were the increasingly loud whispers that (to my horror) were coming out of the mouth of my little angel…..in church. My almost 3 year old had seen enough, heard enough and was getting restless. Can’t say that I blame him and I really don’t expect his undivided attention to last for so long, but there were certain rules to Sunday Service that he and I had come to understand. Tapping my leg and ignoring my wide-eyed-lifted-eyebrow-teeth-bared-tight-lipped stare…was a violation of our agreement.
He could quietly color in his Sunday Book, draw on his tablet, reconfigure his Power Rangers…. shoot he could build a house if he was quite. For his quietness (even though I didn’t believe in food in the sanctuary, I would reward him with an occasional fruit snack or two. All of these were steps I took to keep my rambunctious toddler calm at least long enough to be able to hear what the Pastor was preaching. Occasionally if it got to be too much or he just need to expend energy, I would take him outside to just…run. If he was just being rebellious, I would take him out of the sanctuary and scold him.
This particular Sunday he was really trying me. Keep in mind that he was what I call a church baby (which didn’t help). A church baby is one that many of the members remember when he was born, so in their eyes, he could do no wrong or to keep him from ‘getting in trouble’ they would come to his rescue. I leaned over and whispered…..”Stop being so loud, you know how to be quiet like a big boy. We have a few more minutes and then we’ll be leaving, let’s be quiet while the pastor is speaking…now tell me what I said.” My wide eyed son (who loved hearing the phrase ‘big boy”) loud whispered in my hear we have a few minutes and Pastor will be finished and we can go and I’m a big boy”—-close enough. I smile lovingly at my little cherub and turn to the passage in the bible the Pastor just instructed the church to turn to.
In a blink, I looked up from the pages of God’s word and this angel, this cherub, the sweet face of preciousness that had just breathely whispered clear understanding of the next few minutes in my ear…..was three rows in front of me. Facing me in the pew and smiling. I crooked my finger and snarled my lips as I silently said ‘get BACK here!”. He smiled as if I just told him the funniest thing and disappeared UNDER THE PEW. Two more rows in front of me and the smile as if he found a new game that I was enjoying as much as he was.
I am MORTIFIED and now trying to think of a way to get him back in his seat without creating a scene. It can’t be helped, his taunting is driving me nuts and I’m worried about him hitting his head or getting hurt from an open nail under the pews, and Lord I don’t want him bothering anyone else while they are trying to enjoy the service. What’s worse is he doesn’t have too many rows left before he will be in the front row with his knees in the pew making faces at me.
It can’t be avoided….I have to do it. I have tried every facial expression, seen the gentle smiles of the church family as they look back at me and try to herd him in my direction….I’m going to have to get out of my seat and walk all the way down there and get him. I get up and frantically ‘scooze-me-parton-me…part-me-scooze me…my way across the pew to the outer aisle. There is no way for me to be invisible so let me just hurry up and get this over with. I get up to the row where he is and the smile melts from his face as he realizes the jig is up, game over, Mommy’s not happy. I usher him up the aisle as quickly as I can, his little feet running on air…and just as we get to the back door of the sanctuary he yells out ‘ SOMEBODY SHAVE ME!” (translation–somebody save me!) The congregation and my patient Pastor laughed as I wanted the earth to swallow me whole, so much for NOT being disruptive in service.
Kids will embarrass you every time.
That memory came to mind as I’m watching my son saunter through the door of his job looking serious (and almost manly) I giggled remembering that Sunday service and how I wished that he would just sit down somewhere. How he was my baby boy. Don’t get me wrong, he can be 1,000 years old, he will always be my baby boy but the fresh faced, innocent, energetic, forever curious, round faced little boy that I was looking for isn’t there, he grew up. He grew into this 6 ft., 200lb. chisel-faced, opinionated being that is now working and making his own life plans. I’ll let him go under a few pews, get a little bit ahead of me, even bump that head a few times but no matter what, I will be right there to usher him back whenever he needs me as I watch him grow from under my brim.