Holy Week was upon us, and we were busy going to church! For those of you not familiar with Holy Week, Maundy Thursday (also called Holy Thursday), is the Thursday before Easter in which Jesus shared the last supper with the disciples and washed their feet. The next day is called Good Friday, and is the day Jesus was crucified. These are major days on the Christian calendar, days when Catholics attend mass, and many protestants also have services.
Eric’s high school, you will be happy to hear, has taken “separation of church and state” so to heart, that they scheduled their annual open house on Maundy Thursday and prom on Good Friday, despite the protests of the Catholic and other Christian staff members. Eric and his fellow Catholics informed the principle they would be leaving the open house early to attend Mass. My church, First Presbyterian Church, also had a service that evening that I wanted to attend. So here was the afternoon: Eric picked Adrian up at daycare, came home, picked up the other 3 boys, and then returned to school. I drove down to his high school from my job on the far Northeast side of town, got the boys, then drove downtown to my church to attend the Maundy Thursday service. Eric stayed at work and participated in the open house until he went to church.
And what to do for dinner, you ask? Well, obviously, one of the many things you swore you would never do when you became a mom: McDonald’s in the car (and DON’T get french fries all over my van!!). As we drove to McDonald’s, I tried to explain Holy Week and why we were going to church that night. From the back seat, Adrian chanted, “Jesusdiedonthecross!” A phrase he had clearly picked up at his Christian preschool but had no idea what it meant.
“That’s right, Adrian,” Stephen agreed. “The bad people killed Jesus and then they locked him up in a cave with a giant rock!”
“Oooooh,” said Adrian.
Well, perhaps not the full meaning of Easter, but it was a start. We moved on to dinner. Stephen wanted a chicken nugget happy meal. Adrian specified, “I want french fries. I want apple slices. I want juice. And that’s IT!”
“Ok,” I said. “I’ll get you a cheeseburger happy meal and I’ll eat your cheeseburger.”
“No!” Adrian shouted. “I don’t want a cheeseburger. I want french fries! And apples! And juice! And THAT’S IT!”
“That’s what you’ll get,” I assured him. “Mommy will eat the cheeseburger!”
“No! NO cheeseburger!” Said Adrian.
“Ok, I know, honey,” I said.
When we arrived at McD’s, the drive-thru was PACKED (apparently I’m not the only bad mom out there) and we got in line. Of course we got in line behind THE SLOWEST person ever, who was new to the planet and didn’t know how this whole drive-thru thing worked. I anxiously looked at the clock; we’d be late for sure at this rate. Adrian, constantly concerned with who is “winning,” looked to the lane next to us and asked, “We winning, Mommy? We the winners?”
“No!” I said, watching yet another car pass us by as the aliens ahead of us worked on deciphering the complex burger-and-fries menu. “We are definitely not winning. We’re the losers.” I sighed, watching the minutes tick away as we sat trapped in the drive thru.
When we finally got our food, I passed the bags to the back and got on the highway. Adrian opened his bag and started crying.
“Noooooo!” He cried. “I….no….want….CHEESEBURGER!” He began kicking and screaming.
“Adrian!” I said. “I’ll eat the cheeseburger! Don’t worry about the cheeseburger!”
Adrian continued to scream.
“Adrian! Calmly hand the cheeseburger to Stephen! Give it to Stephen!”
Adrian pinched the offending sandwich between two fingers and dropped it in Stephen’s lap. Then he happily munched his “french fries and apple slices, and that’s IT!”
We rolled into the full parking lot exactly as the service started. Thankfully Julie and Rex were there to help me get everyone unpacked. We raced into church, deposited Adrian and the babies in the nursery, and found our seats with my mom. After sitting, I glanced to my left and saw a mom with 2 boys. She was dressed very nicely in a black dress; her kids wore button-up collared shirts and vests. They were both younger than Stephen, and sitting very quietly with her. They sat QUIET and STILL the WHOLE service.
I sighed, looking at my own son, squiggly and noisy with his toys, dressed in a dirty sweatshirt and jeans, and me, dressed in my work scrubs and tennis shoes. Geez, look at her! I thought. She probably fed them boiled organic spinach for dinner! And she was probably even on time! Not that I would know, since I was 10 minutes late. And her kids are being so quiet! And they’re younger than Stephen and boys. No excuses on this one….we SO lost this mompetition! We’re the losers again! I always saw myself being the well-dressed, put together mom with the quiet kids, not the rushed-from-work-late with fast food mom.
But as we sat listening to the music, I was reminded again why I am a Christian, and why I love Easter. Lent reminds us of all the bad in the world; we are dirty, and noisy, and we’re always going to come up short. But God loves us anyway, and all us moms are equal before Him. We are moms who don’t always do the right things, but we are doing our best. We have to have grace for ourselves, and grace for each other, and trust God to fill in the holes. We’re losers on Good Friday, but Jesus makes us all winners on Easter!