Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cruel World

The supply of Wagner’s cinnamon swirl bread has finally run its course. This morning Sam asked for cinnamon toast and was greatly disappointed with what that request produced: Regular old cinnamon toast. I knew he was already having a rough morning because I overheard Kenny tell him, “You’re not an evil genius.” He argued the point until Kenny conceded, “Well, you’re not a genius.” Then on the topic of intelligence they all began to discuss the possibility of being held back in church classes like a person could be held back in school. How do they know about that? Are people even held back anymore?

Even the casual observer could tell we hadn’t been to church in three weeks. Michael Jr. outgrew his pants. Sam climbed into his bunk bed and said it wasn’t fair we have to go to church 700 days a week. Josh threw a screaming fit when it was time to leave.


We walked in late and scored back row folding chair seats, mine directly in line with the pulpit. Great. It’s Fast and Testimony Sunday and I had a great view. Now a word about this day. For those who aren’t members of my faith, we set aside a Sunday once a month to fast for two meals and then, ideally, we donate the approximate cost of those two meals (or more) to help feed those in need. We don’t ask our children under the age of eight to fast and even then it’s up to them (at least at our house). During our church program, the majority of the time is set aside for the bearing of testimonies. Theoretically, this would be a brief statement of one’s belief in our Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, the Plan of Salvation, The Book of Mormon, the Bible, that sort of thing. It’s nice. There are tears here and there and the more people that get a chance to say a few words, the better.

But it doesn’t always go that way.

Sometimes it’s used as an opportunity to give an unassigned talk on an unassignable topic. When a person walks up to the pulpit with an armful of scriptures, you know what you’re in for. It’s times like these, when the eyes of the congregants swirl with incomprehension like so many starlight candies that I’m ever so glad I’m not in charge. There is no cruel Gong Show hook to pull people off stage or a threatening trap door under the pulpit. No easy way to say, “Moving right along . . .”

Today was Josh’s first day in a real Sunday school class (we call it Primary). No more Nursery. I’d been asked to sit in with the class to help out and I thought it might be fun.

It wasn’t.

Josh was very disappointed to leave behind the toys and fun of Nursery. I should have known; he was our only child who really liked it. It was a mistake for me to be there because he wouldn’t sit still or behave himself in any way until snacks were served. It was sort of ridiculous. When it was almost time to go a few boxes of toys were brought out and finally he was happy. Until it was time to put the cars away. In an embarrassing show of tears and wailing, I carried him over my shoulder and out to the van, the rest of the kids trailing behind. I’m not sure why I was embarrassed; I think it was because I was sure everyone could see how angry I was. Livid.

It brought to mind something Mindy posted a few days ago:

“Isn't 5 years old too early for a daughter to act so hatefully towards her mother? I wasn't ready for this yet.”

I think one of the hardest things about this job is not mirroring back the anger, nastiness, and sometimes even hate these kids express to us. They can be incredibly cruel. I won’t pretend I’ve achieved any level of proficiency in this area. I only know I have to be the example of the behavior I want. Not letting the little kids see my anger over seriously inconsequential things is, well, I’m not going to say it’s a resolution, but I’m working on it.

It’s time to head the kids to bed. Sam’s been residing in his new sleeping bag nearly 24/7 for the past few days and will probably try to convince us it’s okay to just sleep in the living room. But no; vacation is over. Time to get back to the real world. And Sam will tell you the real world is cruel. When I began writing I heard him yell, “Kenny farted in my sleeping bag!” pause “For NO reason!” Cruel, cruel world.

1 comment:

  1. I agree! It is so hard to rein in the feelings that immediately wash over me when my child is out of control, acting vicious and savage!

    I found the farting in the sleeping bag hilarious!


So, what do you think?