It all starts at quarter to six when my alarm goes off. Dress myself, wake up kids, dress them, feed us all and out to door by 7:30. Hopefully this goes down without any mishaps. Example? Last week I generously sprayed Enzo's hair with glass cleaner before combing. The good news: it was home made glass cleaner so there weren't any ingredients in it that are unhealthy to spray on the head of a young boy. The bad news: He went to church smelling strongly of vinegar.
Once we're ensconced in our pew I have a few minutes to take centering breaths while the older three gather programs, argue about who will sit where, and demand to know when their father will come in from his early meetings and greet them before taking his seat at the front. Meanwhile, the younger one scoots around and explores the floor space between our pew and the next. Soon he'll tire of his exploration and return to my lap where he'll rest happily until the service starts. As long as I am still and listening he will stay there, growling serenely. If my attention turns at any time to any sibling, the peace of the baby vanishes and he begins to yell.
Enzo has a recurring Sunday runny nose. Every Sunday at some point he sneezes and then makes his way to stand urgently in front of me as snot yo-yos precariously from his nose. When I reach for my purse to procure the needed tissue Duke recognizes the discrepancy in my attention and protests.
Today, thinking ahead, I supplied Enzo with tissue in his pockets while Duke was inspecting the bench. I guess Enz forgot about his personal stash by the time the snot started flowing because there he was, same as ever, bending over me with his basket ball nose. I had to retrieve the tissue from his pocket myself. By the time he made his way to me all his attention was needed to monitor the snot situation happening on his face.
Zizza is a story teller. I shush and shush and shush her but the stories, they just have to be told. "But I'm whispering!" she tells me at full volume. Actually, we've talked about this and she has been saving her stories for after church. It's tattelling she still has a problem with "Mo-om that's MY coloring book!" "I started coloring this picture and now she scribbled all over it!"
Moo. If we get off on the wrong foot that girl will scream without letting up for the solid hour. We've been working at it though and she's kept her screaming to a minimum for the past few months. What happens now is she can't bear to sit in the chapel without me so when Enzo's nose starts spurting and I shift to find a tissue, and Duke comes out of his reverie gaining volume by the second until I take him out. She inevitably follows me from the chapel and spends her time in the foyer begging to go back in. Today we had a combination of the two which was especially nice.
In the middle of that Zizza came running out to tell me that Enz had scooted down and put his feet up on the pew in front of him. Never underestimate the commitment of a good tattle tale.
The amazing thing is that some how, even when I spend all three hours bouncing a baby in the hallway, I still manage to feel edified when it's over. I guess that's God's message to me. It's how he tells me it's worth it.