Let me set the scene:
1. Jay has been in South Africa for 9 long days (he will be home this afternoon).
2. I woke up this morning feeling yucky with a sore throat, runny nose and cough.
3. I have five children.
4. One of them is a bonafide toddler now.
5. One of them is 3.
6. I am pregnant. Very pregnant.
Now, no matter what I am going to say next, need I say more about my situation? You can guess how it's going to go.
This morning Sam's Kindergarten did a little nativity show during the school's morning mass. He was a shepherd. There was no way I couldn't be there to see him, as he was so very excited.
I braced myself for mass with my toddler and 3 year old, which is never fun, by praying extra hard for good behavior, having the kids set out all their clothes last night so we wouldn't have a stressful morning, and by making sure everyone was well-fed and well-rested before we went. By all measures, I should have been set up for as successful a mass as can be hoped for when toting children of these ages.
Feeling myself in the role of realist (as opposed to optimist) today, I went straight to the crying room (normally I retreat there in shame and defeat sometime during the homily). There I exchanged smiles with four other kindergarten moms who I don't really know but see at drop off and pick up. They all had their younger children with them. I relaxed, thinking at least Tony could toddle and squeal and Julia could sit on my lap. How bad could it be, here in the crying room with compadres all around?
It turned out to be the most horrible, awful mass experience of my life. Tony did not want to be held or put down, and shrieked through the entire thing. He hit me in the face, pulled my hair, and scratched me. (He is usually a pretty good natured kid, and I can't imagine what was wrong today.) Julia was OK for the first half but then started crying half way through because I wouldn't let her pull on Tony and make him scream. Once she started crying she did not stop, and added her shrieks to the cacophony in the cry room. Trust me when I say that we were a disgrace for even the crying room. We should have left, but because Sam was counting on me, I could not.
What is a pregnant, hormonal, tired, overwhelmed-by-Christmas-preparations-and- feeling-sick mom to do? Yep, you guessed it. I started crying too. Because it helps the situation so much! (NOT!) And once I started I could not stop. I completely humiliated myself in my own church, in a glass room with 300 children, their teachers, and many of their parents looking in at me. I had simply reached my breaking point and it didn't matter who was watching. Let them see the crazy lady with so many children she can't handle them--I was beyond it all.
I was such a mess that I almost skipped communion, but realized that a little humble pie in the presence of Jesus was exactly what I needed, so I kept my head down and raced past the children to the front, hoping no one would notice the state I was in. I was able to do this only because my mom (bless her!), arrived to rescue me and take over the children.
So, you may be wondering, what is the silver lining? It came in the form of the four other kindergarten moms, who all came over and hugged me, told me I was doing great, and wrote their phone numbers down for me. I learned that one had six kids, one had five and another had four. They all knew what I was going through and none of them thought I had too many kids to handle. They understood that I was just having a moment.
I had been wanting to get to know these moms, but was always so busy rustling kids at pick up and drop off that I didn't have time to chat. But through my utter humiliation today, I know that I have made some friends. I'm glad to know it wasn't completely wasted!
Thanks for joining me in my pity party today. I feel much better having shared.