Sunday, March 3, 2013

Just Another Manic Sunday

X, recharging after church.

I wrote this last week, February 24th, after an especially frustrating day of church.  After talking with another mom in the foyer today I decided to post it.

I find myself in the church foyer once again where an impromptu first-hour nursery is being held without walls or doors to contain the unruly toddlers.  Other mothers and even fathers stand there with me, creating imaginary walls with their bodies in a pointless attempt to keep the little monkeys where we want them.  There is a speaker overhead, piping out the words that are being spoken from the pulpit.  I want to listen but I never hear more than half a sentence at a time because my two littlest boys are demanding my attention as they maneuver through the obstacle course of strollers, sippy cups, smashed goldfish crackers and discarded toys.

X escapes from the crowd and bolts down the hallway maze which leads to the stage at the back of the gym, his favorite place to play on Sunday afternoons.  Why?  Because the acoustics there are awesome.  He can run, stomp, laugh and yell and it sounds five times as loud as anywhere else.  I make the decision to leave Little O and make a run for X.

This is what he wants.  It is all part of the game.  If I don't come after him he knows he has that whole stage to himself to perform the perfect disturb-all-classes-currently-in-progress show.  If I do come after him, we run.  In his 2-year-old mind his escape creates a win-win situation.

I finally catch up to him as he is halfway across the stage, screaming with delight at the chase gets closer.  I scoop him up into my arms and plead with a silent no-no as I make my way back to the foyer circus.  Little O is sitting happily in someone's stroller, munching on stray cheerios he has found in its hidden folds.  I remove him from the stroller, remind him that he's too big for such things, and set X down again because he is intentionally twisting his body into positions that make him difficult to hold.

They both make their way to the drinking fountain and fight over who gets to stand on the step stool there.  X wins and pushes his tummy out as far as he can then bounces himself against the bar that activates the water.  On.  Off.  On.  Off.  On.  Off.  Little jets of water shoot out of the faucet and he is delighted by the water show he has created.  Little O distracts me with the news that he needs to go to the bathroom (again) and X remembers that the faucet on this fountain is broken and can be turned around to attempt to squirt the water into the trash can on the floor.  Bounce, bounce.  Off.  On.  Off.  On.

I lift X up and attempt to wipe some of the wetness from the front of his sweater.  I look around to see if anyone has noticed that most of the water from the skewed fountain landed in a puddle just shy of the trash can but I'm pretty sure we're in the clear.  I can blot it up after the (fourth) trip to the bathroom.  I grab Little O's hand and as we walk in he reminds me, as he always does, that he is a boy and this is a girl's bathroom.  We make our way into the stall and X immediately shimmies under the door to play on the chairs in the adjacent mothers room as I'm helping Little O get situated on the elevated toilet seat.  I tell him to hurry, worried that there are actual mothers in the mothers room trying to get their infant children to sleep.

Little O makes his usual loud request of MOMWIPEMYPOOPI'MDONEGOINGPOOOOOOOP! and I quickly get him all buttoned and zipped then rush into the mothers room to find X banging one of the rocking chairs against the wall as he laughs maniacally.  I apologize to the unfamiliar nursing mother and make my way back to the foyer where the second speaker is just beginning to share some thoughts.

I have some thoughts of my own.  The ones I try to suppress, but they always seem to return every week.  Why do I even come to church?  I could tend these two at home and it would be so much easier!  And then I remind myself that I come to church because it's where I'm supposed to be and that my boys are learning that it is where they are supposed to be, too.  I repeat it over and over in my mind but the other thoughts always threaten to come out victorious.

For some reason I am having an especially difficult time today.  I can feel the tears making their way through me from my heart to my throat and I try to keep them there so they don't work their way to my eyes.  And this is when it happens.

My 2-year-old stops wiggling.  He grabs my face with his little pudgy hands and stares me down, his forehead resting against mine.  Then somehow as I'm looking into those beautiful brownish-hazel eyes our souls are communicating.  I am not sure how else to describe it.  In that moment his eyes reminded me of a thousand different moments with each of my other kids, moments of frustration and struggle that eventually became contentment and relief and joy.  I remembered that he is my last baby and that I want to enjoy every moment.  I remembered my desire to smile, to laugh.  To find the good in the bad.

Just as these feelings of peace are washing over me X leans back and contorts his body so I'll put him down.  I oblige, as I always do, but not before he slams the back of his head into my chest.  Little O has acquired some cars from another child and is making zooming sounds as he races them across the backs of the furniture in the foyer.  X rips a car out of Little O's hand and amid screams of HEY GIVE IT BACK HE STOLE MY CAR X chucks it at the door to a Bishop's office down a tiny hallway while somehow running to retrieve it at the same time.  I sigh.

I'm here because I'm supposed to be, I remind myself.  But somehow, this time I believe it.


Blogful said...

EVERY mormon mom has felt that way. I am sooo relieved to hear that even a super amazing mom of ten awesome kids feels that way too. Continue in faith. You are being blessed for it. Every mom has been in your shoes and understands...or will shortly.

KS Photography said...


Anaise said...

I spent so many hours wondering the very same thing . . . but I always come to the same conclusion in the end. :)

Rachel said...

I was thinking about those days the other day. The Sunday after Sunday after Sunday where I felt wooden. I didn't feel a thing. I was going through the motions. Why was I there? What was the point? I couldn't hear/feel anything... and then I remembered my mother telling me years before that when you're a mother, you don't go to church for you. You go for your children. Someday it will be for us mothers again but for now, we're teaching our children.

As I sat there thinking about that this past Sunday, I wondered how many mothers were feeling those same things I had for years. I wanted to stand up and tell them, "Hang in there mommies, hang in there. You're doing the right thing. Hang in there......."

Hang in there Gerb. You're doing the right thing. Hang in there. :D

A Lark said...

Sounds like you need to find a single sister or two to hang out with at church... I would do it if I was in your ward. All those crazy things your kids do would be adorable and novel to me! I LOVE being distracted by kids sometimes at church. But I can see how I wouldn't if it happened every week....

Anonymous said...

And someday you are going to have a hard time sitting straight through 3 hours of church without squirming because it will have been so long since you've done it. And you'll have to train yourself to sit still. No lie.
Kathy V.

Karin said...

Amen and amen. I hear you. Your post made me think of this experience I had.
And thank you so much for visiting my blog. Your words brightened my day!

Annette said...

One is hard enough- but 2? I don't know how you stay sane!
Hey- I have kind of a kid backpack/leash that you could use for x if you want. He could be "free" while still not going far. Just pull it over his shirt during Sacrament, put away after. :)

Petersons Blog Spot said...

I feel for you. Nice that you could catch that little glimpse before it was gone.