It is Monday after the Laetare Sunday before, and oh but do I have a lot of dishes still to wash! But it was a lovely day, from the glorious rose vestments to the rose-coloured icing on the cakes. And right there in the readings was a command that childless women should rejoice:
Galatians 4:27 Scriptum est enim laetare sterilis quae non paris erumpe et exclama quae non parturis quia multi filii desertae magis quam eius quae habet virum. (For it is written: "Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labor pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.")
Well, I have a husband, and this all probably applies more to nuns, and St. Paul probably meant it figuratively anyway, but I'll take it!
At lunch a young Polish guest, in Edinburgh just for the weekend, surveyed the rest of the dozen people around the pink tablecloth and remarked that none of us had children. And, indeed, I can see that this would look strange to Polish eyes, for Poland is a country that really loves children, and most Polish adults prefer to have them. We were of all ages ranging from 25 to 69.
I explained that everyone except BA and I were unmarried and BA and I had married too late for children. And I went on at great length about my parish friend currently away in Asia, who is married and had two children while attending our EF Mass. This was in part to prove that some people in our EF community actually do have babies. (And there are others, of course.) But I had to admit that this friend never comes to Sunday Lunch, and indeed socially the community is roughly divided between those who have children and those who don't. However, this is partly because families with children don't really have the time or the inclination to come to Sunday Lunch.
Here is where I should write something clever and poignant about the message of the Gospel being partly about the inclusion of those left without children or husbands or family ties into society, but poppets I am wiped. Lunch for 14 means a lot of work, and BA always snores after parties.