There’s a joke in my family that my older sister was baptized in the kitchen sink by my maternal grandmother. I have no idea whether the tale is tall or true, but I can imagine it might have a speck of honesty in it.
I walk into the sanctuary with my newborn daughter strapped into a baby carrier and a diaper bag on my back. I’m only a few minutes early to service, but it’s a relatively empty space. It’s my first Sunday alone with my daughter. My husband, who is the vicar (a yearlong pastoral intern) at the church, cannot help me with her cries. I want to find a place to sit and just blend in. I want to disappear into the crowd of worshipers. I find my seat and send a little prayer up that she stays asleep or remains quiet. The opening song starts, and I realize I have no idea where to go if she starts to get loud.
Having my daughter last spring has definitely changed my walk with Christ. Busy days come with sleepless nights and quiet moments are often broken with cute coos and not-as-cute cries (though I do think her cries can be cute). It extends to my experiences at church. No longer is the Sunday sermon a time where I get to sit and soak up the nuances and meanings in God’s Word. Now it’s a time of wrangling, toy-picking-up, and diaper changes. I expected and longed for these days.
“I’d be LIVID if someone prayed with/to/at my kids.” My heart leapt into my throat and then sank as I read these words from a Facebook group on parenting. The original post had asked for advice on what to do as a parent if you found out your mother had prayed with your children when they couldn’t sleep, even though you are agnostic/atheist and raising your children the same way. This was just one of the many comments expressing this sentiment that flooded the post.
The words of Proverbs 3:1–4 tumble around in my head and heart often as I go through my day with my three small children:
“Can you please help me, Mom?”
My six-year-old son asked me this when he was working on a new LEGO building bricks set and got stuck on a step in the directions.
My son called to me in a stressed and urgent tone, “Mom! I need a big eraser!”
“You have to be in charge, FOREVER!” This was my five-year-old’s response after I had been teasing him that I was going to take a break from being in charge.
“Have you talked about current events with your kids?”
I posted a poll asking this question on Instagram a few days after the initial reports of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The results were more split than I anticipated.
Back-to-school season feels full of possibilities this year. The possibility that school will feel a little more “normal” this year seems within reach, as some schools shift away from the pandemic-related restrictions they used last year. The possibility that school will be just as messy, with a return to quarantining and virtual classes, is also on the table. The possibility that some kids will get sick and some kids will not is also a real threat. School field trips or organized sports and activities may be possible again . . . or not. And in the midst of all of these possibilities, there are the traditional transitions of adjusting to new classmates, teachers, and routines.