Sunday, July 31, 2011

Part of the Crowd

Whenever we can't rouse everyone to get out the door for the 8:30, the 5:00 becomes our fallback position for meeting our weekly obligation to attend Sunday mass. Why it's harder to get to the ten than to wait the whole day to load them into the van just before the witching hour when they'll be 1) fully awake 2) annoyed because I broke up something they were doing and 3) within minutes of feeling like they haven't eaten and 4) unable to be bribed with donuts, I don't know. 

But when we sleep in past 8, I set the alarm for 4 o'clock.  At 3:59 pm I begin inspecting my offspring, sending some to go laundry diving to find suitable attire, asking others to state "when they last showered." and if the answer is not immediately forthcoming, to remedy that problem.  Today, I looked at my youngest son and in a fit of parental vanity, I gave him a haircut at 4:15.  I managed not to make him look like either a girl or Moe of the three stooges.  It was a victory.

It was getting near crunch time.  Two children could not find their shoes, a third was looking for her long pants and a forth wearing a turtleneck and sport shorts.  Three of these problems were solved, but for the life of me, I could not locate my second grader son's shoes.  His flip flops had bit the dust two weeks ago and so he only had one working set of footware. 

We prayed to Saint Anthony and I begin looking in earnest while the oldest begins loading the car.

I searched the upstairs and found six shoes, five sippy cups and a load of laundry. After searching the downstairs and finding three more shoes, a sippy cup, three paper plates and three abandoned soda bottles and two loads of laundry, I've lost my sense of humor.  I could now shoe everyone in my family except the son in question.

Digging through all the unfolded laundry, I strove and failed to keep my temper as I counted approximately 5.5 tons of unsorted washed and dryed clothing that everyone including me had ignored for the better part of a week. The clutter, disorganization and chaos of not being able to get out the door after almost an hour of trying had gotten to me.  

My son is very sweet so he was undeterred by my grousing about how everyone else was in the car.  "When was the last time you KNOW you wore shoes?" I asked.  While he stopped to think, I finally railed at heaven in a half nag, all rant type prayer, "God, I want to get my family to mass.  I want to get them there on time! We started at 4.  It's ten minutes to 5! Please help us find them so we can go! I WANT TO GO! I NEED to go!"  About this time, two of my children return to the house for pre-church bathroom pit stops and I'm trying desperately to reign it back in because the temptation is to say, "NO! GET BACK IN THE CAR!" but those sorts of outbursts will lead to further disasters so I can almost hear God telling me to cool my heels and not worry, we'll get there.  It's hard to accept.  "I just want the shoes found God." I plead in my head.

My son is a chatty boy.  He talks when he thinks about things, "...not when I was out on my scooter, not when we were using the slip-n-slide, not when we shot Peter's airplane and it broke, not when we ate ice cream outside..." His face flashed in recognition but I was deep in Mom irritation because his catalog of events indicated these shoes were going on at least four days lost.  I did not see his joyful knowing eyes until he brough back his backpack from Tuesday when we went to the city pool for the day.   "Remember Mom?" he asked as he unzipped, "You said just to put them in here when we were leaving because my feet were wet." 

I'm feeling three things: 1) Mentally, I'm all wet and 2) If you can go six days without noticing you've lost your sneakers, you're having a heck of a summer and 3) God laughs a lot at my expense and I deserve all of it.

We made it by the skin of our teeth and I was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed by just getting there and then I saw her, a girl of seven years of age in the open foyer area at the back of the church, turning   I know the mom was dying inside as she saw her darling girl practicing gymnastics but honestly, I needed that absurd moment as I sat and hugged my once shoeless son close to me.  The Gospel is about the feeding of the 5,000.  Jesus looked out at the crowd and was moved with pity for them.  I have to think in that crowd, He saw mothers who got mad at their seven year old sons for losing their shoes and girls who turned cartwheels during his parables.  And he fed them all.  Here we were, all of us, part of the messy crowd that didn't give Christ room, didn't give Jesus time to grieve because we are so very needy and He was moved to work a miracle, to feed everyone.

Thank God.

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