Little Cutie was feeling his oats. I know - pick your battles. Okay to put his shoes on the wrong feet and insist on the pj's that used to fit. But when my "do not climb the rock" was followed by him scrambling up a boulder and grinning, I sternly lifted him down. Also scared him by stepping in an unseen hole so we both did face plants.
Like this look? He turned his cap backward the minute we entered Walmart. Um, does it say, "I'm almost 3 - don't mess with me!"?
Holy Mother of God. And I mean it in the most reverent way possible. Fact is, I had been praying for weeks about this formidable prospect. Asking God and my holy friends for guidance.
We would try 11 a.m. Mass. Maybe Little Cutie would have less energy then. Navy blue polo - check. Khakis - check. Purse loaded with all items per holy-friends-whose-kids-are-always-good-in-church - check.
As we approached the Marsh Drive church, the massive chimes began to peal. Little Cutie's eyes were like saucers. At the door, ushers greeted him with high fives. "Pray for us," I whispered.
I picked the perfect seat. On an aisle. We could see the altar. And make a quick exit.
Little Cutie promptly grabbed a massive hymnal. He did not, however, drop it on the floor. He sat back in the pew and placidly turned the pages. WHAT? Yep. God is good. Read on and believe.
Fear: Holy Water splashing anyone in range.
Actual: Little Cutie dipped fingers into Holy Water and let Grammy guide him making the Sign of the Cross.
Fear: The opening hymn (SIX verses?) interrupted by loud shouts of "I wanna go hooooommmmmmmme!!!"
Actual: Little Cutie stood on the kneeler, held the hymnal, and flirted briefly with the grandfatherly fellow behind us.
Actual: Sat quietly during the readings, and when they ended, said, "Amen."
Fear: At the collection, Little Cutie would (a) drop the coins on the floor, (b) stick them in someone's ear, or (c) refuse to let them go, "Nooooo, it's myyyyyyy money!"
Actual: Little Cutie placed his donation in the basket and smiled at the usher who ruffled his hair.
Fear: The walk to Communion might include (a) wiggling, shouting, and/or running, (b) grabbing the consecrated host from the Eucharistic Minister, and/or (c) loud objections to being blessed by same.
Actual: Little Cutie happily let me carry him, watched with big eyes as I received, and smiled angelically as the Eucharistic Minister signed the cross on his little forehead.
You may think I have totally lost it. I do not have photos (much as I wanted to pull out my cell phone and capture the moment, it was CHURCH, after all).
But somewhere in Pennsylvania is a witness. A woman who approached us after Mass, saying "I have never seen a little guy be so very good in church!" (To my shame, I replied, "Thank you. You have just witnessed a miracle.")
This is what a boy who was perfect in church looks like when he is headed home:
Mommy and Daddy had already arrived. When D3 realized we were just getting home from church, she said (in a voice that hinted at not really wanting to know), "How was he?"
"Perfect." I replied. "No child has ever behaved better in church than Little Cutie this morning."
"You're kidding, right? Just a little sarcasm, right?"
Maybe, as my oldest suggested, the law of averages finally fluked in my favor. After a lifetime of wigglers, screamers, moon shots, it was simply my turn for a perfect child.
But I choose to believe it was an answer to prayers. A once-in-a-lifetime joy.
In short, it was a miracle.
No photos needed. It is written on this Grammy's heart forever.
God bless you, Little Cutie! He has already blessed Grammy.
Oh - and I know - it was just this once!