Monday, August 13, 2012

Ring Slings and Head Coverings

Veils and a hat in the Rogation Procession at Our Lady of
Clear Creek Monastery.
We arrived at Sunday Mass, a couple weeks ago.  I picked up the avalanche of toys Linus had thrown into the space between his carseat and the car door, tossing them back into the middle of the back seat when I will be able to reach them to give to him on the way home.  I unfasten Linus from his seat, pick him up, swing the diaper bag over my shoulder, reach into the outside pocket and find ...


I left my chapel veil at home.  I have been Catholic for eight years (all my "adult" life; I was received into the Church on my twenty-first birthday) and have worn a veil (or hat, or scarf, if I felt the veil might draw unwanted attention) all of that time.  I am acutely uncomfortable without one.

We went into the church and I checked the table by the door, where a basket of chapel veils often sits for those women who don't own one or, like me, forgot.  Not that day.

As I genuflect and get settled in the pew with Linus and Lucy and the diaper bag and their prayer books and holy cards, my husband whispers, "Is there anything in the diaper bag you could use?"  I shake my head.

I stand, holding Linus, during the Asperges, feeling the color rising in my cheeks, going over the contents of the diaper bag in my mind.  Nursing cover?  No, it has that helpful bit of boning, and it's far to brightly colored.  The ring sling is like a big shawl, and a nice unobtrusive khaki colored linen, but if I unthreaded it, the rings would jingle.  I was just pondering asking for my husband's handkerchief to tie over my hair, when I realized that I could pull the sling on through the rings, and then wrap it around my head and shoulders so that they would be mostly hidden.  I fumbled with it one-handed for a couple minutes, and by the Confiteor, had it settled and began to relax.

Not ten minutes later, my husband gave me look somewhere between panic and annoyance, while Lucy whispered "Poo-poo."  "I'll take her after the Gospel," I whispered.

As I took care of the diaper situation, I caught sight of myself in the bathroom mirror.  That's actually not half bad, I thought, and finally stopped worrying about my improvised shawl.  Later that day, my husband informed me that he was both amused and edified by my creative use of a ring sling.

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