Last night we went as a family to the Ash Wednesday Mass. It tends to be just a little longer than a standard Mass because there are so many people. Most years Papa and I go to separate Masses and leave the kids at home.
Because it was so crowded we ended up in the front row. The kids actually tend to be on their best behavior when we are really close, but it does add some stress for me.
M.G. and M2 started paying such close attention when the Priest was explaining the ashes and how that part of the service would go. He said that even children could get ashes and M2 had so many quick, quiet questions for me. (When would we take the ashes off? What were they? How do they come off?) I left it up to them and they both decided to come up with us.
I went first and the older two were right behind me. (Papa and M3 had gone to the back for a few minutes because M3 had gotten wiggly, so they ended up in a different line.) As the priest or helper person made the sign of the cross with ashes on each forehead he or she said, "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return."
We went back to our seats and M2 leaned over to me and whispered worriedly, "Do I have to remember that?" He is just getting to a stage where he is trying to figure out what we do at church. I told him it was ok and he'd remember a different year.