The Road to Easter...
Daddy and Aiden getting for a snack before turning in for bed.
While we were driving to the church, there were at least two different times that we happened to notice people counting how many kids we had in our van. I don't understand that. The one lady we actually heard count, "5, 6, 7 and 8! Eight children! Oh my!" Whatever. I guess it does seem like a lot of kids to most people, but honestly it doesn't to us. At least most of the time, it doesn't. They are our children. They belong in our family and it feels really weird if even one is missing. We just are who we are and when people question that or seemingly judge that, the mama bear in me comes out. And I just want to shield my kids from the rude comments. When people question the number of children that we have I look at their sweet faces and think which one or two or 5 shouldn't be here? Which ones shouldn't be part of our family? That is just ridiculous. If you want to judge us, at least have the decency to keep your snarky comments to yourself when the kids are around. OK now that I got that off of my chest, back to our adventure...
We arrived at St Joseph's church and parked in the parking lot. I know that this may sound weird, but I love that part, because we are not the only 12 passenger van there! They have many families with 6-10 children in them. For once we feel like we belong. We aren't the crazy family with a ton of kids. We are just one of many crazy families with a ton of kids. It's nice to feel normal sometimes! We walked into the church and slid into a pew. This church is one of the most beautiful churches that I have ever been in. Every mural, every statue, every detail is just gorgeous. Part of that beauty comes from the beautiful spirit of the parishioners. It is a church in which you can truly feel the spirit alive in it. You just feel welcome and at home there. That is why we had planned this little road trip in the first place!
About 1/3 of the way into the Good Friday service (Notice I said service and not mass. This is the only day of the year that mass is not said anywhere in the entire world.) Aiden started to act up. He has started to get progressively worse everytime that we go to church. He gets a little bit noisier and fidgety. At those times, the best thing to do is just take him to the back of the church and try to get him to calm down. Or at least put him down and let him walk around a little bit to get the wiggles out. While I was back there, there was another mother with a little one doing the same thing. She was about 7 months pregnant and wrestling with a very active little boy. We shared a knowing look as we each tried to keep our little guys quiet. Finally Aiden had calmed down to the point that I was able to take him back into the main part of the church and we participated in the solemn beauty of the Good Friday service as we kissed the cross and reflected on the huge sacrifice that Christ made for each and every one of us. At the close of the service Father Larry invited everyone to stay and participate in the Divine Mercy Chaplet followed by the sacrament of Confession as well as a tenebrae service at 8:00 that evening. Time to readjust our plans! After a quick discussion, I took the little kids, from Isaac down out to the van for a little snack and a dvd of the Passion of Christ for kids. Brian stayed in the church with the older 3 for the chaplet and confession. When they were down and came out to the car, I went in for confession. It seemed like a great addition to our plans. Ironically, the pregnant mother from the back of the church happened to be parked right beside us. Her and her husband had decided to tag team as well! We had about 20 minutes or so to chat. She was so sweet and even invited all of us back to their house for some homemade pizza. I thanked her for such a generous offer, but we had promised to take the kids to the beach to play in the sand, so I declined. But I was truly appreciative of her offer, especially since there are so many of us!
After we were all finished with confession we headed back to Presque Isle. This time we were ready to actually get out the car and enjoy the beach. As we were walking along the beach, Gianna slipped her little hand into mine and sighed. "Ahhhh, isn't sand sooo wonderful mommy?" she asked. "Yes it is!" I replied. About 5 minutes later Hannah informed us that she needed to go to the bathroom. Of course she did, because it's not like we can be anywhere for more than five minutes before somebody has to pee! I looked at Coley with my desperate pleading eyes silently begging her to take Hannah to the bathroom. She sighed, "Fine, come on." Gianna then said that she needed to go too. The three of them headed toward the bathroom. About 3 minutes later they were back with bad news. The bathrooms were locked. Uh-oh! Time to take matters into my own hands. "Come on girls." I say. I told them to get into the van. My plan was to drive to the far end of the parking lot where there weren't any cars and park blocking the girls from view and let them just pee in the woods. Well, we climbed into the van and I started it up and put it into dirve and we went nowhere. We were stuck in the sand. Seriously!? Who gets stuck in the sand? Well, the Houghs do, obviously! At this point we had no time to deal with this. We climbed back out of the van and took a quick hike into the woods. We were sufficiently blocked from view, it was time to pee. I had kleenex and wipes. They would be just fine. Yeah, well even though we live in the country, Gianna and Hannah are anything but country girls. The idea of peeing outside invoked tears and screaming. "I am NOT a boy! I DON'T want to pee like a boooooooy!" Finally I just said, "You don't have a choice. It's pee here in the woods or pee your pants. You decide. " Hannah was at the point where she had no choice and the thought of peeing her pants must have been a smidgen worse than peeing outside and she finally gave in. "Fine! But I am not a boy and I do not like to pee like one," she indignantly said. Hannah's shirt was long so I had her take her shorts and underwear off and just squat down. She was horrified, but at the point of no return. Seeing all of this, Gia looked at me and said, "I'll just hold it. I don't have to go that bad." There was no way that she was going to be a part of this! I got Hannah cleaned up and dressed. We started to walk back to the beach, her dignity slowly becoming restored. She looked at me and quietly said, "Thanks mom." And then turned to run down the beach to where Brian and the other kids were. I heaved a sigh of relief, although it was temporary. We were still going to have to figure out a way to get the van out of the sand. But for now I wanted to enjoy the wonderful feeling of the sand too. We had a great time playing in the sand and skipping rocks and looking for shells. It was a lot of fun and the kids actually managed to stay relatively clean.
Labels: Catholic family