I've written before about #3; about his sensory issues, his vision problems, and his memory issues. He struggles to be normal in a world which moves at a dizzying speed. He works so hard to catch up, and often never makes it.
He's been going to Mass every Sunday morning (except for the rare illness) for all of his 11 years. He can't remember the responses. If it were another child, we would tell him to follow along in the missal, but #3 can't read fast enough to stay up. Convergence Insufficiency is funny that way. (If you're new here, #3 has Convergence Insufficiency, a sight disorder which means that his eyes work independent of each other causing double and triple vision. Oh, and he's dyslexic, too.)
I struggle with knowing how much of his not participating in things is his deciding not to, and how much is his not being able to........like Sunday morning Mass. Is he being irreverent? Is there some crisis of faith? Is he rebelling against his parents and his upbringing? Or is he struggling along and doing the best he can? I try to assume the latter. Always. It's really hard though. 11 years of Mass. He can't remember even a part of anything enough to recite it with us, except for the Our Father. He struggles with the Our Father.
Please don't think it's an intelligence issue. The kid is wicked smart and creative. He's simply incapable of memorization. As his mom, I don't know what to do with that. Which doesn't mean much, because the experts we've seen don't know what to do with it either.
This past Sunday, his dad and I went to separate Masses. (It happens when someone is sick.) I took #3 and most of the children with me and left the sleeping kids home with the Computer Guy. #3 stood, knelt, and sat at the same times as everyone else (after watching us to see where we were going), but he said not a single word. He didn't sing. He was silent for the whole Mass.
So I sent him back with his father to the later one. With his father's focused one on one attention, he was able to be a part of what was going on around him. When he didn't have the commotion of his siblings in the pew, he could do it. (It was still hard, but he could do it.)
What is the solution then? What's more important? That we go to Mass as a family or that he have a parent's undivided attention to help him through it? The truth is that if we are all in a pew, one of the littles will be in dad's lap or arms, unless they are in a different part of the Church. So where is the priority? That he participates in his family or that he participates in Mass?