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This morning we were that family at Mass. You know the one. They come in late looking slightly disheveled with a couple of kids in tow and then cause minor disruption all the way through. The odd sharp admonishment to behave is heard in the spaces between the words from the altar, the ‘I won’t tell you again’ warning given and not followed… How often have I pitied, prayed for, slightly looked down on that family. As I did today.

It’s chaos week at our house. Our house which will not be ours anymore after 10:30 tomorrow morning. The past three days has seen an overseas shipping van turn up and cart of our boxed and labeled treasures and a string of vehicles pull up and drive away with everything else we have been carefully building into the fabric of our home. For the next three weeks we are displaced. We’ve built it up for the girls as a holiday, and once the dust has settled and the last remaining bits are scanned or filed or discarded we hope it may become one – I only know that the crux of it is now almost over and I pray our family will never have to endure something like it again.

Bella awoke this morning to see the sun rise over a field of black sheep across from her bedroom window. She is overjoyed to be staying on a farm for a few days before we take a farewell tour of friends and family. Somehow while fighting exhaustion – and I don’t think I’ve ever been so close to the real definition of exhaustion before, we have managed to get through with two very happy girls. Adventure and giggles rise where tired heads were soothed to bed. Soothing outside while pleading for grace to hold my tongue and temper and send them to sleep, conscious that their whole world is in the midst of turning upside down. We need to surface as a family.

In the midst of all this change and upheaval we are trying to look after each other. All the work is being done out of Bella’s sight so she doesn’t have to bear walking into the empty shell of her home. Tonight I am resting at the farm with my sleeping girls while their father will sweep and scrub into the night.

He takes such good care of his girls. Last Sunday I watched him light candles with Bella and follow her into the side chapel – her small silhouette chattering to Jesus while his knelt and prayed a few paces behind. I almost ached for a camera to record the scene so I could revisit it with my eyes as well as my memory. One of the most beautiful I have ever witnessed. Today he led his tired and stretched family to Mass, trying to be present while we lost the battle for decorum and reverence in our children. He then took my hand and took us to lunch, insisting that although we could not take the whole day off, we were going to have a Sunday.

Today simply getting us through was all I could manage. I’ll think again and pray harder next time I see one of those families. Perhaps they are only having on of those days.

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