When we announced we were pregnant with Max, some friends who had a two year-old and an infant at the time (they now have 7 handsome kiddos) gave us some advice:

“Enjoy every Mass you can before the baby is born,” Mario said while bouncing a fussy babe, “because you’ll never get to again.”

It seemed . . . ominous.

Then it came true.

Not that every Mass is a miserable experience mind you or even unpleasant.  There have been whole stretches of weeks that I have heard most of Father’s homily and have been able to pray at some point.  It’s just that most of the time, as my friend Shawna says, I am experiencing the holy SACRIFICE of the Mass.  Namely which child to sacrifice later. . .

Anyway, it never, NEVER fails that on those Sundays when I am breathing a sigh of relief for having survived that a kindly person will approach us with a smile.

“You have such a beautiful/nice/lovely family! And so well behaved!”

I always look flattered and humbled and get profuse with my thanks.  After all, as a mom, it’s not often that your work gets recognized or rewarded.  I should be jubilant about this commendation, this medal on completing the marathon.  Instead, I want to roll my eyes and shrug.

“THESE kids? You’re kidding right?”


“Please! Not in front of the children! You’ll only encourage them!”

I know that the good Lord sends these folks, especially on those rough mornings, as an encouragement, a smile, a hug to keep on keeping on.  It is a reminder that Someone is watching and He cares and notices. I should appreciate it, I know.

Then, last night.

Last night as we bundled up the kids after daily Mass and my mind was already back at the crock pot and dinner and calculating how many minutes before we could drop the kiddos off at grandmas, the cute little old man behind us shakily stood and leaned forward with a smile.

“Are these all yours?” he asked. I assured him they were.

“So beautiful and so well behaved for their age!” he said with feeling.

“Do you beat them often?”

I laughed out right with him and assured him that yes, we do and liberally. (jk! lol! as Chelsey would say . . . ) We chuckled together for a moment and had a brief exchange but I left Cathedral in the highest spirits I had felt all week.

It felt like a fist bump from the Lord.  He really DOES work in mysterious ways.

Best. Compliment. Ever.