Monday, February 25, 2013

Blessings (in Costco parking lot)...

Lucy has finally figured out how to stand up! She just loves our reaction - we clap and cheer until she plops down on her bum a few seconds later!
 Lucy is almost one. A bunch of moms casually mentioned this to me today at preschool. They can't believe that she's sitting up in a stroller munching on Cheerios while we wait for Joseph to get out of class!

I can't believe it either. I remember standing outside of the same classroom a year ago (Gianna was in that class last year) and feeling so large and uncomfortable. I think other pregnant women look beautiful and radiant...but I just tend to feel huge and awkward :).

A happy memory came rushing back to me as I drove home from preschool. It was a rainy and windy day about a year ago. I was 8 months pregnant with Lucy. I had three of my four children with me at Costco. We had just run through the aisles to do our shopping before rushing back to preschool to pick up Gianna.

Toward the end of the shopping trip, the meltdowns started. I decided that I would get some pizza slices for lunch. I would quickly feed the three kids in the food court, and bring a piece home for Gianna and I to share.

The food was in front of us. I could sense the kids calming down knowing that they would have some lunch in just a minute. And then...I went to pay with my debit card. Nope...only cash, the cashier told me. NO! Of course, I had not a dime to my name.

I headed out to the car with my flipping out/whining children. I was trying to look like I had it all together...a big pregnant lady pushing a huge cart with unhappy children all around her. I painted a big smile on my face (this is how I pretend to have it all together!). Inside, I remember saying to God under my breath, "REALLY? Can't you see I'm doing the best I can here?! A little help PLEASE!!"

This is where the story turns good/unbelievable. We were walking toward our minivan  (trying to avoid all eye contact with people), and I recognized a priest who used to be at the local parish (he had moved to a new parish). I didn't know him personally, but I had been to his Masses a number of times. I remembered that he was a late vocation (became a priest in his 50s), and that he had a great joy about him...always smiling.

As we passed him, I said, "Hello, Father! I remember you from when you were at Holy Name." I told the kids to say hello.

I never want to forget the next few minutes (though sadly, I probably will if I don't write them memory stinks these days!). He gave our family the most beautiful blessing, including a special blessing for the unborn baby. He had such words of praise for me. He thanked me for bringing all my beautiful children out into society as a witness of life. And then...the unbelievable part...he took my hand and pressed a $20 bill into my palm. He told me to treat the kids to lunch.

I was speechless. It was as if God had heard my prayer and put Father right into my path. I know you can't ever expect these moments (although we can always hope for them), but man, they instantly make you want to get down on your knees.

I felt like a brand new person as we turned around and marched right back into Costco (smiling children this time) to get our pizza. I couldn't wait to tell my husband and close friends. I shared it with others for months. We all need reminders that God does hear us and He does care. He doesn't always send a priest to give you $20, but He does hear you :).

As for Lucy, she's not one yet...I'm going to savor these last few weeks of babyhood!

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