it’s sunday morning. tovi is gone at another conference this weekend, so it is me, two kids, one dog. it’s sunday morning, and in order to make it to church sort of on time, my alarm goes off at 6:20am. i allow myself one round with the snooze button before absolutely prying myself out of bed. i am hoping, praying, daring to get in and out of the shower and wash my hair before i hear either one of the kids.
i’m faster than fast and it’s quiet enough when i get out that i have time to drink my glass of water and get dressed before i hear london. i grab her from her crib, tie my wet hair into a loose bun, and bring her back into my bed to nurse. by this time we hear cruz singing “jesus loves me” from his room, and we go jump in bed with him. kisses, tickles, good mornings. i give london some books while i get cruz half dressed and send him downstairs.
it is now 7:30. we have one hour left.
i’m changing london and from downstairs i hear, “mommy! mommy! i’m ready for something that starts with a b!” cruz wants a cereal bar and is really into giving me hints about what he wants rather than asking for it. london is growing so fast that i don’t always know what will fit her from day to day, so i try a couple of outfits on her before settling on a cute dress, a headband, and running downstairs, with shoes and socks in my hand for cruz.
bar, fruit, juice and vitamins are doled out for cruz. i start the coffee, settle london into her jumpy and run back upstairs to start drying my hair. “hey cruz,” i yell down, setting down the hairdryer for a moment. “can you let abby outside?” i pause while i hear him open the back door, call to the dog, and then shut it again. i figure that’s good enough and also when did he get old enough to help like this?
my hair is dry. my makeup is on. it is 8:00.
i come back downstairs and announce to myself and everyone, “we’re going to church this morning. we are leaving so soon.” if i say it often enough will it come true? i start getting the diaper bag ready. it’s packed with extra snacks for cruz in case we want to hang out with friends after church (we do). i pour a bowl of cereal for myself, start drinking my coffee, and realize that i’ve sat down without pouring milk into the bowl. i also realize that cruz has guzzled down an entire sippy of juice. “oh cruz!” i holler into the living, “i’m setting the timer for one minute. when you hear the beep, it’s time to go potty.” it’s 8:15. i haul cruz into the bathroom. while he’s sitting down, i see that neither of us has shoes on. “london’s poopy,” he tells me. ah, thank you for letting me know. i gulp down some coffee on my way through the kitchen to the living room, scooping her up and taking her upstairs. “let abby back inside,” i yell down. “abby wants to stay outside all day,” he answers back, clearly not wanting to stop playing again. not so helpful this time.
lo and i come back downstairs, let abby back into the house. i forgot our shoes upstairs so i race up and down, hoping that was my last trip to the bedrooms. london is looking like such a little lady in her headband and tights that i stop to snap a picture. as i’m doing it, she flips up her skirt and sticks her tongue out– what a sass!
“cruz, which are we going to put on first: socks or shoes?” he giggles and runs over to me. “put some gel in my hair, mommy.” this weekend we’ve been talking about what things go in our hair (gel: yes. pretzels: no) and his request is too cute to ignore. back upstairs to find hair gel. i work it in and he’s off to look at himself in the mirror. “there’s me and there’s the gel in my hair!” i hear from the bathroom. it’s 8:30 and it is absolutely time to get the kids into the car. can i say an amen for the minivan and my ability to open its doors from inside the house? i send cruz outside to start climbing into his seat while i turn off the lights, pick up london, lock the door.
by the time i’m at the car, cruz is sitting in the driver’s seat asking about the “levers.” i pick him up and buckle him in, forgetting that earlier i’d promised that he could do it himself. he cries. i walk back around, unbuckle him and he does it himself, slowly and carefully. as we back out, we do our roll call. “is cruz in the car?” “yes!” “is london in the car?” “yes!” “is mommy in the car?” “yes!” (and now this is the part where i am very thankful for his help) “can you see the diaper bag?” “it’s right there!” “can you see the ergo?” “there it is!” “can you see your snack?” “right there!” whew. gang’s all here.
we listen to praise music on the way to church. we talk about the friends that we’ll see.
i pull into the parking lot of 8:58 for the 9am service. we’re so close and yet, so far. london goes into the ergo. cruz gets out of the van and we walk slllllooooowwwlllyyy down the sidewalk. “do you want me to carry you?” i ask a thousand times as he shuffles along. he identifies the types of trees out in front. he comments on the sidewalk cracks. he’s cheerful and charming and taking his time. i’ve been trying to be on time for church for the last two and a half hours, and it kills me that we’re still late. but when we walk in the doors, i can feel the Spirit and let it wash over me. our church is singing “bless the Lord O my soul” at the top of its lungs and cruz says, “this is the song i know!” simon, our greeter buddy, yells out, “welcome, little man!” as cruz runs in for his weekly high-five. by the time i’ve got the kids checked into their classes and i find my way into the auditorium, i am so so late. i am so late but it is worth the effort to get us out of the house. it is worth the hassle and the stress and the work to be out and worshipping with our church family. i can give glory to God even with this widow’s mite of being late to church. so sometimes we try to leave the house.