Monday, November 30, 2009

Family, Church, and the Grumpy Lady

Ahhh, family... A gift or a curse depending on who you're seated next to at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

This year was actually a pretty good Thanksgiving, all things considered. If I had a dollar for every person who asked me if we're going to have more children, I'd be rich. I even had a family member ask me if Matthew and Joshua were twins. Seriously? I guess I need to see you guys more often, huh?
One thing I've learned this year is that the perfect distance between me and my family seems to be about 1 hour, give or take a little. Georgia was just too far and living in town was just asking for trouble. But an hour away? It's just right. No unexpected visits, but close enough to get together as often as we want.

This little rule does not apply to my sister-in-law though. No, she can drop by anytime. Yesterday she arrived at my house in the morning only to discover me still in my pajamas trying to unpack in the basement. I had forgotten what day it was (Sunday?) and that we were going to church together. She was patient with me as I ran around grabbing the kids' clothes and trying to get everyone out the door. Jessie can always laugh at me and my chaotic mess of a life!
God knew what he was doing when he let me marry into Jason's (crazy) family. I never had a sister, but I've been so lucky to have a sister-in-law who is better than any sister I could have gotten. She loves my kids and she has an awesome husband and son. We just have so much fun together! This weekend I've been reminded that there was a reason we made the decision to move to this neighborhood. I hope we don't wear out our welcome here because I'd be so lonely without Jessie.

Our outing to church yesterday was an adventure, as always. We decided to visit Jessie's church and it's a big, old Baptist church in the historic part of town. I've always been a Methodist and was baptized in the same church where my children were baptized. I haven't visited the Methodist church in town and there's another new, contemporary church that we are going to check out. But yesterday we were running late since I didn't remember that it was Sunday. So off we went to the Baptist church.

I always grab a pew in the back when I'm at church with the kids. Because this was a new church for us, I didn't know where the nursery was, or if they even had one. The service was not crowded and there were really only a handful of families lining the pews. Of course someone was seated in the last pew but my brother-in-law is in a wheelchair so we needed to be in the back anyway. I quietly sat down with Matthew, Joshua, Leila, Sarah, and Ryan. Jessie and her family were in chairs behind the last pew, directly behind us. She held Nathan on her lap.

No sooner had we gotten seated, then I noticed I was getting dirty looks. The kids were well-behaved. There was the usual shuffling of papers as they colored in their bulletins and Ryan was babbling a bit at one point. Despite the fact that we were new to the church, nobody approached us and nobody mentioned that there was a nursery available. The grumpy lady continued to glare at us and I could tell that she was silently placing a hex on us. I considered nursing Ryan just to see if i could make her eyeballs pop out and her head spin around in circles.
Eventually I took the babies outside and finally an usher asked if we'd like to know where the nursery was located. Um, YES?! I did my best to quiet the voices in my head that were shouting about H1N1 and cooties and nurseries not being sanitary and what was I thinking! I felt a bit better when I saw that my children made up more than half of the total number of children in the room already. Les kids, less germs, right? Jessie and I dropped off the girls and the babies and headed back to the service where grumpy lady was still giving me the evil eye. I even heard her groan a few times. Seriously. After the service ended she practically ran out the back door.

When I picked the kids up from the nursery, Leila was curled up in a ball by the door. That was when the nursery worker told me that Leila had been there for the entire time we were gone. Sarah went off and played and the babies never even noticed I had left. But there was Leila, in the fetal position, writhing on the floor. She was so angry at me that she didn't even want to come with us. Despite her obvious disgust over being left in the nursery, now she didn't want to leave. I doused the kids in hand sanitizer and dragged Leila out into the hall where she stubbornly refused to walk with us and insisted on keeping a 10 foot distance between us. She threw a raging fit in the van until she found her blanket and covered her face quietly. Talk about antisocial.
Needless to say, we're trying a different church next week. Ideally I'd like to find one that is going to welcome this crazy, husband-less mama and her growing group of heathens. Is that too much to ask?

At least I have Jessie.
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