It was our Spring 2014 work weekend. Everyone helped. Well, not the twins. They either slept inside, or hung out in their little shade tent outside, or let's be honest, were carried by either me or Ben. A huge pile of mulch, dumped on the driveway, needed to be carried to all of the flower beds and spread. We are once again trying to plant grass in our backyard, which seems resigned to remain in its perennial state of being a mud pit. Every year we plant seeds, full of hope, and every year they fail. Five years and counting. This weekend we integrated top soil, put down fertilizer, raked it in, even have straw to spread on top. This is our year for grass, I can feel it in my bones. Lush, thick grass. Mark my words.
I took the big kids to church with me on Sunday while Ben stayed home with sleeping babies. Being at church together is the sweetest thing, because the big kids are just thrilled to snuggle up in my lap without a single baby vying for my attention. Soaking it in, such sweet kiddos. Midway through the homily about Lazarus being raised from the dead, there is a shout from the congregation. "Call 911!" Everything stops. A man has collapsed. Is there a doctor in the congregation? Yes, a few men rush over to the collapsed man. Is his heart beating? Is he breathing? His adult daughter is shouting and crying. Many people are crying. They are performing cpr. We are three rows away from him, and his body is limp. The kids and I are huddled together, praying. A woman raises her hands and starts praying a Hail Mary, and we join. The moments drag on. I am thinking of ways to explain to my children that we have just watched a man die. The ambulance arrives, and we are asked to stay in our seats, to make space for the responders. Hugo, meanwhile, is loudly telling me that he needs to get onto the ambulance because, "I have owie, mama! I have owie!" (ah, life with little kids! What would I do without this comic relief?)
There are many people standing around him, and we can't really see what is happening. We wait to see him lifted from the pew, nervous to look, and yet unable to pull our eyes away. They are lifting him. We are about to see him. We are about to see him. And there he is. Only, wait! He is walking. Walking himself to the gurney. Totally, completely alive. Everyone is stunned. You would think that the congregation would burst into applause or something, but we just sat there, totally silent (I think this is where you know we are Catholic. Can you imagine this happening at a Pentecostal church? I get excited just imagining it). Our priest, who had been at the back, waits a moment to see that everything is okay, and then walks back to the front. "Wake up, Lazarus!" he proclaims. Indeed. Risen from the dead before our very eyes. I will never forget it.
And oh, these babies. Such smiley, good natured little things. And they talk! They just love to chatter and I don't think we've ever had babies that talk quite this way. In whole baby sentences and paragraphs, I would say. I hold them so close and nibble their chubby dimpled cheeks and say thankyouthankyouthankyou thousands of times every single day. There is not a moment in their presence that is not awash in gratitude. I will never forget that miracle, either.