The morning started out and I wasn't in the best of moods. By the time Paul came downstairs I had to rush out to the car to get the Moby wrap and I asked him to get the stroller out of the garage and lift Sadie into it, since I'm still technically not supposed to be hauling around her 35 + pounds of weight. I had the vague idea of going on a walk before it hit the nineties and we were trapped inside for the rest of the day. The following 10 hours seemed very long indeed without the option of going outside. I headed east, away from the Church, towards a meadow that we go to play in. On the way I started to pray a rosary and before I made it to the first decade I felt a very strong pull to stop and head back towards the Church.
I reasoned with myself as I turned the stroller around and started up the hill towards our parish. I said that I wasn't going to go to Mass with the two girls alone, I would just walk in that direction and then maybe turn back and go to the meadow. After all, I wanted to get in as much exercise as possible too. When I got to the street that turns off the main road towards our parish I followed it, still not planning on actually going inside. We turned on the next street as well and finally I pushed the stroller up the steep drive into our parish's parking lot. Maybe I would just wait a little while and say "hi" to Diane when Mass was over and make sure she'd found somebody to replace me for this weeks work. But still I felt drawn closer and, having come so far, I didn't see the sense in stopping. So I pushed the stroller up the handicap ramp and peeked through one of the front windows.
I was late, and I could tell it was either the gospel reading or the homily, but the feeling of being drawn somewhere persisted. Finally I gave in with a small prayer that went something along the lines of this: "since you seem to want me here today, please don't let this be a disaster..." As quietly as I could I opened the door managed to pull the heavy stroller in. We stood in the back as the homily ended and I knelt by Sadie and held her hand (Maggie slept on in the wrap). When it was time to receive the Eucharist I whispered and asked if Sadie wanted to go up with me (she'd been quietly sitting in her seat). She lifted her arms up and I picked her up (only six days until I'm cleared to legally lift her!) and set her down. She held my hand and walked up to the front like a big girl. Then we went back to our usual seat in the front row and she sat next to me on the pew (something she hardly ever does since she's usually on someone's lap).
Since she was a little fidgety I handed her a song book to look at. And that almost turned the trip into a disaster. I had unknowingly selected the only songbook in the parish without a Mary sticker on the inside of the front cover. Sadie started to frantically turn the front pages back and forth, looking for the sticker. I realized what was going on and switched it out for a songbook with a sticker. Disaster averted. No tears or screaming needed. Sadie spent the last few moments of Mass glancing back and forth between the sticker and the statue in front of us with a huge smile. Then she stood with me like a big girl when Mass ended, obviously very proud of herself for behaving.
I was confident enough after Mass that we did stay to work in the office. After a few minutes in the office I was surprised to see a form outside the window walking by. The figure passed by and then turned and came right up to the window to stare in. A curious little doe was looking in, her face inches away from where I was standing (I think I'd gone over to sharpen a pencil). She looked at the four of us (and all of us who were awake, that is, everyone but Maggie, got to see her!). Then Sadie colored on a piece of paper on the ground with a pencil until we were surprised by a knock on the door. It was Nani and she had been excused from jury duty because all the cases had been resolved without trials. So Sadie enthusiastically went with Nani to order a cake for Maggie's baptism (on Sunday) and we finished up our work and went out to a girl's lunch.
I'm so glad that I listened to the feeling that I had this morning and went to Mass. While I'm sure there will be wild times and tantrums in the future it reminded me that not every Sunday (or weekday) Mass will be trying.