How Gracefully You Handle the Mess

25 September 2014

Last Sunday at Mass was a pretty typical one for our family.

The kids did well for the first fifteen minutes or so, and then began to devolve. Jake started playing "mean monster" with the kid behind us who wasn't playing it back, and Lucy June started in on some lovely back arching because we wouldn't let her loose on a chin-tucked speed crawl to the altar.

It wasn't too bad. Just par.

But we were seated behind some friends* of ours with six kids. Their oldest is about thirteen and their youngest two are the same ages as ours. The older kids - all boys - were sitting quietly and respectfully. The three year old was asleep in the pew and the baby was asleep in her father's arms. At one point the mom stood up with the three year old and whispered something to her husband right before walking out. The father stood up a moment later and handed off the sleeping baby to the 11 year old. He followed after his wife. The baby - still asleep - nestled into her older brother's neck.

The kids sat and listened to the homily. I wrangled my daughter and watched them. I was seriously almost teary at how sweet the scene was. These unsupervised boys being so good in Mass and so gently taking care of their baby sister. The father returned and soon after the mother came back with the three year old son. They both turned their attention back to Mass. I was so impressed by all of them. These kids. The parents who raised them.

Anyhow on our way home later, I was telling Jacob about how sweet I'd found it. Cooing over that sweet big brother holding his little sister and how good the kids had been when their parents stepped out, and Jacob was like,

"Yeah. I was talking to their dad after Mass and apparently Gabriel peed everywhere. He woke up rather disoriented and just peed all over the pew."

"What?!"

"Didn't you see his dad come back in with towels? He said they'd totally lucked out with an extra pair of pants in the diaper bag."

I was so surprised. The narrative I had in my head began to unravel, the narrative of this family who so "totally had it together" - this couple whose children united to function like some well-oiled machine - were really just another family whose three year old pees his pants in Mass. Initially, I was a little devastated because they were a sign that the insanity probably never ends.

But then slowly the narrative began to reweave itself. I saw the father in his coat and tie grabbing wads of paper towels in the bathroom, grasping those towels in his hand as he genuflects and enters the pew. Then I could see the mom in her silk scarf and heels squatting in the bathroom as she worked wet pants off a little boy and then rifled through the diaper bag with her fingers crossed. Meanwhile the other kids were totally unfazed by the pool of urine in the pew.

And then I smiled: I'd been more right about that family than I'd realized. I turned to Jacob and said, "They are so cool."

"I know." Jacob said. "We should invite ourselves over."

>><<

With that little story in mind, I made you a little inspirational poster. Yes you. Just you.


>><<

*(Also, the parents in this story are none other than our couple crush - we're kinda buds with them now. Just kinda. We're playing the long, not too over eager game.)

>><<

And now for some unrelated and potentially overexposed photos because someone's been playing with fire in manual mode.
Mucho mas to learn about this tricky camera. So far I put my progress at an "eh."

Ciao for now :)

28 comments :

  1. I think this is my favorite thing you've ever written. So poignant and so refreshingly, strikingly truthful. Thank you. God bless that beautiful family, totally jealous of your friendship status ;).

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  2. Love this. The shift in perspective is interesting. Both versions show your couple crush in such a sweet beautiful light.

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  3. This was great.

    (And love the inspirational poster! Is that some original Kate & Jake Rhodes art for the background? Because that makes it even better).

    We have couple crushes, too. I like your game.

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  4. Okay, this post is amazing! I love the story of that family. I want to be that family! PS, I bet you're "that family" to someone else sitting behind you, too! The "mean monster" had me rolling (as I would have been in Mass were he sitting in front of me." The pictures...oh my gosh, they're amazing!! Seriously, so beautiful!

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  5. Basically what you have to do is ask Jacob what he would think is corny and write that all day long for the rest of forever. Love this.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Replies
    1. Love. You.

      And this family has five boys right in a row, so they remind me of your family. The mom could probably use a couple big sisters though.

      Delete
  7. oh I LOVE this!! Last week I actually cried in the bathroom while both girls screamed at me because their father was on a retreat and sitting with the other dads too far away to save me. BUT they didn't pee on me or anyone/anything else. At least I have that.

    Also - I have an idea for your crush. You need a wing family...like a family that is SO not cool and does invite themselves over and you are the cool family who just sort of knows the wing family and goes along with the ridiculousness because you're too cool to care...and then the crush and cool family unite. Okok, we volunteer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha! We'll hash out the details tomorrow!

      Delete
  8. Loved this post - and your graphic. So true. Soooo true. And props on the camera skills! "Always shoot in manual" has turned into me having all black pictures. I find myself caving and running to automatic.
    Again, loved the post. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. This was great! And we totally have couple crushes too.

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