For a while, it was cute to compare the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress to an X-Men movie. I was cast as Ms.Grito, a superheroine with more moxie than muscles, a petite loudmouth with healing powers and a weakness for fixer-upper love interests/traitorous enemies. My friends were superheroes of many talents. Each year we embarked on a journey to the Catholic Planet, a world of harmony and uplifting celebrations. Then life changed.
For the second year in a row, the multigenerational trio of Mom, me, and baby hauled the car seat, stroller, and a pack of diapers onto a plane and headed to Anaheim for a long weekend. Energized by my Facebook fast and excited about the return of my favorite speakers, I literally danced to the airport. Then we realized the car seat had stayed strapped in the hybrid. Blues rushed it to us. We rushed to the gate. Then my daughter proceeded to make the blood rush to my head by being her usual wily self. Nothing was going to make her be still on my lap. Despite our DirecTV not including her favorite channel, we made it to Long Beach, a lovely 20 minute drive from our hotel.
We were treated to great weather. I enjoyed a great conference. The highlights included:
Fr. Ron Rolheiser.
Keynote speaker Mitch Albom, whose tearjerker presentation got a well-deserved standing O.
The sweet sounds of Good Ground.
Barbara Coloroso, now seen through the eyes of a parent of a toddler(that would be me!)
Fr. Richard Leonard deconstructing Transformers and referring to The Exorcist as a comedy(with that lovely Aussie accent).
I cried my eyes out at Confession. I loved visiting the Blessed Sacrament.
I got an autograph and hug from my favorite gospel singer, Cliff Petty.
We took M to a park.
We tried fried green beans(yum!) and enjoyed a Sizzler buffet.
I ran 5 miles, partly along my Disneyland Half route, at dawn.
Blues called and texted constantly to say how much he missed us.
Okay, so M would not behave during Mass. But I’m quite sure God realizes that 18 month old toddlers are simply being the beings he has made.
I may not be as active at church as I’d like but LA Congress was exactly where I needed to be when I needed to be.