We went to church this week. It was the first time in about 2 years. It’s not that we haven’t wanted to go, but my children just don’t want to cooperate. I know, I know—that’s what they have nursery and Sunday school for. But I find it slightly contradictory…drop your kids off at the Sunday school/child care rooms while they are crying their little hearts out for you so you can relax and focus on the sermon? Ummm, either I am just d-u-m or I haven’t mastered dropping off my heart as well. I guess I am just hoping that God will forgive my poor attendance record and accept my excuses or else He can help me out by making them more amenable to staying with Sunday school/child care church-going folks.
Hubs got a phone call which made us late. (We were already attending the late service at 11 am because Hubs is not a morning person. The rest of us are. Marlo was actually ready for Nap # 1 when we were leaving the house. That does not bode well for success.) Then we couldn’t find a parking space in the lot. We found one in the boondocks with a muddy marsh and a few puddle lakes around it making the hike an adventure in and of itself.
Then we discovered that we parked on the wrong end of the planet because they have completely moved the Sunday school rooms around from the last time we heathens attended. At the Sunday school check in the sign was posted that check in was closed. Lucky for us, the check in lady was feeling generous.
Joy (bless her little heart) actually decided that she does want to go to Sunday school. She was very matter of fact about the whole thing. We took her over to drop her off, did the whole security check thing, had to request a hug and a kiss from her, and she was off and running.
When we picked her up she was very bubbly about it. She had a good time. She would like to go back next week. Great—one down and one to go.
Hubs and Marlo and I went to “Big Church”. The family room was full. Of course. We had to go into the big (adult) auditorium. We found two seats—together, even. We sat down and started the whole snack, toy, cell phone, purse distraction tactic with Marlo. It worked for about 15 minutes. (It probably would have worked 15 minutes longer, but I decided that the few thousand people around us did not want to have a slobbery bag of Cheerios and gold fish passed along to them while they were trying to listen.) And so she was done. We had to pack up the whole snack, toy, cell phone, purse thing (mop up the slobber, brush away the crumbs) and relocate to the foyer. In the foyer they have TV screens showing the sermon. Marlo lasted about 10 minutes out there. All in all I think I heard about 5 minutes. (Not a very good return on my invested time…4 hours of preparation, packing, driving, etc.)
Next week my plan will be better laid out and hopefully better executed. We will go to the early service—before Marlo is ready for Nap #1. We will find parking closer than 2 miles away. We will find seats in the family room. We will bring Marlo a trunk of distractions, and better snacks. And if these don’t work, we might have to sit out another year or two—or find a baby-sitter for Marlo, but not at church because I don’t think my heart can handle the tears.
One of these years we will have 2 children who will allow us to sit through a service with minimal separation anxiety issues (on both of our parts). Right now it’s a split decision for whether or not we will be able to return: Marlo was just not feelin’ it (making it difficult for us to be there). Joy, on the other hand, told Gigi all about Sunday school and that she was excited to include it on her “list” of activities (ballet, pre-school, Sunday school). Gigi asked her what her teacher’s name was and Joy told her, “I don’t know, I forgot to ask--I was havin’ too much fun!”
I would love it if we could find a happy medium. Oh, little girls! (And again, I have the distinct feeling that this is payoff for my “little girl” antics of several decades ago.) Gigi loves to tell a church story from when I was about three. It goes something like this: Gigi dropped me off at the nursery and went to the sanctuary for the sermon. When she sat down she heard crying. Not just a child crying, but her child crying. And when it didn’t stop, she had to return to the nursery and sure enough, it was me. I have always had very healthy lungs. Anyway, when she asked me what was wrong I told her I couldn’t stay in the nursery because the nursery lady smelled like horse. The smell made me gag. Lots of things made me gag, and this was a big one. (The nursery lady had gone horse-back riding earlier that day.) So, after embarrassing her in the nursery, Gigi took me to church and told me to be quiet and behave myself. When we got there we saw that they were just about to start communion. In my best stage whisper I told my mom, “Oh, I’m so glad I came with you—we’re just in time for refreshments.” Everyone within earshot was amused—except for Gigi.
So maybe sitting out another year or two won’t hurt us. But if we do try to stick it out and attend regularly with a 15 month old, I am hoping that our fellow church-goers have a sense of humor. Maybe I’ll just have to pack a sense of humor for them--along with everything else Marlo is going to need to keep her there for more than 25 minutes at a time!
(By the way, I think God has a sense of humor. I can hear Him chuckling now.)
Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.