I love my two-year-old, and I love taking her to church. But don’t be too fooled by her angelic, innocent look. Lately, this little booger has been giving me a run for my money during Sunday morning worship!
When you head off to church with a toddler in tow, there are some things that can always be counted on. Here are the givens…the things I know for sure are going to happen pretty much every single Sunday:
1. I know that she will tell her Bible class teachers that she didn’t have breakfast, because I don’t feed her. (This will happen regardless of whatever I gave her to eat that morning.)
2. I know that even though I’ll take her to the ladies’ room right before worship begins, I will still hear the ever-popular “I gotta go potty!” before the hour is up. Maybe more than once.
3. I know that no matter how many books I bring for her to look at, she will have “read” them all before the sermon even begins and will be looking for something else to do.
4. I know that she’s going to ask me, wide-eyed and in all sincerity, if this is the last song…WAY before the last song rolls around. (Last week that question came after exactly one song and prayer.)
5. I know that if she starts getting too wiggly, I will give in and let her draw with a pen on my bulletin, and I will regret it later that afternoon while I’m scrubbing her dress…and my dress…and our skin.
6. I know that just as soon as I take the communion, she will want to smell my (grape juice) breath, and in her excitement will make a big scene of doing so.
7. I know that even though I’ll wait until the collection plate is only one pew away to give her money to her, she will still drop and/or lose it four different times before it makes it into the offering. And when it finally goes in, it will be LOUD. The louder, the better, evidently.
8. I know that when we stand up for the closing song, I am going to have at least 17 stickers clinging to the back of my skirt (No, that’s not embarrassing at all!), along with several on my arm and a few on the diaper bag.
9. I know that when the closing prayer has been said and everyone else wanders off to visit, I will be down on the floor, digging broken Cheerios out of the pew and trying to corral her sippy cup, crayons, and everything else that seems to have exploded out of her bag.
10. I know that when the service is over I will leave the auditorium worrying about who we distracted, and wondering if we should start sitting closer to the back.
But there are some other things I know, too, and maybe these are more important:
1. I know that no one will be more thrilled than our toddler to wake up and realize it’s Sunday, because going to Bible class is a thrill for her.
2. I know that she will insist on bringing her own Bible and insist on holding it open during the service, because she totally gets that that’s what we’re there to learn from. (Lately, she’s even been holding it right-side-up!)
3. I know that she will try to sing the songs we sing, but in a really, really high voice, and it will make us giggle…and she will still be singing on the way home afterward.
4. I know that no one will get more joy out of releasing money into the collection plate. (She’d add in a big shout and a happy dance if we’d let her.)
5. I know that she’s actually learning while we’re there, and I’ll be reminded of this by her comments and questions throughout the week.
6. I know that she will have a smile on her face for everyone she sees, and that she’ll want to hang out there as long as possible.
7. I know that while I’m worried about who we’re irritating, everyone else is probably giving us a break after all. (Maybe, just maybe, they’re not even noticing the chaos.)
8. I know that each Sunday morning, our sweet toddler is right where she needs to be, and I know she’s establishing a routine that will serve her well in the future.
9. I know that one day in the not-too-distant future, she’ll be sitting quietly beside me instead of climbing on me, and I will miss this stage.
10. I know it’s ALL worth it to have her there each Sunday.