Sunday did not turn out quite as we had hoped, but there were still sweet and bright moments.
For Mass on Sunday, we found a parish offering the Latin Mass in downtown Buffalo: St. Anthony of Padua, which is a historic, ethnically Italian parish.
It was a beautiful old parish full of charm and a bit of quirkiness, like electric candles and a crucifix in the narthex repaired with duct tape. Chris had visited there twice before in prior years and says the parish has made some good repairs.
There were many statues, nearly a dozen, in the narthex, and there has been put up a glass wall separating the narthex and the church proper so that those with loud babies can stay in back without disturbing the Mass. I enjoyed strolling Thomas along and reading the amazingly Italian names of all the family donor names on the wall!
There is an extensive and interesting museum in the basement which I was greatly looking forward to exploring after Mass, but more on why we didn't do so later.
The parish offers coffee and doughnuts in the parish hall weekly, but this week had a potluck as well to celebrate their priest's one-year anniversary installed at this parish. We had planned on going out to breakfast at a restaurant, but had our fill at the church.
Fr. Justus joined us at our table to eat, so we got how he came from Africa to America. The parishioners were so friendly, including one lady who introduced herself and turned out to be a Margaret Anne (same name as our daughter) and whose father was named Joseph Anthony (same name as our son).
The children flocked around a piano and took turns playing. Eventually, my rather quiet children each took his or her place, at which point a number of the grandmothers and grandfathers of the parish gathered around to offer praise.
One gentleman was so very kind, as he came over to introduce himself with tears starting to brim in his eyes, saying repeatedly, "Thank you for sharing your family with our parish! I hardly have words!" And he described how he had noticed our daughter sitting alone in the front pew (as she does at our regular Mass at home--it's just her preference so she can concentrate), kneeling with a straight back, and how moved he was, how he elbowed his wife to look at her. His joyful watery eyes moved me so much. He said, "You can come to our parish any time! You'd fit right in!"
We were walking to the car when John (having just played the piano at length) asked me to look at his palms, which were covered in red spots (oh--I feel so bad for spreading these germs to those piano-playing boys!). I groaned as I thought of that single sore he'd shown me in his mouth the day prior. I check his mouth: full of spots. I asked him to take off his socks and shoes and, despite his protesting that his feet were just fine, he obeyed and discovered his feet were absolutely covered in spots.
We sat in the car with 'Dr. Google,' decided this was almost assuredly hand, foot, and mouth disease (cocksackie virus), and then navigated our way to a local pediatric urgent care, forgoing the parish museum and the planned tour of the neighborhood were both of Chris' parents grew up.
The doctor at the urgent care declared John the ninth case of hand, foot, and mouth disease she'd diagnosed that morning alone. She said it is 'running rampant' in Buffalo right now, that the incubation period is 24-48 hours (so John caught it here), and he really could have caught it anywhere: a child, an adult, a door knob handle, a restaurant, anywhere.
She confirmed that we shouldn't take the children to the crowning social event of this family reunion because this virus is so highly contagious. She regretfully informed me that I can anticipate all my kids catching it and, while the older kids might get a fairly mild expression, the younger ones would be very uncomfortable . . . those same younger ones I have to escort on a plane by myself in fewer than 48 hours. The doctor told me what over-the-counter medications will help soothe symptoms and told me to watch for dehydration if a sick child has such a sore throat that he doesn't want to drink.
Hand, foot, and mouth is very common, can be contracted repeatedly, and I know quite a few friends who've had it run through their family, but we happen never to have caught it before.
I am practicing my acceptance of God's providence that we are missing such special moments on the first family vacation we've taken since three summers ago. If bad things didn't happen, we would never have an opportunity to practice accepting God's will, right? I tell myself that.
|Sweet swim dresses by Dressing for His Glory|
Chris went to the party, at my encouragement, and I stayed back with the children, letting the ones who felt well enough play in a baby pool, then watch a movie and eat Popsicles. John couldn't swallow much.
|John lasted about five minutes in the pool before deciding he felt too yucky and laid down inside.|
|Tossing the ball to the dog|
|Tossing the ball to the dog|
By bedtime, the baby and both girls began showing symptoms, and two of the three were feverish along with John. Prayers are appreciated!