What a "holiday"! Never have I been so glad to return to work after one! But here I am...still here...still kickin'!
Do I start at the beginning and go to the end? Or start with the present and work backwards?
The "grandkids" were here for 10 days. I have grandkids in quotes, because they are dear hubby's, not mine. I don't mean to be ugly about it, but I am the mother of 2 teenagers. I am the "uncle mama" (as the oldest grandchild accurately called me when he was much younger). I don't feel very grandmotherly and I guess that's one thing you can't really rush. I love my stepson, but it is not the same love that I have for my own two boys.
Here they are...at the birthday party x 3 that was at my house. #1 is in the black shirt, #2 in the box, #3 in pink. #4 has her back to us, for #5 you can only see the head at the bottom of the pic, and #6 is my stepson's "mini-me"...blonde hair and all. Here's another picture from the party...the anatomically (ahem) correct unicorn...
There were good moments, to be sure. But it was just too much. The parents didn't stay at my house, so when I hosted children, I couldn't be the indulgent grandmother, but rather had to work too hard at keeping law and order, feeding the picky, and keeping up with dishes and clothes. The worst (can I complain? yep, it's my blog, I surely can!) was New Year's Eve. I had 4 of the six, plus my own two boys. My husband was working. I hadn't really asked for all 4...they just kind of ended up in my car with their backpacks. Who was I going to send back? Meanwhile the parents and grandmother rang in the New Year's with only 2 children. Yeah, you might be sensing a tiny bit of resentment there.
The 5 year old slept with my younger teen, who had the pleasure of staying with him until he went to sleep/passed out. "Mom, I don't think I want to be a teen dad," he told me after that night. Better than all the courses on abstinence he could ever take! Really, I wouldn't have made it without my boys! They went outside later in the evening to pop some fireworks. "Be especially careful not to blow off any body parts that will need reattaching," I warned them, 'because I am NOT taking six children to the emergency room!" I was serious.
I had made it crystal clear that anyone who slept over at my house on Saturday would be going to church on Sunday, and should bring clothes appropriate for the occasion. Still, one showed up with only the clothes she had on, and another said nothing fit, another couldn't find socks. Nonetheless, we made it to Mass and everyone had the vital necessities covered. The behavior was pretty good. The five year old was probably the best. The 12 year old made his First Communion that day. (oops) He has been with us to Mass before, and has always gone up for a blessing when we receive Holy Communion, but Sunday, he was seated behind us with his uncles (we have short pews that don't hold 8 people) and received. There was nothing to do at that point.
Anyway, as I said, there were good moments (hearing "I pooped in my underwear was NOT one of them) but 10 days was too long for me. Call me selfish. I went along with the program. I did what I needed to do. I don't think I caused any long-lasting harm to any of the children. Chances are, I'll be in this situation again, and should probably be better prepared. But by Sunday afternoon, I was done! Finding the change container in my car MIA later that evening, when I needed 4¢ more to complete my transaction at the Dollar General did nothing to improve things.
After the holidays I had had - the Christmas morning fiasco and the many moments of being a mom of many, I knew confession was a stop that needed to be on my itinerary sooner, rather than later. On Wednesday, I dropped my kids off at the bus, and then made my way to the church near my school. There is no Mass there on Wednesday mornings, so I spent about an hour there...just conversing with the Lord, reading a little bit, speaking with him in the tabernacle, and praying at the statue of the Holy Family, kneeling at the manger, where even there He reaches up to touch us. I think I probably made myself more nervous than I needed to be about confession, but when I left the church that morning at about 7:30, the sun was up, and the sky was absolutely radiant. I wish I would have had my camera, but pictures wouldn't have done it justice. I knew then that things would be OK.
I drove down the road to my church. Mass is at 8, and that is too late for me with work, but confessions are at 7:45, which is perfect! Bless me Father...it's just been a couple of weeks...but they sure were some long ones! He's OK with a little humor, sometimes. I said what I had to say, owned the things I needed to own, but then I had a question. I don't generally bring up what other people say and do in confession, because it's about me, not them, but this I needed an answer to. I hesitated, because I wasn't sure if he would give me an answer or not, but I went ahead and asked. I have said it before, and I will say it again....my confessor is awesome! He was so kind, so encouraging and affirming. He laid it all on the table, spelled it out. He knew exactly what I was asking, and knew exactly what to say in response. I felt so much better leaving than I did coming in! I have no idea how long we spoke - 5, 10 minutes, but it made the whole day better!
And so here we are....the Christmas season is almost over. We have rung in 2012. (Is anyone planning to wait until after the supposed end of time to Christmas shop this year?). The church will soon switch over to Ordinary time for a few weeks before Lent...and life rolls on.
Our task and my penance from yesterday to reflect on...To do the will of God, to do it in the manner in which He wills it, and to do it because it is His will. (From St. Elizabeth Seton - who's feast was yesterday)