For starters, we go to church on Sunday. EVERY Sunday. We're as reliable as the US Postal Service; we show up in rain or shine, showered or unshowered, with sick kids, cranky kids, and sometimes need a spanky kids. And no matter how early our day starts, we always show up about fifteen minutes late. Now that Liam can tell time, I'm pretty sure he thinks we attend the 10:45 mass when in fact, the rest of the congregation dutifully arrives at 10:30.
Now, as you might imagine, there is nothing subtle about our arrival at church -- or anywhere else, for that matter! When the triplets were babies, we would walk to church because it was easier than getting all five kids in and out of the car. Our entry procession included two strollers - a standard issue double for Liam and Ciara and a front to back triple as long as a Cadillac for Kevin, Declan and Cormac. Today, as Liam and Ciara bolt down the aisle and the triplets toddle behind them, our entry is less impressive but far more vocal. "I see Jesus! I see Jesus! I see Jesus!" the triplets can't help but announce, sometimes adding additional commentary like "Why he has no shoes on?"
Thankfully, our priest and our parish are both friendly and forgiving. Our tardiness isn't looked down upon and we seem to get a fair amount of credit and goodwill for simply showing up, no matter how late we may be. Given the antics that accompany our arrival, it's a wonder they don't just lock the door at 10:44. They continue to welcome the Lyons Family Circus and we continue to show up. And, we continue to sit in the first pew since no one else ever does and it's typically the only spot left. From this spot, there have been a handful of standout moments from our weekly 45 minutes of religious obligation and observation:
- Cormac following the guy with the collection basket, taking a $20 and running for the door. Hey, charity starts at home, right?
- A lady who told me that "my kids just LOVE watching your family at church; it's better than reality TV!"
- The day an elderly woman who had kindly settled down a distraught Declan suddenly dropped him back in my lap with a curt "I think he has a present for you," as the stench from his diaper nearly knocked us out.
- The time that Kevin ran to the altar to check out the Nativity scene but left his pants behind. Turns out that I shouldn't have ignored him when he said "pants too big Mama!"
- Advent. All of it. Between the Nativity scene and Toys for Tots collection, our kids provided a lot of comic relief... which, granted, isn't why most folks go to church but it never hurts to have a good laugh, right? Some highlights were the attempted removal of toys from the altar, failed attempts to "wake up" the Baby Jesus and the near demise of one of the wise men (courtesy of a wobbly triplet).