Happy fifth birthday to our Margaret Anne--our 'Margalo'!
I had been up till about midnight trying to finish chores the night before, but still, the three-year-old woke me whispering at 6:30 a.m., "Is it time to celebrate Margaret's birthday yet?"
At breakfast, Margaret opened one present showing that, like her big siblings when they turned five, we opened a savings account for her and she will start receiving an allowance. Big girl!
|Margaret's bank card--what is given now instead of a bank ledger|
Then we drove to Greenville, SC, to meet midway with Chris' parents and some lovely friends of ours for a celebratory lunch after Mass.
|Margaret asked to light a prayer candle, and she prayed for her year ahead.|
This year, Margaret's birthday fell on Palm Sunday--a lovely liturgical coincidence, but also perhaps the second longest Mass of the year, which is always a challenge when you're a parent of young children.
|The procession from the blessing of palms in one building to the church.|
Our new norm lately is that John serves at the altar, Mary sits by herself in a front pew, Daddy has the 3- and 5-year-olds in a rear pew, and I sit in the cry room with the baby. Our new norm works really well. For various reasons, though, today I had the three youngest children and it turned out to be the worst Mass experience in as long as I can remember. I was getting so very upset!
|Margaret keeps telling me, "I'm a whole hand now!"|
|Beautiful Margaret on her fifth birthday|
We lasted in the actual church for an entire sixty seconds of the Mass, spent about an hour in the vestibule, which my children mistook for a playground, and then I took us outside so I could nurse the baby on a bench instead of sitting on the floor again. It was quite chilly. The baby wouldn't stop crying. And no amount of discipline was working on the other tots.
Margaret asked permission to go pray in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary and I said yes, thinking smugly to myself that at least, finally, something was going right.
Then she returned and informed me, "I prayed to God for a better family. My birthday isn't going very well so far."
Talk about a knife in this mother's heart! I even questioned Margaret at some length about what she meant about wanting a better family and she really did mean it.
|The whole gang, with Margaret at the head|
Finally, Mass concluded and I thanked God that our Mass experiences lately have been so calm and nice compared to today, which was like a flashback to the 'early years' of parenting. (I'm still in the early years, but I mean the really early years.)
We convened with the grandparents and the friends at a local pizza place and had a merry time after that point.
|Thomas, 8 months old|
We ate pizza, and opened gifts . . .
|Wonderful coloring books|
|The only thing Margaret requested: her very own watch|
|Trying on the watch|
|Pencils imprinted with her very own name!|
|One-on-one fun outings with Mama and Daddy|
We ate cake brought from home: the only time my somber little girl with her quiet emotions showed exuberant joy.
|Guarding the flame from her 3-year-old brother who kept blowing it out|
Happy birthday to Margaret! May your next five years be even better than your first!