So after a snotty conversation about my placing too much pressure on David to just get better, not trusting that God will provide for our Christmas experience, etc etc etc I found myself at Target after 10 pm on Christmas Adam (the 23rd) buying extra decor and presents for the tree, and food for a Christmas meal and changing my attitude (because isn't Target where we all go to help adjust our attitudes (through the glory of the shoe department?).
By Christmas morning we went to mass our new parish in Mandeville - Mary Queen of Peace and had a beautiful Christmas morning...
We headed to Lake Charles for a few days, but no pictures to show for it...sorry. I am not proud of 90% of our sick time. I totally thought I would be better at it than I was. So, get back up, girl!! Satan doesn't care how often we fall. His interest is in making sure we are discouraged enough to stay down...
We returned for a Dawson Christmas at our new house! And this time, we didn't use an iPhone to take the family photo, because our fantastically talented brother-in-love Ross (who is starting up a photography business and also makes yummy Irish Sausage out of his house) has a great camera and a good eye... and that cool thing where you can use your phone to set up a timer on your camera.
The Family Dawson!
Cecilia Jan! The crown should permanent, because this little lady is pure royalty!
Jacob is a master at numchucks... I mean listing the Ninja Turtles by name.
I just really like Pete in this picture.
The world famous (and completely unrepeatable) Liam!
And Therese is only 4. I swear.
We spent the rest of the week spending time as a family, because David was off (that's right, the workers of the Archdiocese get 2 weeks off for Christmas... and dad's get 6 weeks off for a baby).
So the following Wednesday I received a call from my hubby that I was on list as a retreatant for a women's retreat in Ticfaw THAT weekend. 1) What retreat? 2) Where again? 3) Who's giving it? 4) How on earth did I get on this list? We still don't know how but we decided to send me... eek!! A retreat!! I should have known that was all Satan needed to make his move...
I almost titled this post "Why they really call it the cry room" because of what happened the morning before I left for retreat. I felt the nudge to get to mass. We used to go every day when David was closer and we could all go together. Since moving to Mandeville, I had avoided it like the plague if I was without my strong man who can fight Micah's 19-month-old-ness. This particular morning I decided to give it a go...
I should preface with this. In Kate's mind, cry room = failure. I'll give you a minute to laugh at me... ok moving on. So by the homily (which takes less than 5 minutes to get to during daily mass), I was in the vestibule of the church with Micah-man while in the pew, Jacob dug through my purse and found my gum and my phone, Therese whimpered that I wouldn't let her come out with me, and John Paul attempted to run the ship in his not-so-quiet church voice. We had a few stares from the lady in front of us, and by the time I decided to go to the cry room with everybody, this same lady actually helped me packed me stuff and shuffle the kids out of the pew... lovely.
So we reach the cry room, which has 1 image in it:
I whimpered through the prayers of the faithful until Therese put her arms around me and said, "Are you crying because you miss Daddy?" Yes, I told her. I miss Daddy.
So with Micah and Jacob climbing a window sill and JP and T sitting perfectly still, and my crying causing major Braxton Hicks contractions (oh because let's forget to enter GIANT 32 WEEK BELLY into this picture), we made it to communion time, where everyone was preciously approaching the Eucharistic Heart of our Lord and I was wiping my tears. Who did we receive the Precious Blood from? None other than the lady who helped us pack our things to be banished to the cry room. She blessed all my children saying, "Jesus Loves You" and all I could think was, "Good because YOU don't." See how well I handle difficult situations? I'm so good at not being perfect.
I only spill these stories in this way so that you can see why I miraculously ended up at a retreat over the weekend.... as soon as I arrived one of the retreatants said to me, "Hey were you at Mass this morning at Mary Queen of Peace?" AHHHHH!!
Anne Trufant (owner of a summer camp, speaker, retreat director, mom/grandmother, friend, employer) was the director and spoke on many things, but I took a few major nuggets with me:
1) She was COMPLETELY confident in God's ability to do anything!
2) She rejoiced in her weaknesses because of this confidence (like, she got excited when she found a new imperfection... not my reaction to weakness. How 'bout you?)
3) She was humble. She LOVED being a little clump of clay.
4) She was TOTALLY dependent on God.
I picture her (in prayer) crawling up into God's lap and saying, "Ok, God, so I know you want me to do all these things, and I really wanted to be a missionary, but since I'm here in the little cloistered monastary, you're going to have to do all this in me because I can't do it well, so go ahead. I'll just be right here snuggled in your lap." And operating this way made her a saint. She "didn't pick a pen up off the floor without great love and humility" one biographer said.
I was also reminded that being a mother is how I get to 1) become holy and 2) change the world. We can all agree that the world is not headed in a good direction, and we can all mope over this pretty well. I used to ask, "Well, what can I do? I'm just changing diapers and doing math worksheets and folding clothes (unceasingly) and picking legos up with my toes. How is this going to help anything?"
I see that it is PRECISELY in doing THOSE THINGS that will change the world... IF AND ONLY IF I do them with great love!!
So the moral is that I can do NOTHING. So He has to do EVERYTHING through me!! I pray that I may be a clear vessel for this to go down well, because when I try to run off what I've got in my own tool box, it only lasts until somebody gets a stomach bug or we have to go to the cry room...
And just when I thought I had the "I've got a lot of kids" excuse to whine and complain.. John Paul drew this in Social Studies yesterday. The question is "Is your family big or small?" and even after a discussion, he drew our family portrait and stuck with his original answer: