I sometimes recite this quote for myself on Sunday mornings. Sundays are hard, at least for this mother of two young kids. Occasionally on a Sunday morning, things fall into place, but usually there is an ill-timed dirty diaper, a tantrum over getting out of bed in time to make it to Bible class, an infant who decides Sunday morning is an opportune time to switch up his nursing schedule, or waits until I've changed him into his Sunday best to regurgitate breast milk, everywhere, which usually necessitates an outfit change for both of us.
At present, with a two-(nearly three!)-year-old who adores her nine-thirty Bible class & a nursing infant whose one love in life is to breastfeed, Trey & I often have to tag team to ensure Reagan makes it to class & Henry & I make it to the building by the time service begins at ten-thirty. I think there was one Sunday morning the four of us made it to church in one car; Trey escorted Reagan to her class while I raced to the room for nursing mothers, where I spend much of my time at church these days, cloistered away, nursing my son, or attempting to get him to fall asleep.
For those of you who've never had to rouse, feed, groom, & dress small children in the hopes of arriving somewhere on time, with everyone dressed presentably & everything you might possibly need while you're away from home packed neatly in the six bags required for all the stuff, let me tell you, it's a tiring ordeal (even if you've had a full night's sleep . . . I know, hahaha). It's not simply a matter of planning & making sure I'm up early; all the planning in the world can't compensate for the surprises your children often have in store for you, surprises they wait to spring on you when there is somewhere you're attempting to arrive by a specified time. Have you ever attempted to put hosiery on a small, uncooperative person who thinks it's imperative that she watch an episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood before changing her clothes? It should be an Olympic sport; I would certainly medal.
When I was in my teens & twenties, I was late for church more times than I care to admit. I look back now & wonder how I could have managed my time so poorly; I am ashamed for my former self. If you're reading & once shot me a glance, perhaps laced with judgment, as I slipped into the pew after services began, well, I deserved it. My current & former selves thank you for your subtle attempt to shame me. Please do understand that if you give me a look now if I straggle in late, a baby on my hip & spit up that I'm unaware of in my hair, things might get ugly, & I'm not just talking about my hair.
I've had more than one moment over the last few years - - sitting alone, nursing, exhausted, absent from the worship service, my Sunday clothes spotted with spit up - - when I've asked myself why I do it. After all, I can sit alone & nurse at home, in my pajamas, & maybe sleep a little later. I'm currently remembering having these thoughts while nursing Reagan, only this time, as I tend to Henry, I have an ever-present, thirty pound reminder of why I do it. In three short years Reagan grew from a helpless infant who cared only that she was warm & fed to a bouncing little girl who loves to go to Bible class. Not once has she cried when I left her in class; the only tears came one Sunday morning when she didn't want to leave.
Let me tell you a quick story. Last night I saw an old friend. She's in town because her grandfather passed away, & I saw her at his visitation. When I was young, I spent a lot of time with her; our families were friends & I was in their home often. She had an older sister, & then one day, she had a younger sister. I was young, maybe four, when her second sister arrived, but even at a tender age I knew there was something atypical about the arrival of her younger sister. There was a sense of sadness that I didn't quite understand at the time. What I would come to learn was that my friend's aunt & uncle had been killed in an automobile accident, an accident their young daughter survived. I never knew him, her uncle, but his name was Darrin. When I heard of her grandfather's passing, the first thought I had was of Darrin, a man I never knew, who died young, & who was recently reunited with his dad in Heaven. What a celebration that must be.
I started typing this blog a week or so ago after a particularly trying Sunday morning & have dabbled around as time permitted, but I never felt I was quite done with it, until now. Darrin's story reminded me why I don't give in to the temptation to do nothing on Sunday morning; I want the sweet reunion Darrin & his father recently shared to be mine one day. I don't know what the future holds for my children, but I do know that, unless we're alive when the Lord returns, we will be separated by death, & it's my intent to make sure that is only a temporary separation.
I know that soon my nursery days will be behind me & I'll be swatting at my kids in service & telling them to be quiet. For now, I try to relax & enjoy the alone time Henry & I share during services.
I'll end with a portrait series of me & Henry I call, "Selfies in the Nursery."
I don't like to be bossy (somewhere, Trey's head just snapped up), but take your kids to church even when it's difficult. Darrin's dad did, & that decision, made over & over & over again on Sunday mornings when everyone was tired & nothing went as planned, is one that I am certain Darrin's dad does not regret today as he worships the Father alongside the son he hadn't seen for over two decades.