your polyester black blazer offered a touch more coverage than my blanket. I have never prayed for a blanket to stay in place, or the baby to stay silent and not cry or burp before, how wonderful to have that experience while at church! Never before has the sound of a baby farting made me break into a cold sweat but I can attest to the fact that Secret Clinical Strength deodorant does work to hide stress sweat smell.

Due to the process of walking up for communion my oldest three children wound up entering your personal space during the last part of mass…for this I truly apologize. I know that Cowboy W pouting when his sister bumped him was the straw that broke the camels back and I appreciate you hanging in there until the last verse was sung before you rushed out without making any eye contact. So, because I didn’t have a chance to say so after mass, thank you for making me question my choice to attend mass with my large family. During mass it was all I could do to keep at bay my tears of frustration over what was in retrospect some of the best church behavior I’ve ever seen out of my kids.

Have a wonderful week and God Bless!

Prairie Wife

Note to Readers: I wanted to respond to the many comments that were left on FB and this post…

1. This is sadly a 100% true story!
2. This is my first bad experience in the almost decade I have been attending church with my children, and it occured at a church in another town. I assure you all that it will NOT keep us from attending mass…we don’t get discouraged that easily.3. My reaction to her was always a pleasant response and large smile, kill them with kindness I always say! This post was how I vented and I thank you all for your compassion and kind words, as well as your understanding.
4. Hearing from our readers how many of you have had similar experiences (many of you multiple times) makes me so sad. I encourage you to ignore them and focus on all of the kind words from our readers. In the end the majority of people welcome and even encourage young families at their church…don’t give up!

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15 thoughts on "Letter to the Grouchy Lady at Church"

  1. Erica says:

    Ha! I hope this is fictional

  2. Pa says:

    Laughed out loud! I do recall a New Testament verse about “Suffer the little children to come to Me.” I guess not everyone understands that this is meant to be taken seriously. (Too bad CowgirlH couldn’t muster up a little strategically aimed tummy upset.)

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I have to admit that verse was in my mind and on the tip of my tongue to say to her if things got worse lol!

  3. Ma says:

    I’m really sorry this female (women do not act like this) detracted from your Easter experience. Perhaps you all should have made sure your handshake and “Peace be with you” was delivered with a bigger smile (and maybe an extra blessing from Cowboy J). You did all circle past her to do the handshake…right ?!? Oh well…I’m sure God understands…She is a Mother too!!! 😉

  4. Karen says:

    I so can empathize! I only have 3 children, (my youngest ialready 4yo) and the Easter Vigil was the the longest 2 hours of my life! When it was over, I thanked the people behind us for being so patient and understanding, and the only thing they said was not to worry–“they were just being kids”…If only everyone could have some perspective about why we are all at church in the first place!!!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      That’s how our weekly mass usually goes for us too Karen!

  5. katy says:

    Oh it is always a struggle with little ones in church! But I assure you for every grouchy old lady there are 10 sweet ones who LOVE seeing your kiddos in church! I have sweet women in our church come up to me all the time and say how they love that we don’t send our to the nursery! They love hearing the sounds of children in church!! So pray for her and her grouchiness I know I will! Keep taking those kiddos to church and go give her a big hug next time you see her! I bet she needs one! Hehe! Or better yet let your kids!

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I agree Katy with everything you said!

  6. Pat McCarthy says:

    Dear Prairie Wife,
    Your post brings tears to my eyes. First of all for you and your precious family having to have experienced what I know was both stressful and hurtful. Please don’t ever deprive us of your children of coming to Church because people can be rude and judgemental. You and your family are evangelizing the church and the world. Your innocent, spontaneous, adorable children are the source of joy and admiration for many and your family is desperately needed in this “hospital for sinners” which is our church. Take it from me, on a less crowded Sunday, if you experience such rejecting behavior again, get up, brush a few body parts a second time, and move pews. Come sit with someone like us. We will find the beauty of Jesus in your children AND probably play with them a little. Remember it was Jesus who said, “Let the little children come to me and do not prevent them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” The second reason I feel sad is because I know that there is some very deep hurt in the life of the Grouchy Lady at Chuch. There is anger, bitterness or loss in her heart and her behavior puts distance between her and others because she will not risk the vulnerability of kindness and love. If you ever see her again, smile at her and speak to her, even if she doesn’t make eye contact. And tonight when you say your family prayers, please pray with your children for the lady in church who was cranky and must be very, very sad.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I will be back to church, one bad experience can’t keep us away! I agree about your comment about the grouchy lady having her own hurt. All mass I kept trying to tell myself who knows what she is going through, and I never showed her that she had hurt me feelings…kill them with kindness is my motto!

  7. College BFF says:

    This makes me sooooo mad reading this and reminds me and brings me back the reasons I was discouraged from going to church at a young age. The type of people who think because they are at church makes them a good person make me so mad. I’m so sorry this happened to you and I wish that this doesn’t happen as often as it does to people.

  8. Suzi Ekberg says:

    Fr. Larry Richards says: If there ain’t no crying, your church is dying.” The little ones will move around and be vocal-normal behavior. If there’s a meltdown, of course, remove the child and return when the child is calm. Attending Mass is important and bringing the little ones is acclimating them to church, part of our job as parents. Some days it is not easy; however, we are being blessed. Reminds me of my twin boys. They would start Mass sitting next to each other; too much messing around, and I sat between them.

    1. Prairie Wife says:

      I agree, little ones are the sign of a thriving church. And we often spend mass playing musical pews lol moving the kids around based on who they are driving nuts lol.

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