1: Stealth Stripper
Wednesday morning I took the kids to the school Mass. Since we’d brought Alex to school, we were pretty early, so I got the three younger kids settled and then went to make a phone call to the Chrysler dealership, where I was supposed to drop the van off for some work. When I came back, Julianna and Nicholas had decided to occupy the far end of the pew from Nicholas. I got everybody settled back in as other worshipers began to come in. As I glanced up to smile a hello to the man coming in the opposite end, I saw something really embarrassing on the far end of the pew. Namely a pair of Michael’s underwear. What the…? How does that even happen?
2: Masses You Don’t Get Anything Out Of
I’m not even sure there was much point in going to Mass that day. I got permission for Alex to sit with us instead of with his class, which I regretted before the reading from Joel was half over. I swear the kids were possessed. Alex did his sour-faced attitude because we were sitting in the back in the parent section and he couldn’t see. Nicholas and Julianna were fighting over who got the children’s missal–and it was not a quiet fight. Michael wanted to use me as a jungle gym and steal the purse and sunglasses of the woman sitting next to us. Of the hour I spent at Mass, well over half of it was spent restraining, separating, or disciplining one child or another, and cringing because we were being so darned distracting to everyone around us. To make matters worse, at Communion everyone coming past us gave me encouraging, sympathetic smiles. As in: people with 3 kids, including one in a car seat.
Then there was Nicholas elbowing me in the chest. Is it just me or does it hurt a lot more than it did before I breastfed? Or maybe it’s just that, ahem, nobody ever elbowed me in the chest until I had kids!
4: You say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to
Julianna’s been asking lately to go to Tripoli. Actually, I realized pretty quickly that she was trying to ask if she could go to Triple E (Alex’s gifted program). But yesterday it occurred to me she might actually be asking to go on the trampoline. You never think about the subtle delineations between words, do you? You try saying Tripoli vs. Triple E. What’s the difference? Half an emphasis. No wonder she struggles to make herself understood.
5: Flash Forward
When Alex came out of his Cub Scout meeting yesterday, he had the hood of his hoodie up around his face, and I was struck by how handsome and grownup he looked. Last night as I was getting the kids ready for bed, he came in to play with Michael. Looking at him from the side was like a flash of the future. I could see the adult Alex. It was beautiful to behold. Oh, how I love that boy.
6: The Glory Of A Working Vehicle
You caught that I was taking the van in for repairs? We have power locks again! And power doors! Oh, glory! I used to have withering scorn for all this key-fob-door-opening nonsense. It’s not needed. Someone told me when I had kids I’d feel different. I said, “I’m sure it’s handy, but it’s not a necessity.” I hold to that now: it’s absolutely not a necessity. We lost the passenger side power door, then the driver’s side power door, then the power locks. For at least 6-8 months we’ve been making do without it. Frankly I just left the van unlocked most of the time, because it was easier and who’s going to steal a 10-year-old well-used van, anyway? If they want to steal the naked Barbie doll or the paper sculptures or the applesauce cups I keep for the homeless, more power to them. But. It does make pickup line at school complicated, because the teachers expect vans to have power doors, and the doors are too heavy for the kids to close themselves. So I’m thankful to have things working again! And they washed and vacuumed it! It’s so pretty!
7: Something Different For Lent
I’m going to detour a bit for Lent. I’m going to spend Mondays and Wednesdays for sure, and sometimes Fridays, reflecting on the Stations of the Cross. This is part of my attempt to find a better spiritual balance for the season, and I’ll just invite you all along for the ride. I may do 7QT posts too…or I may not. We’ll see.
A very wise woman (Gail Froyen) came out of Mass when I was a frazzled first time mother with a very fussy baby. She reminded me that even when we don’t feel like it, the grace is there. God’s blessings are there even when we feel like we’re causing distraction instead of worship. As a Mom of older kids, I will say that Mass with small children is blessed. Those around you are watching your babies grow and are blessed in the watching. It’s been 9 years since I wrestled a child at Mass (Matt was easy that way), and when I see kids squirming at Mass it further reminds me of the incredible blessing of babies. They are a blessing, indeed.
Replying to your #5… My eldest son Zachary is now 16…he is 6’4″ and he has decided to start growing a beard. On Sunday he was altar serving. He was standing at the altar in his white garment looking out at the crowd. I had to stop and think for a minute…”Is that my Zach? Where did he come from? He looks like a grown man. He is tall and dark and quite frankly very hairy! LOL!” You can watch the transformation, but sometimes it just stops you dead in your tracks…and as much as I wish he were little again, it truly is a beautiful transformation to see this young vibrant man.
You see those moments when you look at baby pictures vs. 8 year-olds as well, but I’m quite sure it’s a truly humbling moment when it happens with adulthood.
It is so interesting when we catch a glimpse of the man in the child–I see that every so often in my eldest, and have just started to catch those glimpses from my 3 yo, and it is fascinating to me. The girls are too little yet, but I’m sure I’ll see the women they will become in time too.
Also: about Mass. Oh man. I feel ya. We’ve had a few liturgies like that lately too. Part of it is another three yo in the parish, who until very recently was the picture of well-behaved and has suddenly turned into a banshee in church, which sets my normally placid 3 yo quite off, which combined with my nutty two year old, is just terrible.
Luckily we’re a very family-friendly parish. 🙂 Hope yours is too!