On Holy Thursday my mom came over and watched four of our youngest children so that we would be able to attend Mass. It was a beautiful liturgy and I was thankful to have the opportunity to make it through the whole service without feeling battle fatigued and beat up from four little ones crawling over me. At one point I thought to myself that it was nice to meditate on the music of our amazing parish choir instead of just feeling thankful that the singing was drowning out the babbling of whichever kid was making noise at the moment. On the way home though, I also thought that, as much as I enjoyed that Mass, I do think there are amazing graces poured out to us even when we can't concentrate on the liturgy because we are too caught up in trying to keep our little ones from becoming too much of a distraction... Little did I know the next day would prove that all too much.
We took advantage of dh having a day off (his vacation is extremely limited with the trip to China and a delivery coming in early August) and scheduled Peter's first appointment with the International Adoption Clinic on Good Friday. We took the earliest appointment so that I could be home in time for dh and the older girls to make it to our parish meditations on the seven last words. The plan was that I would meet him later for the communion service. That appointment turned into a four and a half hour ordeal. It was crazy. This is our third adoption, our seventh child, all I wanted was a thorough once over to know he was healthy. Instead it was psychologists, therapists, nutritionists, and the works. At one point I was advised to let little Peter hold a spoon while I fed him with another spoon. I nodded and smiled politely at this pretty 20-something with no children while in my head my stream of consciousness is shouting, "I have seven children, a college degree, a brain, I've clearly figured this out.... How much am I paying for this advice?... This is why I dragged myself, a one year old and a two year old out all morning?"
After making it home, seeing dh and my best helpers off to church, I had five minutes to scarf down lunch after being too ambitious in my Friday fasting at breakfast (although pregnant, I try to strike a balance with fasting) before the little ones started waking from their naps. My arms ached from holding a fussy little one for four hours. It was a doctor's office and I really didn't want him crawling on the floor. He, however, is not used to being held for long periods of time and had simply had enough. I tried to feed a few non-nappers a late lunch. By the time I finished cleaning up, settling down fussy babies and toddlers, and maneuvering my ever-growing belly into the back seat of an over-crowded minivan to buckle five kids into car seats, we were half an hour late. Still we pressed on.
We got there and before even entering the church I had to detour to change more diapers. We went in, eventually found dh and girls, and within 10 minutes I was out again. Little Peter liked the feel of the empty baptismal font so for a few minutes peace, I held him up letting him run his hands over the dry concrete. Then I felt something dripping down my arm. He had thrown up in the empty font. The day had been too much for him. I stood there, trying to get little Gabriel to follow me, keep Peter from getting more nastiness on the floor (or me), and make my way to the restroom for some paper towels and such. Thank goodness our parish is such a mecca of large families because a Dad of 11 saved the day for me. Knowing too well I needed a hand, he helped clean that font.
I made it through that service, came home, and crashed. Well, I crashed after making my bed because a little one had an accident after coming into our bed in the middle of the night, folding two loads of laundry, picking up two little kids' bedrooms, and making a grocery list. There were, however, many graces that came from pushing through. Even though there was very little meditation on the via dolorosa, there was a small sharing in the crosses given me. I wish I had carried them more willingly and with less complaining, but I am still a work in progress.