John had to work on Mother's Day. Such is a small trial of being married to a nurse...they work holidays. They work weekends. Mother's Day is both. So, this Mother's Day started with the dreaded "taking all three kids to mass by myself" task mentioned below. It didn't go too badly. I tried something different this time. I'm a big believer in sitting right up front. Kids just aren't going to behave if they have to stare at someone else's backside for an hour! But this time I I sat allll the way over to the side of the church. This was a bit like sitting in the bulkhead seats of an airplane. We just had more space around us...no one sitting in front of us, no one sitting on one side of us..just less people for the kids to bother. This took a lot of stress off of me. Jack spent most of the mass laying quietly on my shoulder, which was nice, but every so often he would just give a loud HOWL of protest...that's when I realized one problem with our new seats. We were right behind the priest! We had moved to the side of the altar where he was sitting, and he could no doubt hear everything out of my kids' mouths, as evidenced by the slight turning of his head every time Jack would howl. No perfect solution after all...
After mass, the Knight's of Columbus handed out roses to all the moms, something they do every year. This always excites Maria. She was wanting to hurry out of the church, "in case they run out". I wasn't in a huge hurry to run out of the church to sit in a hot car in the parking lot traffic. But not to worry...they didn't run out after all.
Then we loaded up for the drive to visit my mom. My mom lives in a tent in the woods. Seriously. Crazy, right? Not so much. They are doing this while they work on building a cob house, so it's semi-temporary. And it's a big army-style tent and they actually have quite a nice set-up out there. I mean, it's maybe not the lifestyle for everyone, but they are happy with it. I, for one, am quite dependent on air conditioning. I wasn't particularly looking forward to sitting out in the heat,,,the temps hit 88 degrees,,,especially since previous visits had seen me repeatedly chasing Jack down the dirt road, not sitting in the shade with a cold soda. And after mass and the great chaos of loading everyone and everything in the car, I was already fried. The drive into the mountains did much to improve my mood though. I soon lost reception on my usual Catholic radio station, so I switched it to a "mix" station instead, and we sang loudly and car-danced on the way up there, counted motorcycles on the highway, looked for wildflowers...something to remember- if kids get too loud in the car when you are trying to listen to a really cool song, say, Abba's "Dancing Queen" or "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman, a most excellent punishment is to turn the radio off and make them listen to you sing it in a loud and obnoxious a capella.
We stopped to meet my grandmother at a gas station that was on our way. She doesn't like to drive up the dirt roads in her car. On the last bit of the drive, the kids had great fun listening to her lecturing me to slow down and keep two hands on the wheel. I took this with good humor, winking at the kids. I'm very close to my grandmother and love her dearly, and her lectures are very frequent and very well-intentioned. We had a nice afternoon with an easy cold lunch and visiting with each other while the kids played with my parents' dogs, climbed rocks, swung in hammocks, tried to catch butterflies, and watch the numerous birds that visited the various feeders. Jack even refrained from running down the dirt road more than once or twice. In the early evening, I loaded up sweaty, dirty kids and blasted my beloved AC on the drive home. The kids were thrilled to pick up McDonald's for dinner on the way. I was less than thrilled with the happy meal toys. They were from Shrek. You press a button, and Shrek burps and then yells, "I'M AN OGRE"...over and over and over again...times three toys. Jack was gleefully copying Shrek, screaming, "I'M A YOGURT!" at the top of his lungs, which the big kids found terribly funny. I turned up the radio and tuned out as best I could. Once home, I unloaded the kids and the car, washed up the boys and checked them for ticks and sunburn, and sent them off to bed. When John arrived home around 9pm, he brought me take-out Lo Mien and crab rangoons, and presented me with chocolate goodies for dessert, a wonderful Mother's Day ending indeed.