Mass Grades and a Momily

Mass Grades and a Momily.


F is for Family and also failing.


Mass attendance with children is all about learning. While certain souls of piety may focus on the ever- incredible qualities of God (preferred), sometimes the biggest lesson is more practical. For instance, this week I learned to never sit behind a man who has crutches. Unless, of course, I prefer being both accidentally and purposely whacked and necessarily preoccupied with continually removing children #3, 2, and 1 from inappropriately handling the kind stranger’s metal walking device/irresistible weapon within a toddler’s reach instead of soaking in the message of Jesus. Lesson: live and learn pew placement and do your best to avoid accidentally sitting near an arsenal.


And while I strongly wish I could say the armament of two toddlers and a baby was the only distraction of the hour, the fat lip, but thankfully not lost front tooth, received from Rita’s impressive head flail, as a display of her physical repulsion to any limit to her crutch and kneeler acrobatics, also played an important role in the family’s worse Mass showing in weeks. In a dramatic “am I bleeding!?” head turn I was told, “its not even a little bit swollen, pipe down and grab Josie.” Her impressive, yet still inappropriate, kneeler turned balance beam splits and jumps paled in comparison to the should- have- been- napping breakdown of her older and louder, melting loud by the minute, big brother. The fire hydrant running of two noses made for a great hour to forget bringing tissues and/or baby wipes. Rita discovered and finished a half eaten pretzel which I realllllly am hoping came from her own car seat and not the floor but whose to know? Josie spotted and announced each and every “bad guy!!!” spotted in the Stations of the Cross, just as Rita decided to throw books at the floor, me, and other childless adults. To the cry room we went to stand off in the distance just like the tax collector in the Gospel except not as holy or genuine. And in one final blow to the ego, in a most impressive move, Josephine managed to carry the toy boat I specifically requested stay in the cry room pew for Communion and whispered “ I pulled a fast one, momma” with a grin and a giggle shattering any last bit of her duped mother’s pious effort to receive the Eucharist with a straight face.


But maybe bad behavior from 3 kids is what a righteous mom needs to realize its not about me and what I want and maybe the 45 kneeler- crushing- toes were each a humble reminder to de-Pharisee and worry less? Or to buy steel toe boots? Its one of those, I’m sure.


Come at me with some spiritual lights, it’s a bit dim over here 🙂

Happy Tuesday.

1. I received an unappreciated once over at the grocery store from a strange man undeterred by babies as a sign of a women being attached. I steered my cart away with a “cheese? Oh we don’t need any cheese,” and scampered to the cereal. He found me near the asparagus and in his most natural creepy voice said, “I like your boots and your face.” Before I could nervously quiver, Rita gave him her very best and unbelievably appropriate dinosaur growl proving further her position as perfect child and natural born feminist.

2. Josie’s baby took a tumble. She might need some oxygen soon, as well.


3.  James asked if he could read to me. He opened the children’s bible and found the story of Moses. He began, “in this story one time upon, this girl had a baby and the bad guys were there so she put him in the water. He couldn’t swim but he floated and somebody else took him. Happily after. The end.”

4. The following prayer requests were made by 11 second graders at tonight’s CCD.

– “Please God help that animal that my mom ran over by accident, and please, please, please don’t let it be somebody’s pet.”

– “I hope my grandma’s headache goes away soon and I’m sorry we gave her one by cheering for the Steelers and stealing so many cookies.”

– “ I would like to pray for world peace and my hamster.”

– “Please, Jesus, bring back my turtle’s appetite.”

– “ I saw a dead raccoon on the way here. I would like to pray for it and also that someone cleans it soon.”

– “God, remember all of my nine dead pets.”

– “My grandmother’s mom’s friend’s sister or maybe her cousin? I don’t know actually, I just know she knows her and her name is Violetta.”

– “For everyone’s health and lots of candy on Halloween.”

5. The following things were said by the same second graders.

Teacher: “And when is Jesus’ birthday?”

Ecstatic children: “Christmas!!!”

One girl: Additionally, I do believe, if I’m not mistaken, that Christmas is also the day that Santa Claus got married.”

“I know God made me but what I want to know is can we make hot chocolate or not?”

“Yea I know what the Trinity is, my dad works there. He can put a refridgerator on your bike and he will do it for free.”

“Could you hold my tooth? It fell out.”

“When I grow up I’m going to be a peanut butter and jelly sculptor and even though it will be hard for no one to eat my art I’m going to make something beautiful.”

“Does Mary where high heels or flip flops?”

“Has Jesus ever farted?”

Happy Tuesday. May you all know a second grader.

My Mary

I took the test in a spur of wouldn’t it be funny, but, it couldn’t possibly be true moment of early marriage. Married for three weeks, I looked to Google for further instructions on “how to read a pregnancy test.” Positive, it was, and the Internet said so, too.

I found my very new husband playing Sega NHL 95 in our attic and wearing Wheaties flip flops and a T-shirt with the insignia of his favorite bar, perfect parent attire if I’ve ever heard of any. “I’m pregnant!!!” I said excited and terrified, both of us with eyes wide open and hearts beating in fear, neither of us ready, but who ever is? “Are you sure that test is right, I mean its just a stick?” he asked because, I don’t know, he’s Jim.

I spent a lot of those early days thinking about whom we made, and what she would be like, moments of instinctive knowing that I’ve had during each of my four pregnancies. It was a girl, with dark slightly wavy hair, chubby cheeks and chubbier thighs, long eyelashes, lips like her dad, sanguine at heart, and clumsy by nature just like her mother. Although already claimed by my big sister who seems to only make boys, on my list of names, Mary Margaret was first, but, by the possessiveness displayed by my sister rivaled only by Gollum in Lord of the Rings, I decided it would probably be best to let that one go.

For the next few months, my husband, baby and I traveled to Australia, where she made it clear that she hated salmon and its smell. She preferred me sleeping, and eating Captain Crunch. Through nausea and tiredness she began to teach me that motherhood is a full time position through which I will be made better and more humble, especially as gagging in public or frantically running away from restaurant tables on which calamari is served became part of my normal behavior.

In August, at 8 weeks gestation we heard her heart beat in elation, and learned she would be due four days before my St. Patrick’s Day birthday. Dreams of drinking birthday Guinness and holding my new baby girl dressed in green and wearing a bow filled my mind and had me searching for infant St. Patrick Day attire immediately. At 9 weeks, the swamp of Washington DC made us both eternally grateful for air conditioning. At 11 weeks, we began going to graduate school together, and I announced that I would be having a baby during Spring Break and returning to class directly after, because I had absolutely no idea what birthing a baby is like.

At 14 weeks, with my baby bump beginning to pop, Jim and I drove to our first sonogram, with our car packed to spend a weekend with friends at a lake. Running late due to indecisive packing abilities and an inability to choose the proper bathing suits for a belly beginning to protrude, we drove as fast as Fairfax, VA and all of its 4 billion stoplights allow. I called my sister on the way. “I know you want a Mary, but I just can’t get over today’s feast! It’s the Holy Name of Mary, today and I get to see my baby!” It was Friday, September 12, 2008. Five years ago, today.

I laid back in the small room in the back shivering with excitement. As the image appeared on the screen, we stared, unsure of what to look for, and before we had a chance to ask where she was, “This is what we call a missed miscarriage,” the short statured doctor said. “No it isn’t,” I fought back. “I’ve had no symptoms, and we already heard the heart!” I continued angry that such a tiny woman could announce something so hugely devastating. She continued with options and choices, detailing each terrible procedure available, attempting to make eye contact, but respecting my stubborn opposition. We left in silence.

We drove home in silence, too.

We broke down at the bottom of the stairs. I was crushed to lose her, terrified and embarrassed to tell others that we weren’t pregnant after all, furious that my own body gave me no indication of its failure, flabbergasted that we were being asked to suffer a loss so early into our marriage, determined it was a bad doctor with a broken sonogram machine.

The mourning continued for months and still does. There was confusion, and hormones, anger, and grief, gratitude, and thanksgiving, self-gift, and acceptance, a marriage made closer, and a deeper appreciation for those little growing babies no matter how small, and whether or not they come at convenient times.

Every year, on this day I feel sadness and a longing to see her face, and learn more about her. She’s my Mary. And on her due date of March 13, I woke up missing her, only to discover my pregnancy with James, a boy I imagined to be just as he is, because God loves me so much, even if flowing Guinness could no longer be part of my birthday plans.

In my experience, loss through miscarriage is not something that is often talked about, and, (big surprise!) I like to talk. I needed to and (clearly) still do. But, beyond my own needs, I believe these little guys and girls have stories to tell as well, and that’s my Mary’s.

Happy Feast day to all, especially those with the name of Mary!

Fire and In laws, it’s Momily Monday.

It’s round two of Momily Monday! Find this week’s Gospel here.


This weekend was spent with my in laws, and on Saturday night we built a bonfire in a Sunday Gospel coincidence, except for the whole daughter in law being against her mother in law part. There is something both beautiful and terrifying about a fire, especially when children out number adults 57/2 (somewhere around 4 million marshmallows were consumed, mostly by Josie.)

The enthusiasm of its fevering flames mesmerize and captivate while its fervor and power repel the gazers from recklessness or out of order behavior, reminding us that if there are any two things that ought to be respected it’s a burning fire and probably also the woman who raised your spouse.

The thought of Jesus using such a powerful force to fulfill his mission is thought provoking. On Valentine’s Day three years ago, my parents house caught on fire with all of us home, and if there is anything that I learned that day its that a route towards safety is something for which to be thankful and to cling. Additionally, Valentine’s Day is the worst.

Fire gets us moving in the right direction, quickly, and with intention. Or else, it absorbs and mercilessly destroys leaving little evidence of what originally existed. To me, this imagery is how I understand the tension between the Peace vs. Division to which Jesus refers in this week’s Gospel. Peace implies a sort of motionlessness, and maybe even complacency. Fire, however, gets the behind bouncing, causing division by necessity, for the reality is sort of simple: run towards safety of the truth, or get burned.

As a mother of three, with a household of five, division is something to which I relate. The transition from man to man defense (parenting two kids) to zone defense (three children), is one in which my husband and I sometimes end up punting, often with zero points on the board, and if there is anything that leaves my love for God and family sizzled and burnt out, its that. Yet it’s the struggles and division that often show us where our weaknesses are, and how much we need God to be #1 MVP, or else, we too will be left consumed by something other than the fiery love of our creator.

It’s also in the dividing times that we yearn for a clearer direction, which hopefully draws us closer to the Big Man. So this week, may the love of God fuel our family life and mesmerize our hearts, scorching out the bad, and igniting the ambivalence. And, when I burn dinner, I’ll consider it living the Gospel.

(and as far as Mass grades go, James and I braved the big church together while Josie and Rita took advantage of the cry room with their father due to poor attitudes and uncontrollable 10 month old yells. He gets an A for participation and thoughtful questions even if he was unaware of the high volume of his voice when asking, “But mom, why do you eat Jesus!? That is NOT nice.”)

May your hearts be full and your laundry piles low. And I’d love to hear your take on the Gospel in the comments! I find it difficult to make a real bible study…


Momily Monday

During our engagement Jim had the opportunity to take a class with one of those famous theologians that sells a lot of books. The only catch being it was a seminarian only class on how to write a good homily, a skill I was positive my fiancé did not need. Would they try to once again claim my bethrothed to join the ranks of the collared and celibate?! Would he start parting his non-partable hair and wearing white tennis shoes and pleated khakis for sports like the days of novitiate past?! No. He would marry me, have a baby a year, and I would start writing Momily Mondays: reflections for moms on the internet using a favorite literary device to help prompt a Good Godly discussion about how the Gospel applies to a life with car seats, cut up food, and a shower every third day. While they may be led by a mom who offers little to no canonical insight about the spiritual life, she does have a good understanding as to why the terms “teething child,” “swollen feet,” “soccer practice,” and “NFP” are actually spiritual battles of sainthood occupying most of our households.

This week’s Gospel Lk 32-48 (a long one):

The richness of the readings and Gospel this week are most certainly beyond the reflecting abilities my diaper changing mind, so the following are a few points inspired by the mom-praying minutes spent after receiving Communion during which my children straddled the kneeler while having a (relatively) quiet, yet definitely innappropriate battle between a saber tooth tiger and Darth Vador figurine as the baby gnawed on the car keys.

There is no one more deserving of a “you have your hands full,” than the Big Man, yet He has the patience and tenderness to refer to us a “little flock” and begin a story hour far beyond the deep intellectual richness of his mind full of tales to earn eternal life. There were most likely many other tasks to which the Son of Man needed to attend, yet, he understood the will of his father in this exact moment, offering patient instructions detailing how much good stuff there is in store, and how much he wants to give it to us, rather than doing what I do and saying “go ask daddy.”

And as my priest reminded, each of us has been given “much,” and has much more waiting at the finish.

I couldn’t help but think of the moments I get caught up on laundry when it might be better to read my people a story or play, or simply be. Or, when I’m frustrated by the amount of (swear word) I have to clean up everyday, how much more effective my parenting would be if I tackled the task with more patience instead of angry brooming, feeling the more gratitude for the baby wipe than I do most other things. Or when I have no energy at the end of a day and I’m short tempered with my husband for no good reason at all, other than I’m being a brat too proud to say “would you mind spending some QT rather than reading that weird book about mold? (true story)”

This week, for me, is a call to attend to my conscience, so as to know the will of the moment with clarity, and without guilt or anxiety, or at least, less of it, because sometimes everybody poops at the same time, and if things are going to be messy, at least I can be calm. And while I treasure my husband, and children, how often do I rush or forget prayers, depleting myself of the true source of strength, and, therefore, grow frustrated when all I have to offer for dinner is fruit snacks and cheese, creating feelings of guilt and other crappy things for I am clearly not the “faithful servant…distributing the food at the proper time” or even of the right substance. At first read and listen, this Gospel sounds a little scary, especially all those parts about the beatings and the end times, but the instruction is really quite simple: Follow the conscience, the greatest gift we have and the source of human individuality and freedom, so as to do the will of God. Each of our hearts, at a different place, with a different number of children, financial level, intelligence etc…is only expected to follow their conscience. As we grow closer to God, the conscience becomes clearer and demands upon itself the choices that are best and most fulfilling. So today, my conscience said “take the kids to the grocery store and try not to have a terrible time.” Maybe in a few weeks I will be a little holier and dish out fewer candy bribes for not throwing avocados and basil.


And for the record, the picture indicates a terrible time, so maybe I’ll do better tomorrow.

For me, this week, the story of the young woman trapped in the car who asked for a prayer partner, a request that has sparked the reporting of what seems to be and most certainly feels like a supernatural miracle, is truly the most convincing, and in a powerful way refocused my mind and heart. At the hour of what seemed to be her death, she continued to follow her conscience that felt the need to pray, so much so, that she called out to a group of strangers, and her life was saved in a moment of mystery and miracle. Her treasure, in the last moments, was to be with God in a moment of prayer. At first hear of this amazing story, I focused solely on the priest, but then, I began to wonder if I would have the courage to ask a stranger to pray with me in a moment of such intense scariness, like her, and my prayer this week is that I can be that humble.

HAPPY MOMILY MONDAY! If even one of you comments and shares a little love for God and the Gospel I will consider this a success, and if none of you do, I’ll probably do it again next week anyway.

Finding it increasingly difficult to find time to pray, join a discussion group with women who still have most of their original hair color or understand what its like to bring kids to Mass and listen at the same time, or that a trip to the grocery store with all of your kin is actually grounds for canonization? JOIN ME FOR MOMILY MONDAY! Share your thoughts in the comments below and enjoy a Gospel reflection discussion in the comforts of a messy house at an unscheduled hour of your choosing.

Who wants Cheese?

prompt: write about a mystery


As I finished the wiping, then started another, “how did this happen so fast, these bums in these diapers?” I’ll never quite know, the mystery of God; his gifts and his picking of two people together, or the thoughts of that ball, made of plastic of white, bouncing between us, a boy and a girl; its flight short and happy, over that table for tennis.

It began as a friendship, and long conversations, about beliefs and our dreams and jokes we found funny. The shyness in me, and innocence, too, took a rather long time to notice him, though; the warmth of his eyes and joy in his smile, his heart ever patient, and loyal, and kind. He asked me to play ping-pong, after Mario Brothers ended in my losing frustration. With my single right hand grasping the paddle, I joined in the game of marriage and babies and all that is happy.

We played for a while, and I was doing quite well, better than ever, for a girl with no skill, or even an interest in the properties of serves or how to keep score at that basement table. Yet, I held the lead with pompous delight that he seemed to enjoy, for he already knew that there is never a time I don’t revel in winning. As the game came to a close, I rejoiced and spoke loudly of beating a boy, yet it was him who was winning the girl with the voice high in volume. As he put down the paddle, with a grin wide and gleaming, I noticed his hands, his left and his right, strong with a nerve in their pulse and a plan that was working. My eyes became wide at what hung by his side, revealing his jovial affection for me. His predominant one, made for handshakes and hockey, never did enter the game that he lost. They grew even wider, their darkness opening, at the notice of flutters, and butterflies dancing, igniting my heart. The ball, small and silent, rested with purpose fulfilled, its spin having never turned naïve into notice. The mystery of God is one hard to fathom, at the thought of a life so happy and joyful, built by a ball; small, round and plastic, bouncing between us right into our hearts. The game he did forfeit, yet the prize we both won: five years married and forever, and the next diaper too.



Today, we were told to write about something political.

Pitter-patter is not at all political. Unaware of congress, and the president, too, it might be better off, for I’d hate it to think its just a bunch of cells, lumped together haphazard.

I remember exactly the day and the moment of each of my three.

It was the last Sunday in May, the first time James danced. I sat near a pond off the road called Love Hollow, twirling grass in my hand as his dad’s arm drew back with his rod, attached to the string, swaying peacefully behind him and then into the water. I sighed in surprise and sat there a while, pressing my hand on his body and mine. The kick, like him, strong and intense like a hammer, seldom stopped moving or talking to me.

Sweet baby Josie, danced awfully early. I folded that shirt then dropped it at once, and put back my hand to where it belonged, right onto my belly and close to her feet, kicking and jumping. She’s never stopped tapping since 8 weeks gestation, reminding me then, just like she does now, to quit all that laundry, and play with her, instead.

Rita Therese was 9 weeks along. I laid on the chair and its soft navy back, its cushion absorbing my day’s exhaustion. What a surprise, those feet came to be, reminding of joy, and sacrifice, too. Her kicks the first, that led me to tears, for her soft gentle rhythms weren’t the first event unexpected. Rita, my child, is not a mistake, but a gift sent from heaven, unforeseen and received.

Pitter-patter cannot vote, or chose at all, which seems not fair, to me, its mother. It cannot march or stand outside the courts with a sign or a hanger. It only pushes and twists and rolls. It taps quite strong before it naps. Hiccups come at the same time each day. Its legs stretch up to my ribs, and like to dance at bedtime. I cannot will it, nor make it stop, just choose whether to enjoy and exactly how much.

Choice is the word parading around, but I find it confusing, because choose I did, that night in my bed.

Life is simple; it begins and it grows, so long as its let, and loved just for being.

and my writing class begins.

I, by the suggestion of a great and talented friend, signed up for a class full of writers, real and better, with degrees, and jobs. I’m intimidated, and nervous, but excited to face a challenge of writing everyday in a company of impressive talent and opinion. So here’s my prompt for the day, describing a place… comments and criticisms welcome!

It’s 11:00am, which matters not when neither time or exhaustion are indicators of progress. The floor is parquet, small pieces of dull wood making a puzzle frustrated with no beginning or end. Its just like the one in the living room at home, but, hopefully, cleaner. The walls, covered in a maroon colored, fruit patterned, wallpaper, circa 1986, or some other year of unfortunate fashion. I wonder what this room designer is like, the one who decided the color of dry blood for walls looked upon for courage and strength. The runners outside the 5th floor window drip with sweat and rain, cold yet muggy, too, on this early Fall morning. They climb mile five, one foot in front of the other, in a continuous stride of determination and ‘almost there, you can do it’. I imagine flying by with speed and long legs, toned and tight, without veins or cramps or extra pounds. “Stop looking at them,” he says hoping the race ends soon because the envy is distracting and he is tired, too. The sheets are itchy, and confining, and hot. The gown is draping, revealing, too big, too ugly, too hot,  and not made for a woman so small and with so many opinions. The bathroom a few feet away, might as well be eight miles from this squishy ball, made for stretching and sit-ups, on which I sit, leaking, and swaying, as if rocking will make it end sooner and squish could absorb the pain. There is just not enough time before the next one begins to stand and make it there to empty this bladder full of mixed messages. The sun struggles to break through the haze, just like the one for whom we wait, while praying with beads of peace and rhythm, so long as I don’t find it annoying. The sound of hearts beating, muffled, and quiet, determine the moment and the future, too. There is a drip of contraction inducing medicine, steady and constant, up too high, for my liking. I wish she would turn it down, but fear all this stopping, and going home, just the same; fat and swollen, with no one small to hold, so I let it continue and bear its consequence with parched breath, dry and stale. Their offer of ice chips from one of the stacked styrofoam cups offends me. Their faces are in mine, as I demand they push my back, but no matter their amount muscle or sweat, nothing could absorb my body, that feels much too small to bring forth the life of my own, let alone someone else’s. The sound down the hall, of screaming, then crying, could be heard as motivation. Yet, it thwarts, and baffles, because I am not close, and if I hear the number 6, again, I think I’ll rip out the needle and throw it at the bearer of “not enough centimeters”. My thoughts turn to rulers, such stupid little sticks, whose measurements now dictate what I can do and when. The door continues to open and close with people intending comfort and help.  “You are on mile 20, maybe further” he says. But its worse, and he could never understand, even though the warm concern of his eyes indicates otherwise. I’m confused, and weak, and tired, and cannot possibly lift my legs, let alone climb back into the bed, right next to me. Its an enemy, high, and too hard and firm. The lights are bright, and reveal too much, of a lady. The stirrups offer cold support, but their presence seems more appropriate on a horse for someone strong enough to use them. The mirror should be thrown and cracked and broken. The silver table, ready to greet her, with a test, and to find her weight, seems too cold, far away, and rather judgmental. Now, its 5:00, and time is important, because it inspires a final push to end the pain. In an instant, she is here, with life; pure and true, and so am I, and the room is warm and happy. The floor supports, the runners finished, and the red walls listen, to joy and tears of miracles incarnate.

I did, I do, and I will!

I woke up that day in my own twin bed, refreshed and bright eyed. The only interruptions of the night’s sleep came from my excited checking the clock to see if it was time  yet. My excitement sent me for a long and fast run that led me to my childhood parish. I took some time to think in the pew where we sat weekly as a family. The only tears of the day fell joyfully, and I knew with great confidence, that this, truly, was the day God had made, for me and us.

I primped, and fussed, and posed, and prayed. And there is something very special that lace does to a girl, and I was wearing a ton of it.

The aisle, though long, felt short and went fast, as I excitedly hurried my dad along, stealing away his big moment. The aroma of hydrangeas, and lilies too. The amount of grace is sort of like trying to take a drink from a waterfall; delicious and pure, and too much to take in at once.

“Will you accept children lovingly from God?” “We will!” We thought we knew, but we had no idea, of how happy, and hard, and funny and gross, and that’s why promises are made at the beginning of things.

This morning I woke to giggles and jumps, and crying in the crib down the hall. My sleep, interrupted by nursing and nightmares of boyhood. There was no makeup artist, not even time for a shower. My steps were slow and crunchy since they think its okay to eat cereal anywhere they want. I smelled poop, and pee just like always, and burnt eggs too, because Jim’s romantic effort was left on the stove for just a bit too long. There is camp, and work, and laundry, and snot. Grocery shopping, cleaning, disobeying, and time out. 6 eyes that need us, and three mouths to feed. Its a great day to be married, and I’m really fired up that we did, we do, and we will.

Happy Anniversary, Jim. We are five years, five people, lots and lots of funny. You are definitely the only person with whom I’d ever want to have 10 kids.

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Mass Grades

Linking with Camp Patton because Grace gives her kids Mass grades, and its a great idea; one of which my father in law is a huge fan, and a notoriously tough grader. I tend to have a little less red-ink in my pen.

We were threatening a timely arrival. I had it all figured out in my head. There were exactly 3 minutes to coax them into finishing their yogurt, 2 minutes to load them in their carseats, and 1 minute to run back into the house for baby mum mums. “I have to poop!!!” he shouted. It was an unplanned time-sucker, and when we miraculously made it into the car with seconds to spare, I felt really bad about rushing his business.

Uncle Miker and his long legs sat smushed in the pretend third row that’s really not meant for anyone to actually sit, but we were a free ride, and he wanted to go to Mass. I promised ice cream for good behavior, and “ABSOLUTELY NO ICE CREAM” for refusal to listen. Pssshhh.

It was a weekend of family fun at the farm, which means, attending a church designed as a semi-circle. Its great if you like to see everything that’s happening in the pews, but, not so great if you’d rather keep the 3 kid circus hidden from the too many eyes to which its made visible. Its the feast of Corpus Christi, which is one of my favorite days, so I was sure God would give me something good to think about…

We arrived with at least 30 seconds to spare, and for the first 30 minutes, Josie managed to repeat “thanks be to God,” and James generously distributed missals to everyone within a sharing distance, whether or not they were interested. Rita sat happily in her baby seat, but when we made eye contact, she looked at me with a longing and a confusion that could only mean one thing: I forgot to nurse her. I scrambled to find a baby mum mum, which only made Josie want a baby mum mum, which made James want a baby mum mum, not because he likes them because he definitely doesn’t, but because he seeks justice in all circumstances so long as justice means he gets his fair share. Josie got louder, James got louder, Rita wanted out, I got more flustered. It was mid-homily, and I was determined to keep everyone in the pew without using the cry room, but the eyes were looking, and the toddlers taking advantage, and James was rocking in Rita’s seat, and Rita was tap tap tapping at my chest because she knows where the goods are and tells me about it until I listen. James wanted up, Josie wanted up. I scrambled, Jim scrambled, as the flesh of our flesh drove us relatively crazy, and even with the extra helper, those little bodies were ruling us. Uncle Miker used all of his tricks, but Josie was a goner and the “lets clean the pew with the baby-wipe” trick had expired. James was thrilled to receive a $5 dollar bill from his new favorite uncle and managed to fold it 37 times before he finally put it in the basket, generating several smiles from the sweet elderly people surrounding. His patience for being quiet had ended and despite my “absolutely do not follow your dad to the back,” he went, and it was embarrassing. He came back a few minutes later and recited the tail end of the “Our Father” beginning with the word “trespasses,” which is the fitting if you ask me or most people that know us. It was a victory of tremendous proportions, because reciting his prayers with him at bed time usually take every last breath of my energy. He was generally disobedient for the rest of Mass, but didn’t seem to think so when he declared, “I was a good listener, right mom? and now we get ice cream, right mom?” Too many uncles that like you were at dinner James, so, yes, you got ice cream, too much ice cream.

Report Card:
If we are doing averages, everyone got an A for the first half, and an F for the second, with a few redeeming Our Father moments.
James: C+,
Josie: C-, she took off her shoes in the last few minutes which accounts for the minus, and she held up the communion line as she stared and stared and stared at the Eucharistic minister for a reason that I do not know, and then, I had to drag her near the altar, as Rita continued begging for milk.
Rita: C, I feel bad ever giving her anything but an A, especially because I’m the one who forgot to feed her, but, she was pretty loud.

Happy Feast Day to all. May you all have a few extra minutes to adore the one and ones that matter during the feast of his body and blood.