Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Really Blew It

I will get to the good part in just a minute but first you need a little background and some other supporting thoughts in order to fully understand my position.  Just know that in no way am I saying.."Look at me and all my "catholicness!" we go.

When I started homeschooling one of my goals was to attend daily mass as much as possible.  The key word NOT  being daily... for me it is more like 2 to 3 times a  weekday Mass.  I would love to go to Mass daily, but for everything there is a season and it is not my "go to daily mass every day" season.
Some years I have been really good about making it more on the everyday part, other years I have barely made it on Sunday.  Right now I am in a pretty good season for attempting to include as much daily Mass as possible.
We have tried all different times of the day, and we have tried several different churches in the area.  I have discovered that 8:00 a.m Mass is just not my thing.  I can get there OK and the kids are pretty good at that time.  The problem is when I am out and about at 9:00 in the morning the last thing I feel like doing is going home to do school.  I want to goof off and pal around with the young mama's who bring their toddlers to Mass.  So this year we have settled on going to 12:00 Mass downtown.  The church is amazingly beautiful and Father Farmer is awesome.  And because it is the Cathedral for the diocese we get lucky every now and again and celebrate Mass with the bishop. So, we start our school day about 8:00 go until 11:00, break for lunch, and head out for 12:00 Mass...all perfect timing!! Come back and put little people down for naps, finish up school with the girls, read some blogs, fold some laundry, start some dinner (this is just extra information that has NOTHING to do with the story..but I am nosey about what people do I thought you might be to).

So, here is the part where I "blew" it.  Oh yeah...just a little more background, I can sometimes run a little behind.  Not on purpose..just by default.
Last Tuesday we headed out for Mass.  I was a little "rushed" because I had a crazy morning and did not exactly feel like getting everyone in the car to get to church..but I knew I needed it so off we went.  Parking for the Cathedral can be a little spotty sometimes leaving us to walk a small distance to get there.  And since Mass is offered at 12:00 in the downtown area a lot of business men go (which I think is the coolest thing ever!!). I am walking with my 5 little ones...kinda quick.  This tall good looking lawyer type strides up along side me....

"Are these all yours?" Now...let me stop for a second and recognize that anyone with more than one child is asked this question and I am sure we all find it annoying to some degree. I usually smile and simply reply..."yup".  But lately I have taken to having a little fun with my comebacks..just for a laugh.  So this was the chosen response last Tuesday,
"I usually don't pick up other people's kids to take to Mass with me."  I think I may have said it kinda...snarkey.  Sometimes I can deliver this remark with more "charity" in my voice but since I was already feeling a little "snarky" myself..that is how I sounded.  I kinda rushed the kids ahead of him and walked up the steps.

He picks up his pace to keep step with us and I am feeling his eyes watching our every move.  Sometimes I like the attention.  Some times I can put on a good, "I've got myself all together" show.  But that day..I just wanted to focus on the task at hand..celebrate Mass without wanting to swap know what I mean?
He says to me, "I have 3 little ones.  My wife could never take them to mass." Yet another comment I have NOTHING to respond with.  "How old are your little ones?" I ask handsome young lawyer who is walking quickly to keep up with me. He proudly replies "One , two and three. How old are yours?" 

At this point Mass is about to start and Jack has noticed that I am slowing my pace so he immediately thinks that means he can climb ANYTHING that is standing still. So after peeling Jack off the handrail I answer.."Mine are young like yours."  I was unable to give him ages at this point because I just wanted to stop talking and get on with my business.
I then turn away and enter the nearest door, kinda annoyed at the conversation..just the whole taking a lot of intrest in my family at that moment was not working for me.

I need to stop the story for a minute and tell you that I know that when we are out in public people are watching us.  I know that because I see them.  But more importantly I know that because I am one of the people who watches other families.  I am a talker by nature so I usually don't mind such interactions and sometimes welcome the chance to ..
"preach it". 
But this day..I was the one in need of the preachin'

After Mass young handsome lawyer comes up to me, like right away  as I was still collecting us out of the pew, and  looks at me in amazement...
"Your kids were so well behaved. How do you do that? We have a hard time with the 2 of us and our 3 kids."
And here is the big BLOW...
I had nothing to say...
I think I said thank you.  I know I was very abrupt and somewhat indifferent to his heartfelt compliment. 
I get us packed up and get myself out to our car.
I close the door and I realize how terrible I just handled that situation.  Thinking back I know this guy really just wanted to chat with me.  He was wanting to know more about what he was seeing..
He wanted to ask me,"Why are you here?" "What specific steps have you taken so you can be here with 5 kids and no help?" 

I know he wanted to ask those questions because I have been that person.  I have seen people who I feel instantly drawn to and I want to know more about them or more about what they are doing..because 9 times out of 10..I like what I see so I want to know more.
I felt bad..really bad.  I wanted to wait for him by his car and say.."I am sorry if I came across as rude..I was just focused and ..I'm here now."
But..I didn't.  I just drove away thinking I blew it. 
I wanted to say this to him..
"I don't really know what I am doing.  I do the best I can.  Sometimes my kids are well behaved and that is because we practice this whole daily mass thing..well..daily. I practice having patience with them by taking them here to practice.  Sometimes we have a great practice..other times I know ..we need more practice."


  1. Don't be too hard on yourself Lisa and who knows if you keep going to mass you may run into handsome young lawyer again then you can offer up your words of wisdom! I can think of no better words spoken to me by a complete stranger than "your children are so well behaved" I swear it makes me feel so proud and makes me want to pay it forward to another parent to make their day. Keep up the good work Lisa!

  2. Oh, I know how you feel about "blowing it"! But I think Danielle's right; you may have the chance to run into him again, and perhaps then you could try the conversation again. By the way, I have a hard time forgiving myself for something like this, and I just beat myself up. It does no good! Pray, and move forward...

  3. We all have those days. I know if I saw you and your little ones at Mass I would say to myself, "I wish I had more kids, and I need to come to Mass more often."

  4. Lisa, I am so glad you commented on Miz Boo's blog today. And, I so understand where you were coming from with your experience at Mass with the young lawyer. Sometimes we get "do overs" in the form of other encounters and maybe that will happen for you. I hope you are not too hard on yourself. You home school and get yourself and your children to mass as often as possible, WOW!
    Praying God will continue to bless you and your family. jep

  5. Bless your heart! I have soooo been there! I have four and one of mine is autistic. I have ZERO time when I have them out to stop and have a conversation before they get sidetracked and gripey and start bickering, and then I get mad and gripey and rude to them and everyone around us. I completely understand! And good for your trying to go to mass so often. That's awesome. I don't take mine ANYWHERE that doesn't have shopping carts unless I have a helper. No wonder he was so impressed by you!

  6. Hi Lisa! I found your blog via Stories for the Homeschool Heart facebook page. I'm reading the book and love every story.
    I homeschool my 4 children and can relate to this post here. Many times I have felt like I should have done this or that...
    I enjoy meeting other Catholic homeschool bloggers, as I just started my blog in June 2010. I am now following you on Google Friend Connect and I "Liked" your blog page :)
    God bless!
    Tracy at "A Slice of Smith Life"

  7. I am sure that with three little ones of his own, he understands where you are coming from..just a little preoccupied. He probably still went home to his wife and told her about this amazing family he saw in church, with five well behaved little children. I think it's great that you go to daily mass! I have gone a few times in my adult life, but would really like to start doing it again... maybe I'll give it a shot soon and take little Holly!

  8. You know, you just may see him again. He sounded downright impressed, so there is always the chance he'll try to hit the same mass as you again, in hopes of observing some more and picking up some tips on how you do it! I know how you feel though. As kind as the things people say are, it gets a little tiresome, and I always feel bad being annoyed with the comments too. Or rather, responding with the same thing over and over. It is fun to 'mix it up' sometimes. Mess with people a little. lol. Wishing I said or reacted to something differently always weighs on me too. Hopefully God will grant you a knew opportunity. And also...the guy likely did not even get the impression you felt like you gave. So...cheer up. : )

  9. Some days are just like that. I'm sorry you were disappointed with how you handled the situation. I sometimes feel dismissive when people ask me how I do everything I manage to do. I'm not really sure how to answer that so I often give a flippant answer.

  10. I'm so glad you stopped by and said "hello"! :) Your family and blog are adorable, and I've enjoyed looking around here. Lovely pictures and thoughts! Blessings, Kate :)

  11. Great blog! I found you through Kelle Hamptons blog and am so happy I did. I love kids and wish, wish, wish I could go to daily mass. It is a goal of mine when I can retire. My 2 boys are teenagers so although our lives may be very different, fundamentally all moms are the same. Love those kids to pieces and wish we could be better people.
    Do not stress about the church man, maybe you will see him there again and will have a moment to make amends. If nothing else, you can pray for him.
    Happy blogging! I will return.
    P.S. I can not figure out how to get my name on here, but it's Shellie. :)

  12. I totally get the "are all these kids yours" questions whenever I am out and about with all six. Sometimes I just get a look like "six kids....Really???" Oh well! I wouldn't have it any other way!! :)

  13. Am I the only one who thought that just maybe the guy might be a stalker of a super cute mom who could obviously run a company, too, if she wanted to? Just sayin' :-)

  14. Lisa,
    Your photos are breathtaking! And your entries are fun to read...I'd read more but I have to sleep! :) Thanks for helping us all feel "normal". Btw, I bet I know that lawyer guy...and if he is who I think he is...he seriously wants advice!