When Darren and I were newlyweds, I delighted in waking up before him on Sunday mornings and secretly preparing a delectable breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes, or waffles, or coffee cake, or sometimes even homemade biscuits (with his, always, in the shape of a heart). We would savor these in the laziest sort of way, then shower together before heading off to Mass where we would enjoy a peaceful, prayerful hour spent holding hands in one of the front pews. These days, Sunday mornings are more often about me coming home from work and sneaking into bed, hoping for at least a few minutes of rest before everyone else wakes up. When they inevitably do, it’s a chaotic heap of small snuggling bodies piled into my bed, and all thoughts of sleep are quickly dashed. After a while we get up, and then the real fun begins! Rounds of baths for the little ones, fingers crossed that they actually stay clean until it’s time to leave for church; checking and rechecking the diaper bag at least twice (so I’m a little OCD); final trips to the potty and putting shoes, again, onto the small feet to which they belong. After securing all three angels into their car seats, we spend the drive into town rehearsing church manners with the reminder that we are there to visit Jesus and that we “must behave”! Once there, we take our usual seats in the back and settle in. Sometimes the next hour passes beautifully, with the children well behaved and both Darren and I actually paying attention during the Mass; other times, I’m embarrassed to be seen with those same children.
Whereas Sunday afternoons back then were spent in leisurely pursuits such as reading, studying, watching movies, or (when we were feeling really frivolous) fine dining, these Sunday afternoons most often find us making a mad dash through Wal-Mart, and any dining out experience is usually preceded by the words “Daddy, can we please get a Happy Meal? Because look, they have a new [insert latest Disney movie toy]”. Books that would have been read in a matter of days now sit on our nightstands for months. Movies that we rent for ourselves are often returned with late fees after having not even been watched! Falling into bed after a long exhausting day, I so often remember what it was like before….but I can honestly say that I would never wish to go back. Because in the end, this is all I ever really prayed for all those childless Sunday mornings ago, anyway.