Meet Rita Buettner:

“When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.” After struggling with infertility, my husband and I were blessed to adopt our two sons from China. I’m a working mother who writes about family fun and faith. Oh, and I own hundreds of flyswatters. Join me on Twitter, say hello at, or follow me on Facebook


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I have three children and we are at Mass every week. One jumps at the opportunity to head to Children's Liturgy of the Word, the older one prefers to stay in Mass to listen (he makes his First Communion in a few weeks), and the youngest stays with us, as well. It is quite disheartening to see this many negative comments about being "where we belong." We belong at church, in Mass, learning how, despite our many imperfections, we are loved and welcomed by God unconditionally. We do not go to the Children's Chapel where many children are left to run and yell and we do not seek to be "friends" to our children. We are there to grow and learn-along with everyone else at Mass, young and old.


At my church, we've been repeatedly encouraged to bring the kids to the front row or one of the front rows whenever possible so that they can see what is going on, and participate in mass. (We don't have a nursery, child room, Sunday school, etc. - the priest says the kids should be at mass.) It's hard since you know they will do kid things sometimes, but they do pay more attention and engage more, and you can help them see what the priest and the altar servers and doing, and feel more of a connection with the people doing the readings and the choir. They learn from the reverence and kindness of the people around them. While it's been a challenging journey, it brings me great joy to see them understanding in their own way the beauty of the mass.


Do you promise to cry at your sister’s wedding? I do.


My baby sister got married on Saturday. And I knew I wasn’t going to get through the day without a few tears.

I thought I might cry when I saw her in her gown—but I must have been too busy wondering how my husband would get our two preschoolers into their suits by himself while I was spending most of the day with the bride. For the record, he handled everything beautifully.

I knew I’d tear up when my father lifted my sister’s veil and gave his little girl’s hand to my brother-in-law. And, of course, I did.

Then I almost always get emotional during marriage vows. There’s something so awesome, so wondrous, so mysterious about that promise. Forever. Wow. What trust, what faith, what hope you have to have to say those words—and mean them. But I was confident that I had my emotions in check until I looked at the groom and realized he was choking up. And then I was done.

Trust me. Your eyes would have been moist, too.

So, OK, I knew I’d cry.

I knew I’d laugh, too. My 9-year-old niece and I had such fun taking silly pictures on the steps of the Basilica, while we waited for the bride and groom to finish their photo shoot. Toward the end, I asked my niece to jump for a picture. She did. The next thing I knew, the bride and groom were jumping for me.

When I look at the pictures from the day, the picture I took at that moment is my favorite.

One surprise for me, however, has been my reaction to the video I took of the couple dancing together for the first time as husband and wife.

When they took the floor for that first dance, I had a talkative 2-year-old on one hip and no plans to do much with my camera. But I was so struck by that moment—and the Irish waltz they were dancing to—that I had to try to capture it.

And what surprised me was not their exquisite dancing, or how their connection conveys the tenderness of their love. It certainly wasn’t that Daniel asked me for a Band-aid for an invisible “boo-boo” on his thumb halfway through the song.

What surprised me was that at the moment I merely thought how lovely it was, but that every time I have watched the dance since then, I suddenly find that I have tears in my eyes.

Maybe it’s because of the lilting Irish music.

Maybe it’s because I can’t believe my little sister is all grown up.

But I think it’s because when I watch my sister and brother-in-law dance, I can’t help but think of how beautifully they are matched, how God’s hand is so evident in their lives, and how their prayers have been answered.


11/12/2012 10:16:41 PM
By Rita Buettner