There are many things I’m proud of as a Catholic mom. One of them is the fact that my toddler, Vincent, is obsessed with Holy Water. It absolutely melts my heart to see Vincent behave with such reverence around Holy Water.
Holy Water? Yep.
For my friends who are unfamiliary with what this means, let me enlighten you. Holy Water is water that has been blessed or sanctified by a priest for a special purpose. That purpose could be for a blessing for people or objects, a baptism, or to rid evil. It may seem odd to some denominations but Holy Water is what Catholics use to cleanse. I’m sure it has some really deep and spiritual origin in the Scriptures but for my purposes here, it cleanses people or objects. In fact, Catholics do the Sign of the Cross with Holy Water as a way to prepare themselves before entering and celebrating Mass.
Anyways. Back to my story.
My toddler is obsessed with Holy Water.
The problem? All water is Holy Water in Vincent’s mind…
I used to get frustrated when Vincent would play in the dog’s water dish…until I saw him performing the Sign of the Cross with the dog’s water.
After it rains, puddles in parking lots…become Holy Water (in Vincent’s mind). A simple walk into Target could mean a surprise “blessing” as Vincent kneels to get the “Holy Water” from the parking lot puddles.
We even have Holy Water that we’ve taken (not stolen) from our church in a jar in his room. Most mornings he asks for his “holo agua,” and gives him and his mama a sweet blessing after we change his diaper. Seriously it’s the cutest…unless we’re running late. But it’s still cute.
Standing water with a high likelihood of having flesh-eating bacteria (can you tell I’m a Dental Hygienist?) will probably become Holy Water as well if we ever come across that scenario with Vincent. Do you get the point?
Every Saturday evening as we are rushing into church, Vincent stops at the Holy Water Font at the narthex of the church. And it’s not a quick stop either. No. It has to be a production (because go big or go home, mom).
I’m trying to teach him that we Catholics have a “one dip” rule (I don’t know if that’s really a rule but for the sake of time it’s a rule for our family). Instead, Vincent practically morphs into a duck that’s taking a swim in a pond on a Sunday afternoon. Splashing splashing splashing.
As if Carlos and I aren’t already embarrassed enough for being almost late to Mass, now we have to wrangle our toddler who loves to douse himself in Holy Water. He gets a blessing, mom gets a blessing, and whatever “friend” he brings gets a blessing – Yoda, Mickey Mouse, or Donald Duck.
It’s quite a scene. It’s cute, it really is…but it’s a scene.
We’re trying, peeps. Reverence is a very complicated concept to teach to a toddler. But we try.
The point is, I’ve never been more aware of how much my child is watching me until recent months. Our children are watching us. They know and see more than we think they do.
We’re in the very early stages of this faith journey (and teaching him about our faith) that if I get embarrassed over his Holy Water obsession, it may discourage us to keep fighting the Good fight.
He’s getting better. We’re getting better. God asks us to try to be better, so we try.