Last Sunday was a little worse than what is typical. Allen had some meetings that prevented him from attending our meetings with us so I was left alone to wrangle the youngest kids.
About 10 minutes into the meeting Little O started his squirming which then became whining which developed into full-fledged You-Better-Get-Me-Out-Of-Here-NOW-Or-The-Whole-Congregation's-Gonna-Be-Sorry.
I grabbed Little O in one arm, the diaper bag and bottle in the other, and headed for the foyer. When I got there I realized that Hubba and Curly had followed me out as well. Curly wanted me to help her color a picture. Hubba wanted to pretend he was a train headed into a volcano that was ready to shoot hot lava UP TO THE SKY! Little O wanted to run. I wanted to die.
I looked back into the chapel to get some reinforcements (aka The Teenagers) but realized that they were all heading up to the front to participate in a Christmas musical number. All-a-Boy sat on the edge of the bench, reading something, while Princess and Cowgirl tried desperately to annoy each other. I let out an exasperated sigh. What could I do from the foyer with a wiggly, screaming little boy?
I was lucky to have a friend who was happy to have Curly sit with her. This left me with the two rowdy boys and a whole hour yet to keep them un-rowdy. Hubba kept trying to jerk away from my grip and get closer to the gym where he wanted to run for the remainder of the meeting while Little O bashed his head back against my face and chest hoping I would let him down. I was trying not to cry as I stood there feeling helpless and I offered a silent prayer in my head.
Please, Heavenly Father, I pleaded, I am trying to do what's right. I want my kids to know that church is the right place to be today. I don't want to let them run around but I don't know what to do. Please, help me to make it through this meeting without breaking down. Help me to do what is right. Help me not to cry in front of people.
I stood for a few moments longer, wrestling with my boys, and just when I was nearing a point beyond frustration, help came.
I like to think that my Heavenly Father has a sense of humor, because the help I sought came in the most unexpected and unlikely way...
It was a cat.
She came out of nowhere and started pawing at the doors to the church, meowing and jumping about. Hubba noticed her first and dragged me to the doors. "Awww, mom, that cay-at is so cold outside and it is so warm in he-yer. She just wants to come get warm for a minute. Can't we let her in? She just wants to he-yer the people singing..." After I explained that cats do not come inside churches he and Little O were content to stand near the door and just watch her.
She would strut from one end of the doors to the other, occasionally stopping to stretch or roll or pounce at a stray leaf and they were mesmerized.
That cat silently entertained my boys for the rest of the meeting. Then just as the congregation began to sing the closing song, she turned and left.
Some may say it is a coincidence that the cat showed up when she did, but I see things differently. Coincidence or not, that cat was an answer to my prayer. It was evidence to me that my prayers are heard and that my Heavenly Father will not leave me alone when I am frustrated and upset and at my wit's end.
Yes, a cat, of all things, was evidence of my Savior's love for and understanding of me.
And I was so very thankful.