Last Sunday I ended up taking Gloria and my two nieces to church by myself. Dad was an usher that morning and went early. Mom wasn't feeling great and decided to stay. That left me with Gloria (almost 6), Reiny (just turned 6), and Ashlyn (3 1/2). Oh my!
On the way to church, we had our usual "how do we behave in church?" discussion. Gloria decided that she was not going to children's church which meant Reiny chose not to go. The bells were ringing when we arrived and the girls decided that Hada was ringing the bells. I think they have visions of him pulling the bell ropes and possibly being lifted off the ground like they have seen in movies. They would be so sad to know it just takes the flip of a switch. Shhhh! We quickly deposited Ashlyn in the nursery where Mom usually takes her and made our way into church for the last verse of the opening hymn.
Gloria likes to follow the service and readings in the bulletin and spent time showing Reiny where we were. During the sermon, I handed Gloria a pen and she went to work writing like she always does. I also handed one to Reiny. She looked at Gloria and then at me with a questioning look, kind of like "What's she doing? What should I do?" I showed her the word "God" in the bulletin, pointing out the letters and reading it to her quietly, and told her to circle it every time she found it. I figured that with the entire service printed in the bulletin that would keep her busy for a while. Gloria decided to do the same and they stayed busy (and quiet!) for the entire sermon.
The service progressed as usual and soon it was time to get Ashlyn from the nursery. Now I had three little girls and it was something similar to herding cats as we made our way up for communion. None of us were wearing "quiet" shoes. Gloria and Reiny were skipping up the aisle and Ashlyn was running after them. Then she spotted Dad at the steps, performing his usher duties, and yelled, "There's Hada!" Everyone was jostling for position at the communion rail and eagerly recieved their "Jesus bread" before taking off back down the side aisle. More noisey clattering of feet and herding of cats, but we made it.
During the last hymn, Gloria was trying to track the words for Reiny and Ashlyn tried to sing along too. They took off as soon as the last "Thanks be to God" was spoken. So much for coats. Fortunately they found Hada at the back, which slowed them down long enough for me to wrestle everyone into their respective jackets before heading to the car.
Whew! It was fun, but it also makes me look forward to going to church with just one tomorrow!