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This week, we had a lousy Sunday. I mean, we struggled to get to Mass on time. (Like pulled into the parking lot and the clock says 9:06). So I can either haul everyone into Mass and be ten minutes late (NOT what I want to do), or schlep to another parish for Mass within 20 minutes, or figure out how to kill two hours until the next parish Mass. We went with the second option, but the day continued along a similar vein, with the ill temper of inconvenience, (not having shopped yet for the week and trying to make breakfast), of homework that required a trip to the same place where we'd been before but didn't go to Mass, and fatigue from everything being so difficult, plagued. It nipped at us all day long to the point of wearing my spirit down by the end of the day.

Monday, I sought to reassert my normal temperament. Or I did until I looked downstairs and discovered every bin of toys dumped. Believe me, I wanted to fume until the kids got home, fume at them all afternoon, and fume staring at them until every last Lego, stuffed animal and Barbie got picked up. Except I knew such ranting wouldn't get me either happy kids or a clean basement.

After calming down, calling my husband, and reading about a friend who was suffering in as profound a way as I was the mundane, I'd opted to try and make cleaning up the basement a prayer, though I privately worried I'd get right back to ranting once I got into the thick of it or grew tired. Then I got a call to come pick up my 18-year-old; she'd dropped a 25-pound weight on her little toe. Everything fell away as I loaded up the five-year-old and got myself over to the school. I dropped everyone else back at the home and took her to get x-rays.

Mercifully, no, miraculously, nothing was even fractured. Advil, ice, rest, go home. Exhaling, I now thought about the rest of the day. Dinner would be a hassle, as I'd missed my normal window for cooking. The basement loomed. I tried to refocus myself grateful, be grateful, thank God we don't need a boot or orthopedic surgery. Be grateful. Be grateful. Be grateful.

I walked into the house to be greeted by my three youngest girls, the 10-year-old, 8 1/2-year old and the 5-year-old. "We have a surprise for you!" I admit, I wasn't in the mood, but their beaming faces said, "Listen" and mercifully, no, miraculously, I did. They led me to the basement. They'd picked it up. All of it.   It looked...beautiful. My heart sang because I couldn't believe this; no one had told them "Clean it up." They'd taken it on themselves.

"Can we have McDonald's?" they asked.

"Yes. Yes, we can."

And I am very, very grateful, God, to be these kids' mom.

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Copyright 2016 Sherry Antonetti