Churchtime Fun

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It’s 10:58. We’re running toward the chapel doors. My four-year-old leads the way to the left side of the room where we normally sit. I pull my 2-year-old along as he races to keep up. “My pants,the 2-year-old yells. I turn around to see his slightly too big black dress pants around his knees. I turn forward again and see the four-year-old booking it to the front of the chapel. A nearby sister helps shove my son’s pants up and I race to the front of the room and sink down next to my oldest — on the front row. I look up to the stand and catch my husband’s eye. All he can do is smile.

All in a Sabbath day’s worship.

Sunday mornings are crazy at our house. My husband has meetings so I am left alone to get the kids and myself ready for church. How I am supposed to have a spiritual experience after yelling at my children to get out the door is beyond me.

I don’t know how we do it, but most of the time we get to the church in one piece — we’re not early by any means — but we manage to plop onto a pew relatively close to our meeting’s start time. We bring with us a church-time circus that I am sure is not only disruptive but highly entertaining for all.

Half of the time I sit down and glance at my Sunday best and find I’ve spilled toothpaste, cover-up or breakfast down my dress. One Sunday I splashed butter all the way down my skirt and leg while rushing to get rolls ready before church. I spent the first five minutes of sacrament trying to wipe away and camouflage the long grease stain that ran down my side.

Most Sundays I spend a majority of the meeting drawing pictures at my 4-year-old’s command only to erase them and try again, because to him they don’t look like what he requested.

Then there’s the 2-year-old’s drama. He refuses to go to the bathroom before we leave our house but something about Sacrament brings it out of him. Many times he’ll scream, “I need to go potty,” during a quiet part of the meeting and I rush him to the nursery toilet — sometimes twice.

I’ve given up on singing hymns. At most I get through three measures before my children either need me for something or slam the book in my face. If I’m lucky, the chorister will choose a song I have memorized and I can sing off and on while I do other things.

I pack three hours worth of treats and activities in an oversized beach bag “just in case.” In case one of the boys burns through the games, paper or goldfish I have packed and I’ll have to dig down deeper to find something that will pique his interest and buy me a few more minutes of reverence.

I spent hours making quiet books (see slideshow above) for Christmas hoping they would help. I’ve affectionately nicknamed those books the “not-so-quiet books.” When the boys play with them, they fight over the pages and pieces — even though they each have their own identical books. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even feel bad if they don’t want to get the books out.

By the time the meeting is over we have left a trail of destruction all across our bench. I swear if the kind old man who brings treats for my boys each week gives them Nerds one more time I am going to flip.

Normally I can’t wait until the closing prayer. Then I can set them lose to find their dad while I clean up our whirlwind of devastation.

Why do I put myself through all of this? Why do I sit nervously in a quiet chapel worrying about my child’s next outburst? Why do I get out of bed early each Sunday morning so I can start getting ready for a stress-filled sacrament?

I do it because the Lord has given me everything. My meager three-hour Sunday worship is only a small way I can show my gratitude.

I do it to show my two crazy boys that my religion is vital to my happiness on Earth. And even if I hear less than 5 percent of what the speakers say, I am following my heart by dedicating myself to my worship.

It’s not easy taking my boys to church alone and I am sure I will complain about it at least a few more times before my life is through.  But if I don’t start taking my children now, how will they learn reverence and respect for a Heavenly Father who gives them everything?

Thank heavens for good friends and neighbors who let me sit by them and help me entertain my irreverent monkeys. Because no matter how crazy our church-time circus becomes, I will continue to go each week. Heaven help me find the patience to survive.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Michelle Smith
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 15:28:26

    Natalie, I think you are a great, amazing mom. Every post is written so well. Keep on setting that example…tutu inspire me!

    Reply

  2. Doris
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 17:25:00

    I remember those days oh so well. You are an awesome mom and know the right way to teach, although they may be crazy now, they will remember and know of your dedication to the Lord! Plus the Lord also knows and will bless you!

    Reply

  3. Jessica N Busby
    Jul 22, 2011 @ 16:41:20

    Okay, that quiet book is adorable, even if it doesn’t contribute to the reverence. Where did you find the patterns? Or did you make them up?

    Reply

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