Thursday, December 21, 2006

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

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.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Suz, you are amazing and nothing but a real human being having, like you said, a moment. We've all been there, and some of us with much less children. The world is made a better place with each Di Silvestri child brought into it:) Keep 'em coming! xxoo Renee

4andcounting said...

Isn't it wonderful how God gives us just what we need in these situations? I have often felt overwhelmed and like everyone was thinking I had "too many kids" when a kind person has made a point to say something encouraging and nice to me. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Suz,

God is watching over you and has sent angels with human bodies to support you and take care of you in times of needs. You are in my thoughts and you have my blessings. Love, Anne PS One day when your children are grown, you will look back at these times with a lump in your throat and a smile in your heart!!

Suzanne Di Silvestri said...

You are right...they were angels! Thanks for your supportive comments--I appreciate them very much!

Michelle said...

I.laughed.out.loud.

This sounds just like me except I think I'd be curled up in a fetal position on the floor.

Glad you made some new friends.

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Suzanne,

I was in the same church at the same time as you and believe me..nobody thinks that you have too many children and nobody thinks you can't handle them. You know we have been blessed with one lovely child..wanting more in our life but have not been able..perhaps this is God's plan for us. Regardless, I always smile when I see your family coming..children in tow. Anyone, who really knows you knows that your children..all of them, are kind, loving and faithful little people. They are real people. That is how we want them to be. Without you knowing, yesterday was a highlight mass for me. I get a little emotional around the holidays still when I think of the child we lost, who we never had to share such wonderful times with. I teared up at the Kindergartners thinking I may never have another child in Kindergarten and that I am glad I had last year. Your little girl, three years old, who gave you a run for your money yesterday..made my day. When she came to me in the morning with arms open and ready for a big hug and then came back out with Joey wanting to sit with me..was the highlight of my mass experience. You see, right when I was silently feeling a little bad for myself, your family brightened my day. Not only my day either. Julia while on your Mom's lap, had all of the Moms not in the crying room smiling as she sang "Glory to God" louder and stronger than any grown up there. I personally Suzanne, spend a lot of time in awe of you. You have been called to the best job ever..Mother. Really of a flock. Please know you are supported in your own church. By more than just those in the crying room. We have all been there, at some point and at some time. While you had tears of frustration and tiredness..I had tears of happiness at the gentle reminder that I am blessed by those who share there children with me. Thank you. By the way, I didn't see you in the crying room having a hard time. If I had, I would have offered help. However, then you wouldn't have made new friends today and I am so glad you did.

Every party needs a treat (even a pity party). I was looking for you after school as I had ordered red, white and green mints like we had at the luncheon. I wanted to share them with you for the holidays in hopes they may provide you a little "fix". Instead, I will drop by sometime after Christmas and let Hailey and Lindsey spend some time together and we can catch up over a latte!

Love, Lani

Jen said...

Wow. What an entry. And what a response from Lani! Gives me a little peak into Suzanne's current life, one that I have only heard about from Suzanne.

I just can't believe it. Is this really the person I knew way back in the day?
Now don't get me wrong Suz, I have always perceived you as responsible and selfless, but never could I imagine that you would have 5 beautiful children, with one on the way! And with such a faith in God! You have grown into an even more remarkable person than I knew 15 years ago, and (now I'M going to be selfish here)I regret so much that we lost touch for such a long time.
Thank goodness you have your blog.

Anyway, listen: you are amazing, and there is no doubt that your tears were justified.
Aren't we all allowed a little pity party now and then?
You handled it beautifully, and your description of what happened was touching and really funny too! An enjoyable read.
Thanks too for the feedback you gave me on my blog. You are terrific Suz, I just love you!
XOXO
Jen

Suzanne Di Silvestri said...

Thanks, Jen. I am glad for your blog too, as it reminds me of just why we were such good friends in high school. You are kind hearted, witty, funny (and an excellent writer, too).

Yes, my life is different than I ever could have imagined it would be...but isn't everyone's? My children, even when they are terrorizing me, are the joy of my life and I wouldn't trade one single thing about my life. Even if asked at the lowest moment!

Thanks for supporting me. I, too, treasure our friendship!

Suz