While they couldn't completely understand the outrage at their actions ("we were just trying to make bath crayons"--which I guess comes from an episode of Creative Galaxy), Meg was horrified by the fact she couldn't get the food dye off her hands and face. She initially refused to go to Mass, but we informed her there was no choice. She sat in the corner of the pew and buried her face so her friends wouldn't see her.
My panic attacks continued. The girls were tasked with cleaning the house and car as part of their punishment for getting out the food dye without permission. There was a great deal of yelling and crying from pretty much everybody in the house (perhaps only my husband managed not to cry). As the afternoon progressed, I told my husband, "I want to go to the Shrine." The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, aka the National Shrine, was having a Blessing of the Bambinelli (the Baby Jesus from the Nativity) and the Lighting of the Christmas Tree as part of their 4:30 pm Mass. Considering the emotional state of everyone, my husband thought I was crazy. I knew we all needed a restart and I thought this event might hold the key.
When we arrived we discovered the Blessing would take place after the Mass, so we decided to walk around the Shrine with the girls rather than try to have them sit through Mass. There are many beautiful chapels throughout the Shrine and the girls enjoy seeing them. As my husband played tour guide and the girls asked to see various chapels they remembered seeing previously, everyone's moods lifted. We headed back to the Upper Church near the end of Mass where I found a statue of St. Theresa of Lisieux. St. Theresa had faced her own anxiety issues and I asked her to pray for me. Right now, I could definitely use the prayers of someone in Heaven as well as the prayers of my many friends and family members praying for me on Earth.
It turned out the Blessing was to be held back downstairs, so we headed back down again. As the crowd gathered, everyone pulled out various Baby Jesus figurines. Some were large and elaborate. Some, like ours, were tiny. Monsignor Rossi prayed a blessing and the large Christmas tree outside the Crypt Church was lit. Holy Water was then sprinkled throughout the crowd of Baby Jesuses. I was grateful to feel that Holy Water hit me--a reminder of our baptism...and quite honestly, don't we need that reminder often.
As we left the National Shrine and enjoyed the numerous Christmas lights outside, I think we were all very glad we had experienced this change of scene. We had broken free of our dismal day and found a little hope.