They Say It’s Your Birthday

They Say It’s Your Birthday

Yeah, so today is my birthday. I like Facebook because it tells everyone and thus relieves you of the burden of not wanting to mention it because then it looks like you’re fishing for birthday wishes but not wanting to ignore it either because that would be unnatural. (What, you don’t worry about such things? I guess it’s just me.)

So I’m very bad about planning for things like birthdays. My own and others’. For some reason it never seems real to me until the day before, by which time it’s kind of too late to make real plans. So stuff usually doesn’t happen.

So this morning I woke up and realized that if I’d thought about it, I would have wanted to go to daily Mass on my birthday, but I didn’t make any plans to do so. And then I looked at the clock and at my kids and thought… Why not? Maybe we can go to Mass and get to Target to buy diapers too.

And somehow we did. Though Bella declared that she didn’t want to go to Mass. I got her ready anyway because I knew she’d really rather go than stay home and miss out on the trip. She was just having a difficult moment. And sure enough later she confessed that she did enjoy the outing.

Of course getting four kids out the door to Mass—and not just to Mass but with the bag packed with snacks and sippies for the Target run after Mass—is no mean feat. But we were only a minute late. And wouldn’t have been late at all except for Sophie’s freaking out about her car and Anthony’s diaper change and… well, you know how it goes when you have four little people to herd anywhere.

We were a minute late and walked into the tiny chapel just as Father was saying the opening prayer. We’d never been to Mass in the convent chapel before, only in the main church, so we were a bit disoriented. Ben tripped as we made our way up the steps and started to cry loudly and a kind old man behind him picked him up which only made him howl more. But we found seats, the only ones left, in the middle of the pew. And the children were really good except for the squabble Ben and Sophie had at over a chair at the very end of Mass. I was a bit surprised when no one knelt for the consecration, not sure what was up with that, although the congregation looked like they were all well over 65. Sophie almost got left behind when we went up for communion and had to scramble to catch up with us.

At the end of Mass all the old people I had been imagining were massively irritated by our disruptive presence turned to greet us and welcome us profusely. I was told how beautiful my family was by several people. At least one person told me it looked like I could use at least two more hands. One man turned to say we could sit behind him any day. My children were so well behaved, he said. And another man, who had turned to look in what I imagined was a disapproving manner when Anthony moaned himself to sleep in the Ergo, blessed me, traced a cross on my forehead, and told me he’d had nine children himself. Guess that wasn’t annoyance after all. The other Mass goers joked that he’d be trying to steal my children.

After Mass we went to Target because diapers wait for no birthday. Anthony has recently outgrown his size threes and now is wearing the same size as Ben. It’s easier that way, I guess, but a bit disconcerting. We had a nice Starbucks treat, frappuccino for me, pound cake and apple juice for the kids. Ben refuses to eat pound cake. In his world there are three acceptable deserts: cookies, chocolate cake, and ice cream. Pound cake is not on the short list. While I was returning the high chair Ben pushed the emergency exit door and set off the alarm. I turned too late to stop him, just in time to witness the hand as it pushed the lever. At least the manager had a sense of humor about it.

Ben was asleep by the time we got home. I love it when car rides hit that magical window where he just goes to sleep and I don’t have to deal with getting him down for a nap. I put him in his bed and he’s out for a good two hours. Once he woke we had a cranky hour or so before my sister came home and whisked the three older kids away to the farm. Then I had a magical hour when Anthony was asleep and I had the house to myself. Oh bliss!

Dom and I (and Anthony, of course) went to our favorite Indian bistro for dinner. Yum! Yum! Yum! What a treat to have more than two hours to chat with my husband uninterrupted except by a server. (I’m counting the drive there and back as part of our chat time.) When we came back there were a pile of presents and a beautiful cake and three happy children waiting for me. And it was a bit of a mess with new sheets for Ben from Grandma that had to be put on his bed immediately as well as a phone call from my brother who just started his new job yesterday. (After being unemployed for more than a year, he finally got hired as a web designer. This involved a move to Houston, so there was a lot to chat about.) Of course I was trying to keep up my end of the phone call and juggle three children who all had to talk to me. A bit chaotic. Finally I told Tim I’d have to call him back later. And then we ate cake and the kids went to bed late but happy.

So now I’ve got a pile of new books and a very messy house and I need to go to bed soon. Happy, happy day.


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  • Kids say the darnedest things. Just was I was nearing the end of your post and reading about your wishes for the floor to be tidier, Cecilia came up behind me, looked at the pictures and said, “Where is that? Is that earth?” I assure you if she thinks your house is on another planet it is solely because it is so much cleaner than her own! In reality though I think she is still grappling with comprehending the relationship between planet – country – state – and the places she knows.

    She then asked if we could come to your house (she was very specific it be your house) for a play date. I told her maybe one day we’d be able to do a play date. smile

  • I could absolutely give you a run for your money in the “real” housekeeping department, and I only have one toddler! I also understand the lack of peace total chaos can cause…praying for grace and peace in the midst of your sleep and housework struggles!

    I love this PHFR thing, wish I had a blog to join in!

  • Hi and Good morning,

    I love your art at the top of your blog—it takes my breath away!

    I also have a little one and a nursling…I’d rather read or cuddle or nap than pick up the floor…my kitchen table also has a hand-picked bouquet that classes up last night’s dinner crumbs and cups.  It’s a busy but joyful life, isn’t it?
    God bless you and your family and thank you SO MUCH for sharing the “real”.

  • Kristen, I squeeze them all day long. Can’t get enough.

    Katherine, I’d love for your gang to come over for a play date. Tell Cecilia she is welcome anytime.

    Heather, one toddler is enough! They are a force of nature, aren’t they? Thank you for the prayers.

    justamouse, This too shall pass… So true! Why do I find it so hard to remember some days?

    Donna, Thanks, Waterhouse is one of my favorites. Yes, it is such a joyful life. Thank you for sharing your real too. It’s much easier when I remember I’m not alone.