It”s 10:57 a.m., there I am in the 2 year old room at church. In a paltry effort to connect with this community, I let the gregarious director rope me into a once a month (or is it twice a month?) babysitting gig.
When my son was a baby I appreciated real women, not just a group of teenagers checking their phones and plopping my son in an exer-saucer, engaging with my son. Church has never been a consistent thing for me. But there were times when I felt compelled to go. There were times, especially in my marriage I was trying to do whatever I could to petition for help, guidance, softening of hearts, wise-ing up, shoring up…so that a family born on extremely rocky, shaky foundation might be put right. Healed. Lifted above the ugliness. I went for hope.
And I based my selection of church on who was watching my son and how.
Still, even with quality, experienced, loving ladies at the ready, my son, not one to have separation issues, hated being separated at church. Eventually we stopped going. Besides, I hadn’t seen any hope yet. Of course now I know I was asking and hoping for the wrong stuff.
Anyway, now it was my turn to be that woman another woman was relieved to see manning (or “wo-manning” haha!) the nursery.
Of course I’m displacing, transferring, whatEVER. Maybe not one of those moms today is as fragile and neurotic as I was (was?).
I did not want to go today. I did not want to stay. The last time, which was the first time, I was relieved of duty because of ratio – not enough kids per volunteers – and she knew I hadn’t been to service that day. It almost looked like a repeat and then a flurry of late cuteness flooded in, one after the other.
Later, my husband peeks in. He’s waving and mouthing that he’s taking off for home, Our kids are good, tucked away in their Sunday school classes.
Of course, not true I find out later. My son still has ongoing complaints about his groups and he’s in second grade now. What? Is the teeny bit of Dutch-Jew in him cellularly, spiritually rebelling?. Truth is he’s very at home with me in the adult service. He says its more peaceful. If you knew my son, the irony would not only NOT be lost, it’d look like a big fat pot and kettle pointing fingers at each other.
The best is, the woman who’s done this gig at least a few more times than me, knows the kids names and where the Cherrios are, gets called to another room and they tell me and the other new mom to just read and follow the itinerary.
It is in black font on very dark purple paper.
It is FOUR pages long, top to bottom.
SOME of the activities include: circle time, snack time, bean bag toss, lesson (yes, lesson – as in story time), Q & A time, music and dancing time, passing out and holding “baby” bibles (teeny New Testament tomes that with my readers on I couldn’t read), prayer time, affirmation time, another Q & A, you get the feel yeah?
Service is an hour. These are TWO year olds. And the church is a GOOD church. Lots of colors, clean, complete toys in a spacious, light filled room. I’m sorry but for the bunch we had today…
…Jesus did NOT trump dinosaurs this day.
I’m on a mini plastic chair when my husband peeks in and he’s trying hard not to laugh. I glance at him only long enough to get his message because if I retain eye contact I will lose it.
If you knew me, you’d cry “WHA-WHAT?”, “FRAUD!”, “PHONY!”, and “WHO ARE TRYING TO IMPRESS?”. You would know what a tremendous STRRRRETCH it is for me to be a woman volunteering at her church.
If you knew me you’d say, “I KNOW you love babies and Jesus, but this isn’t you!”
And it’s not. And it is. Maybe.
Ok, I don’t bake. I don’t cook enough. I yell too much. I’m too concerned with my sex appeal, still, even at this advanced age. I have done most things, some repeatedly, that would warrant shunning in most circles.
Luckily I’ve found a group of friends who have done those things too.
Luckily Jesus loves me anyway. The more I understand this it seems like the better I behave. Of course I am slow to understand 😉
I don’t know if I’ll see any of those mothers again. I had to leave with my kids to meet another family for a play date and the sermon was running over. The moms didn’t know me. We didn’t introduce ourselves. No one said thank you.
My presence and service was expected, in a confident, reassuring way, to be sure not at all entitled or rude.
I was just a friendly, forgettable, trustworthy-by-association-face.
And that suited me and my blog just fine.