Thursday, September 13, 2012
It's the Little Things
You can thank that little cool snap in the air for keeping me away from blogging. That hint of crispness that makes everyone all moon-eyed over autumn leaves and apple desserts? It terrifies those of us with home improvement efforts underway. It's like receiving a warning notice tacked to your door that tells you the end is near, and pack it up before things get really cold. While everyone else is thinking pumpkins and mums, we're watching the clock.
As you know, I've been fairly open about the struggles of having a fussy baby. But I'm not too sure I have shared some of the triumphs. They do happen, and when they occur you breathe a prayer of thanks and slide down the rainbow singing the praises of another milestone reached. It's like getting a coupon doubled on a clearance item. You want to tell people about it, but you don't want them to think you're some nut who gets ecstatic over something so menial. Something that other babies seem to do naturally, effortlessly.
Since Duckling joined us, church has become an exercise on par with an event of Olympic proportions, a constantly failing game of part chance, part skill, with a whole lot of crying. Things were so bad that I often couldn't go to church, or would only go if it was an easy service with no potluck, special programs, or anything else that would make the church service one minute longer than it had to be for the sake of my little screamer.
If you don't get them to sit still in church by the age of two, they'll never sit still.
-oft repeated lyrics to a song of sorts that I grew up hearing.
We cautiously persevered, as months wore on monitoring signs of maturity and changes in behavior. Finally, one recent Sunday, we experienced victory. We arrived before the service, and for once the inquisitive faces appearing before us seeking a peek of the baby did not cause a storm. The clouds parted and no thunder crashed during the singing. And while there was one trip to the nursery during the sermon, there was no massive protest of unknown origin. My baby was doing it. He was sitting through church. I knew we were in the clear when I heard him vocalizing along to the final song, Oh! To Be Like Thee.
Three days later, I got word that my friend's mother died suddenly, and I would need to haul the Duckling solo to what was bound to be a large and long funeral service. Dare I wish for a repeat performance?
As I stood in line to enter the church, all I could think was Oh please let the usher seat us in the back near the door. Then he escorted us to a conspicuous outpost which was like being seated in the balcony at a stadium. A few other babies soon followed, and pretty soon the babies were all staring at one another trying to communicate in baby talk, and we were all very far from the nursery. One woman clamped her hand over her baby's mouth, but I couldn't do that. After the initial singing, I headed for the nursery.
Yet again, there was a moment of grace and it happened during the singing. As hundreds of people raised their voices song, so did Duckling, with one long harmonizing note. Not loud, or disruptive, or perfect. Just a sweet low key attempt at making a joyful noise. I had to smile as I drove home and passed this sign...
Because sometimes, it really is the little things.