Monday, January 25, 2010

Daily Conversion

So, it has been a year since I wrote the following short story.  It was the story that made people ask if I was blogging.  After saying No, no, no, no, no...

You get the picture, I finally gave in and said Yes. I made a leap of faith and to this day, by the grace of God, continue to give it a try.  The best thing it has done for me is force me to write things down - and take pictures.  History in the making so to speak.  It's a glimpse of our life story.  I've been able to share what I'm working on in my vocation of marriage and motherhood: its joys, challenges, and random life lessons.  And I've been able to read other life stories.  You see, we are never alone, and I guess that's the point of this blog.


What a beautiful Sunday morning (until I got out of bed!)  Maybe that was the problem? Dad was out the door early to round at the hospital so he could meet us at church. I needed to get Kathryn, Gabrielle and Michael up to church early so they could help with the Catholic Schools Week Mass!  Kathryn, going on 14, forgot that she had to sing in the choir.  We woke her up to remind her, but then she forgot to get out of bed-yes, teenager!  Gabrielle came into our bathroom on Mom's orders so I could help her comb her hair. She is 11, but doesn't seem to think bed head is an issue when you go up to read in front of everyone at Mass.  She thought it would be a good time to come into the bathroom as I was puking in the sink, and exclaim, "Isn't there a toilet?"  Yes, there was, but it was sat upon by another child.  The particular scent is what quickly pushed me to the sink. 

I got myself together, did Gabrielle's hair, got the toilet occupant cleaned up, and yelled down at Kathryn, again. Hmm, no answer.  Gabrielle helped Gina get dressed, and I woke up the boys.  Michael was not so happy about it.  I removed Vincent's diaper, and was preparing to get him dressed.  The diaper was placed next to us.  I did not take the time to roll it up yet because he was poopy and I was still wiping the stinky guy.  My plan: keep the poopy mess all rolled up together for one trip outside! Michael however had a different plan.  He thought it was a good idea to toss it onto the floor.  Nonchalantly, I told him he was lucky it didn't spill out (maybe that was my mistake). Since he was able to get it to the floor, I told him he could now take it to the garbage for me.  Well, that literally backfired!  He took it into the other boys’ room and slammed it against the wall (near the garbage).  Maybe he thought it was a bank shot?  Shi+ was smeared everywhere!  I wasn't so happy, no, I'll be honest, I was madly out of control.  After a "little" beating, I continued to get the rest of the crew ready. (FYI, after the fact, Michael told Dad, "I threw it at the air and didn't think it would get all over." - yes, he threw it at the air!)

Now I'm sure some may know where this is going: the nice big Catholic family getting ready for Mass this morning was not so nice!  Kathryn got an earful on the way to church, with a bit of pedal to the metal driving.  “Responsibilities, being a part of a family, you name, it came out of my mouth.  Thanks, Michael, this needed to be done – but not in the fashion I took.  As I pulled up to church, I came to my senses a bit, remembering where we were going to be soon, "I love you!  See you shortly!"  Kathryn rolled her eyes. I don’t blame her, I wasn’t exactly the most loving person for that ~5 minute tank ride.  

I got back home, Luke evidently was playing smart and helped more than he ever has before. He continued to tell me all about it. (He better get on my good side, today ;) )  "Mom, I helped John get dressed, and got Daniel's clothes for him."  As Daniel was buttoning his shirt, he says, "Mom, something's wrong here."  I look at him, and immediately go to the closet to give him another shirt! (The one Luke gave him was hanging in the closet waiting for Vincent to wear it.)  The long sleeves fit Daniel like 3/4, and the shirt barely covered his belly button!)  Now if anyone was going to be dressed as the Incredible Hulk, I can guarantee you it was not him today!  Ok, the boys are almost finished getting ready -I've calmed down, and we are going to make it to church on time!  Ut oh, John can't find his shoes.  Everyone else says they have theirs on.  “Well, wear the tennis shoes, we don't have time to look anymore.  This is why we put our shoes back in the closet after church!”  We are loaded, and ready.  We climb into the pew all happy!  As everyone settled in their spots, I went to tie Daniel's shoes.  Guess what, he had on John's!  Evidently Daniel was the one I was supposed to inform of the proper location for his church shoes.  A big sigh! We're here God, if you want to vomit me out, I can understand!

Church went well!  Gina was singing, John was singing - together they were louder than everyone else.  Aren't we so cute?  After Mass we went down to a pancake breakfast put on by the 8th Grade class.  Yes, Kathryn DID remember she was in 8th grade, and was going to help with it!  Thank God, I was beginning to wonder if she had Alzheimer's at such an early age!  After we ate, Kathryn and I helped serve the next round, and Dad was to take the rest of the kids back home.  Ut oh, no Gina.  “Anyone seen Gina?  Go look for Gina.  Check the elevator.” (God, I hope she wasn't attending another Mass upstairs).  That prayer was answered the way I wanted!  Bob checked the bathrooms (which I didn't think she could open the door to).  Yep, Gina is in the girl’s bathroom!  Gabrielle went in to get her.  "No potty, just poop." Just POOP -on the back of her tights, and in the bathroom: on the floor, on the toilet, the walls...Ugh!  What is it with shi+ today?

Kathryn and I finally got home. Gabrielle was fighting with Luke.  Dad now understands how this can wear on a person.  Gabrielle has an amazing affect on people – she has the power to make you happy and the power to bring everyone down.  Why we give her this power, I don't know, but it happens.  I began to think about taking back what I said when I dropped her off at church.  A bit later in the day, she wanted to make cookies.  The first pan of peanut butter cookies came out very brown (to go with the “poop” theme of the day?).  As I told her she needs to pay attention to the recipe and how long she should cook them, she stated, “I’m sorry, I’m doing the best I can.”  My quick reply, “God Help Me, then!”  Yes, I said that to her precious face.  At first it was sarcastic, but a few seconds later it was a heartfelt prayer!  As she finished up, she decided she had enough dough to make one more cookie.  The last cookie was the size of a waffle!  She made it for Luke.  To tell him she was sorry – after fighting all day, she suddenly snapped out of it.  Ashamedly, this sounds a bit familiar for me, too.

So, dear family, what did you do to me?  As I reflect on the day, I think how ironic that today is the feast of the conversion of St. Paul.  Many of us reenacted it in our own home.  Today, you taught me about conversion!  From ravage, to mercy, to love.  I'm glad I got out of bed!  I'm glad I got to witness conversion of heart; both as an active witness and an eye witness. That is what life is all about: Constant conversion.  Every sin overcome, every new turn to God.  On any given day, someone is the forgiver AND someone is the forgiven – Yes, that someone is both!

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