Little did I know how badly I’d need that closing quote from Last Week’s Quick Takes. Boy, oh boy, did Satan try to limit my family’s praying on Sunday! First, as usual, we were running later than I’d like for 10:00 Mass. Then, we were a few hundred feet from the house when I noticed a funny sound coming from the driver’s front tire. What could that be? Oh. A bolt that came out of the garage door was deeply embedded in the tire. Back home, we cleaned out the garage so Ray could change the tire, Ray changed clothes, I fed the kids lunch, Ray changed the tire, Ray changed back into his Mass clothes, and before we knew it we were cutting it close for noon Mass. The Dude volunteered to take the dog out before we left, and the dog ran away. Great. Definitely late for Mass, but this was our last opportunity, so we walked in ten minutes late, all eyes on us, or at least that’s how it felt. I was so embarrassed, I very nearly cried. Then Boo misbehaved and I had to take her out during the Gospel. Honestly, I stood in the Narthex and seriously considered just calling it a day and leaving.
Fortunately, I didn’t, because I remembered: “Satan tries to limit your praying because he knows your praying will limit him.” So I bucked up, attributed my desire to walk away to pride and vanity, put my tail between my legs and resumed my seat near the back of the church. My smile was a bit tremulous during the sign of peace, because, yes, I was totally embarrassed to have come in ten minutes late with a badly behaved child, but I knew that I – for one – desperately needed the peace that only Christ can give. I knew that, momentarily, I would receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of my Savior, and I knew that – really – nothing matters more than that. Not a flat tire, not a lost dog, not my selfish desire to not look careless, lazy, and inept in front of my fellow parishioners. No. This great gift is the “source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324), and I won’t let a few mishaps prevent me from partaking. I certainly will not knowingly let Satan win. And so I stayed, and I smiled, and I was blessed.
Honestly, Sunday was a rough day in general. Having been stuck inside all week, the kids were just done with being at home. They fought, they whined, they cried, they refused to go to bed… on one of those nights when Mommy’s sanity was teetering precariously on the brink. By the end of it all, I couldn’t even look at Ray, let alone talk to him, I felt so tired, beaten, and downtrodden. The last thing I really wanted to do was walk the dog, but I knew that was the only way I’d pray my Rosary. When Ray offered to take the dog out for me, I barked, “NO!” then, in a *slightly* kinder tone, “I want to do it.” Petulant, selfish little Stephanie left, prayed, and, through God’s grace, was transformed back into a human being by the time she and the dog came home. I love the Rosary for many reasons, but the transformation it brings about will never cease to amaze me.
Monday, I embarked on living with Intention in a new way. I had developed my Mother’s Rule of Life, based on the book by Holly Pierlot I’ve started and stopped the whole “rule of life” concept several times before, but I keep feeling that God is calling me back to it. Monday, I lived by my Rule. Monday was beautiful.
Being an imperfect daughter of God, my rule didn’t carry into Tuesday so well, Wednesday was crazy as usual, and Thursday and Friday have not seen me jump back on board, but I’ve learned something. When you pay attention to where every minute is going, you use those minutes more wisely, and with greater intention, and suddenly it’s like you have more time than you did before. Money works the same way, by the way. I choose to live with Intention. So, I’ll take some time over the weekend to flesh out the Rule a bit better, and give it another go next week. It’s hard when schedules are constantly changing and kids are so unpredictable, but I believe it’s how God wants me to live my life, and he’ll give me the grace to see it through.
Boy, these are some long quick takes, aren’t they?
A funny mommy story for you. This should probably be a post in and of itself, but it goes too well with Sunday. Yesterday, when I went to pick the kids up from school, Boo informed me about three minutes after we’d left the house that she needed to go potty. The roads were bad, and I knew it would be at least ten minutes before we were at the school, which would put us in second pick up. I thought I could park the car in the line, run her into the school, and get back in time to not mess up the flow of traffic going in to pick up. Then, when we got to the school, she was asleep. I breathed a sigh of relief and gratefully picked up my journal to do a bit of writing. Four minutes later, a heard a murmur from the back. “I need go potty.” I glanced in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were still closed. I held my breath, hoping she’d go back to sleep. No such luck. Suddenly, her eyes were open wide and she was screaming, “I need go potty!! I need go potty!!” Next thing I know, she’s out of her car seat, beating on me, pinching me, jumping up and down, “I gonna potty in my pants! I need go potty!” My heart was breaking for the child, but I knew there was no way I could run her into the school at this point without causing a major traffic snafu. I offered a large baggy. No go. A cup? Uh uh. She continued to beat and abuse me, screaming at the top of her lungs, for the ten minutes that ensued before I finally had the kids in the car and was able to pull around to the front of the school. The poor child, had, indeed, pottied in her pants, but managed to hold it for the most part. Once she had found relief, she refused to put her wet pants back on. I felt the child had been traumatized enough, and acquiesced, carrying her out bare bottomed, covered only by her winter coat, which reaches just below the “cheeks.” Of course, I saw two teachers and a few moms on my way out. I could only laugh and thank God for the opportunity to give cheery example to my children of how we deal with adversity. With laughter and a smile. That’s how I dealt with that flat tire on Sunday, and the dog running away. It’s not how I dealt with being late to Mass or Boo misbehaving, when I really just wanted to cry. We all fall down sometimes. But we can all stand up, brush ourselves off, and begin again… with a smile.
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