We took off Sunday morning for Rochester, to meet up with Patrick at Steubenville North for the conference closing Mass. Max was pretty excited to see his uncle, even if it was only for a few hours. We entered the conference center and were greeted by a woman asking us if we had pre-registered for the Mass. Uhh...?? Apparently the way they do it in Rochester is that every person who enters the auditorium has to have a background check completed. Even for the closing Mass. News to us! I explained calmly (while I inwardly flipped out) that we had driven all the way from St. Paul to see Max's uncle from South Dakota for a very short time, and was there anything they could do?!
As we sorted through red tape, Patrick came out of the auditorium and called to Max. Max took off running, yelling "Uncle PEEEEEEJ!" and jumped into his arms. SO worth the hour-and-a-half drive and the administrative headache.
We waited (missing the gathering hymn and processional) while they printed guest badges for us and guided us to a section of the auditorium far removed from the high school conference attendees. Thankfully, Patrick was able to join us, and Max sat on his lap for most of Mass... until Patrick stole him away to go show him off to the rest of the Rapid City group. I watched across the auditorium as Max danced with his uncle and friends during the closing songs. When I went to retrieve him later, he pounded his fist in the air and sang "Tell the world that! Tell the world that!" all the way down the stairs. I think he enjoyed the conference music just a little bit.
We got a little more time with Uncle Peej and the others from Rapid City as they ate lunch and took a group picture, but it was time to say goodbye much too soon. I really do miss the days when these conferences were part of my job. I miss being a youth minister. I especially miss all the people. But I am doing exactly what God has called me to do at this point in my life, and that is to be a full-time mother to my children. It's not flashy, but it is my job now, and I am proud to be a stay-at-home mom.
It was great to see you this weekend, Patrick! We hope to see the rest of the family SOON!!