Let me be clear by first saying that I dearly love my little boy. I say this just to head off the criticism because now I'm going to complain a bit about being a parent. You can't stop me: it's my blog! Now, let's get on with it...
The thing about being a parent is that it's very intense. The highs are VERY high and the lows are VERY low. And now that we are back from our "vacation" in Bogotá its sinking in even more that our life has changed permanently. And while I would never want to go backwards it doesn't mean I don't miss the freedom we used to have. To go to the bathroom in peace or make it through the day without having a little one scream, shout, scream. Or to be able to eat at a restaurant without wondering when the peaceful, good table manners are going to run out. Etc. Etc. You all know the drill: parenting=life is now dedicated to your child's needs.
Among the things I miss are being able to go to church. Sure we could go to church and leave him in the nursery but I just don't think that's a good idea: It's scary for him to be with strangers. So we have to go in shifts because Elian absolutely cannot be quiet for more than 15 minutes and Carmen needs to go to church in Spanish. Sometimes my shift gets dropped and it's a bummer.
Blah, blah, blah. Complain, complain. Get to the point already!
Last week was Ash Wednesday and we were in a pickle. Arnold had a meeting and couldn't take Carmen to church. Which is how I ended up taking both Carmen and Elian to St. Francis at 6:30 pm on Wednesday night. 6:30 =time of day when Elian is crazy grumpy/tired. I was ready for a terrible night of wrangling a tired, screaming toddler and a confused non-English speaking mother-in-law. I was feeling kind of sorry for myself. Poor me! Can't even go to church. Such suffering!
Shockingly though... Elian was a complete and total angel. He was quiet the ENTIRE SERVICE. And by quiet I mean he was quietly climbing the walls and burrowing through the legs of complete strangers, but still he was SILENT as a church mouse! It was an Ash Wednesday miracle! He even calmly walked with me to the front of the church and didn't scream at the lady who applied his ashes. It was the best moment of our week!
I can't imagine a better Ash Wednesday service than the one I spent sitting on the floor in the back of St. Francis playing with my blessedly quiet son. And I guess that's the thing about being a parent. Just when you are expecting a disaster you receive an unexpected gift. A giggle when you are expecting a tantrum. A hug that comes out of nowhere. A little person's hands on your face babbling softly in your ear. And ashes to remind you that life is fleeting so it's important to cherish each moment and live it well.