Let me just say that, for the record, I am not a fan of 11:30 church. I thought it wouldn't be so bad, but I was wrong.
Every week feels like Fast Sunday. You have to leave by 11, so nobody eats lunch until 3pm. Or, if you stay after for choir (which we do), 4pm.
Little girls don't get their naps, which turns them into cranky kids. Julia can somewhat handle a missed nap, though she is extra sensitive. (I know, I didn't think that was possible either.) But Ella? Ella becomes desperate. She needs to be held! She needs to be put down! She needs to eat! She needs to crawl! She is so squirmy and all over the place, and yet she won't just fall asleep.
I am in the nursery every week. Officially, I am the Primary Floater, but they always need me in the nursery, so that is where I go. They are sweet kids, and I am happy to be in there, but I will admit that it leaves me feeling. . . high strung some days. I feel like my time at church involves one hour of wrangling my own kids in Sacrament Meeting, followed by 2 hours of wrangling 15 other kids (in addition to my own) in nursery, followed by another hour (choir) of wrangling my kids again, with the added bonus that they are now cranky and tired, and I'm trying to sing. Clark is playing the piano, so he is exempt from this last hour. Thankfully, one of the young women grabs Ella every week, so I only have to worry about sad little Julia.
Well, this past Sunday it all came to a head and the meltdowns were glorious. Ella wouldn't be content anywhere but my lap, and even then it was short lived. Julia was sad and then happy and then sad and then really sad, and then sobbing on a bench in the chapel wanting to go home. So I took the girls to the car and drove around the parking lot for 10 minutes while Clark finished playing the piano. Nobody fell asleep like I had hoped, and all that little maneuver got me was some more sobbing from Julia, this time because, "We left Daddy! We can't go home without Daddy!" Though, at least they weren't bothering anyone but me, so I guess that was good.
There are some Sundays where I really just wonder what the point is. I know that church is important, and I wouldn't miss it for anything, but it's definitely not like it used to be. Remember when I would read the paper on Sunday mornings (back when I got a paper. . .) and leisurely get ready, and then go and enjoy 3 hours of peace and reflection at church? Sigh. Someday it'll be that way again. But then I won't have Ella's baby smiles, and I won't get to be in nursery watching my little girl play and sing and learn about Jesus. It feels like my mantra in all aspects of life is, "It won't last forever. Enjoy it while it lasts." But that's hard advise to follow at 6:00 on Sunday evening, when I feel like I'm a hundred years old.