Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Blessings on Thee, Barefoot Girl

The transition to four kiddos has not been as brutal as I expected. This is partly due to Daniel being a fairly mild-mannered baby who cries only when he truly needs something and, even then, will only scream at top volume for about a minute before giving up. The worst part about the transition has been my continual frustration with the older children and their inability to help me out. My eldest is eight years old - is it too much to ask that he be able to put on his own shoes? You wouldn't think so, yet every time we have to go anywhere all three of my older children look completely shocked and taken aback that they actually need to wear shoes when running errands, heading to the park, or going to school. They would probably be completely fine and comfortable traipsing through the mall or grocery store sans footwear but what they fail to realize is that some well meaning bystander might see this spectacle and immediately call CPS on this completely innocent yet haggard mother.

This whole not wearing shoes thing came to a head the other morning when I was desperately trying to get everyone out to the car early in the morning to take Matthew to school for his last day before summer break. We have to drive a good 30 minutes to the school and since morning traffic in Denver can be so unpredictable, I wanted to get everyone going as soon as possible. For their last day, the entire school was to attend Mass and then say goodbye, grab their report cards, and be dismissed for the summer all before 9:30 AM. Since the school is so far, it only made sense that I bring everyone to Mass and wait for Matthew to finish up before taking everyone home. So, I am running about, changing diapers, dishing out breakfast, nursing the baby, and getting everyone dressed - because I do not trust the two eldest to pick out outfits that do not have questionable stains or are not weather appropriate (Emma is known for protesting wearing sweatpants all winter long but, once the 90 degree weather hits, they suddenly become a popular favorite!) - in an attempt to get to Mass on time.

As I'm finishing up with Daniel and Lucy, I strictly instruct Emma and Matthew to "get your shoes on and get in the car."

When I finally made it out to the car, I found to my complete amazement that both Emma and Matthew were already inside and completely buckled up. My heart soared! It feels so good when the children obey!

We got to the school in record time. Matthew hopped out and I then worked on getting the other three out and into the church. That's when I noticed that Emma was not wearing shoes.

"Where are your shoes?!" I squeaked.
Emma looks down at her painted toes and give a sheepish grin: "Ooops! I forgot!"

I had to sit and think for a bit. I really wanted to go to Mass but wasn't entirely sure it was appropriate for Emma to walk into the church barefoot. On the other hand, I really couldn't go home because I would pretty much have to run back out and pick up Matthew. Should I just wait in the car for the next 70 minutes?

I decided that God would understand. I told Emma to hop out and we all headed towards the church. Emma felt it necessary to continue to grate on my already-strained nerves regarding this situation by remarking: "Walking without shoes is so much fun! Everyone should not wear shoes! It's a piece of cake to walk barefoot!"
Lucy found this statement silly and responded: "Walking is not a piece of cake!"
To which Emma shot back: "It's a figure of speech, Lucy." I didn't even know she knew what a figure of speech was.

I was hoping we could sneak into the church unnoticed and hit up the cry room in the back. Of course, the cry room is on the opposite side of the church where we were parked so we had to walk through the entire building before making it to our hide out for Mass. And of course, there was an entire group of people standing and chatting in the vestibule that we had to sneak past. Including the pastor. Hoping to slip past completely unnoticed, I began to walk very fast. My sneakiness was stopped by Father Henri suddenly calling out while motioning at Emma: "Oh my! Young lady where are your shoes?" He was laughing while he said it, but that did not stop my face from turning beet red.

Father must have noticed my discomfort because he told me: "Don't worry about it. It's summertime! Kids should be running around barefoot. Let me tell you a story...a few years ago, one of our staff members noticed a man sitting in the adoration chapel for hours. He was wearing sport shorts and an undershirt and his feet were completely bare. She thought he was a homeless man who was trying to sleep in the church. So, she comes to my office and tells me, 'Father, I think there is a homeless man sleeping in the church.' I asked her to describe him to me and she did. And I knew immediately who he was. He was the Deacon from Saint Gabriel and I told her that he always dresses that way and prefers to not wear shoes. But she was that close to kicking him out!"

He laughed jovially and then patted Emma on the head, "So, young lady, it doesn't bother me. I'm just happy you came to Mass! But be good to your Mother and may God bless you!"

Thank God for kind and understanding people! A bit of my embarrassment and shame disappeared and we were able to enjoy Mass without additional problems. Matthew finished the 2nd grade and was promoted to 3rd grade, winning the "Most Enthusiastic Student" award for his class. We are so proud of him. He is a very intelligent kid but just needs to work a bit more on applying himself, because when he does, he blows us away with his talents! Next year he won't be alone at school either. Emma will be joining him as a Kindergartner and I can hardly believe it. This time last year, I would have cried at the thought of her leaving me to be at school all day but now I believe that she and me both are ready for the transition!

And she's going to have to be okay with wearing shoes to school.

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