- compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone
- an event to be grateful for; especially because its occurrence prevents something unpleasant or provides relief from suffering
It’s so easy to lose perspective. So easy to get consumed with what isn’t instead of what is.
One of my sons told me yesterday, “C. (birthmom) never taught me how to follow directions, that’s why I can’t do it.”
I have to admit, it was a knife to the heart for me – I’ve never taught him to follow directions? In complete and total honesty, I don’t get jealous of her. I don’t mind talking about her to the boys. I don’t mind that they love her. I love her – because of her, I have them. I don’t have a problem with any of that. At all.
Where they hurt me the deepest is when they negate all the effort, love, and work I’ve done for them. She had Zach for 3 years. I’ve had him for 7 years. She had Chris for 1.5 years. I’ve had him for 7 years. She never had Justin. I’ve had him for 6.5 years. So my child’s comment yesterday pierced me deep. Deep.
But in God’s mercy, two different people talked to me yesterday and helped me put many things into perspective.
We went to church yesterday afternoon for Holy Wednesday. After church, I was standing in the back of the narthex with Les and the boys while we waited for Niki to talk to Zach N. A lady in her late 50’s – maybe early 60’s – came up to me just as my boys had walked away for a minute to look at something.
She told me, “I’ve been watching you with your children for years.” You have to understand, we go to a HUGE parish. I don’t even come close to knowing everyone. I recognized her from going to church every Sunday though. She continued, “I don’t know what you’re doing but it’s amazing. All of your kids not only behave phenomenally in church but they participate without being prompted by you. I just wanted to tell you that.” I thanked her and she walked off.
I can’t deny it. My kids are phenomenal in church. For many years now, I’ve had my mom’s words whispering in my ear, “Kids learn to be in church by being in church.” I’ve taken all the kids to church every Sunday for years – even when I had all six and Les was out of town. I remember several Sundays where I put Justice in the carrying pack in front of me, held either Malaki or Justin (usually Malaki though) while holding the other one’s hand, then put Niki in between Zach and Chris. There were services where I probably spent a total of 15 minutes actually in church. It was frustrating but I never let it defeat me. More often than not, I’d take the boys who were acting up or crying outside the front doors of the church and I sat on the steps of the church while having them stand in front of me on the steps. I’d hold their hands and let them move about but they would repeat after me one word at a time, “Lord. have. mercy.” We’d do it over and over and over again. Here’s my little secret – the prayer was more for me than them but I figured I’d teach it to them instead of just letting them play and think they could act up to go have play time outside. I was determined. I was not going to teach them that they got play time if they acted up in church. Then I’d ask them, “Do you want to keep saying the prayer or go back into church and try being quiet again?” I like giving my kids two choices – but they’re always choices I’m comfortable with regardless of what they choose. There’s more to it than just this – but that was a big part of it.
Then I was talking to my mom last night. They have a priest from Africa who is currently attending the seminary in Boston staying with them at their house for Holy Week. It’s too expensive for him to go home for the week so they tend to see if any priests need a helper during Holy Week and they go there instead. My dad has some health issues so he welcomed the help.
My mom was talking to this priest about me, because that’s what my mom does – she talks about her kids, and he was telling my mom he wishes he saw his wife as much as I see my husband. I stopped in my tracks. I know how little I see Les. I was afraid to ask how much he sees his wife.
Currently, he hasn’t seen his wife and children since December. It’s May. He told my mom that it’s actually nicer now that he’s going to the seminary because he can talk to his wife every day and is able to send money to them so they don’t starve. When he’s back in Africa and the bishop sends him out into the Bush, he has absolutely no contact with his wife and kids for long periods of time and isn’t able to send them any money. He didn’t get to meet his daughter for the first time until she was 4 months old.
Seeing my husband only a few times a month doesn’t seem so bad anymore. None of us are starving either.
Lord have mercy.