At any other time, I would simply have told her to get lost if that was how she felt, but after two sleepless nights in a row, I was exhausted and at the end of my tether. Let's just say there was a scene and after a good deal of self-righteous muttering from her side and a fair amount of "I brought him out here precisely to keep him out of your way! What more do you want?!" from me, it became apparent that the situation was not going to resolve itself. "All right, all right," I said, because by this stage I was in tears and just wanted her to go away, "you don't have to stop coming to Mass because of my children. I won't bring them to daily Mass any more. OK?"
She gave a relieved smile. "Thank you. Good. Thanks." And she walked, still smiling, out of the door.
A group of parishioners who had heard the argument (I should think half of Guildford heard it) immediately gathered around, promising that they love to see children in church and that they knew how difficult it could be. They had all been there themselves when their own children were small. I was touched by how kind they all were and knew almost immediately after I had walked home that I would not stop bringing my children to Mass, but the incident bothered me all day.
I couldn't get over how evidently she resented the presence of children in church, even when she could clearly see me removing them when they became disruptive, and how pleased she was by the thought that she had got her own way. It set me thinking, 'but what would happen if you really did get what you claim to want? What if I and all mothers in my position, stop bringing our children to church because you cannot tolerate their intrusion into the selfish little world you have created for yourself? What will happen in twenty-five years or so when you are dying on some hospital bed and you call for a priest? You may find that there is no priest because among those troublesome little children you chased out of church years ago was a little boy who would have grown up to comfort you in your final hour. Be careful what you wish for, my friend, or you may have the misfortune to get what you want.