Mom isn't always best example
Damara Hutchins | Highlands TodayWhen I was a kid, one way to instantly stoke my mother's ire was to act up in church. My brother, Jerry, was a horrible instigator and always the one to push the limits of Mom's patience. It was he who spent the most time torturing our little sister, Meredith; never innocent me.
Published: May 12, 2012
Published: May 12, 2012
I believe that during those formative years we assisted our mother in perfecting what we refer to as her "evil mom look." This is the ice-cold glare that had the ability to immediately stop time and stun children, essentially paralyzing us in whatever inappropriate behavior we happened to be undertaking at that moment.
Once we were frozen in place, she silently mouthed commands to "cease and desist" our bad deeds while promising future punishment that would commence as soon as witnesses were not present.
The remainder of the service would be spent in quiet reflection and abject terror. It always seemed like the pastor suddenly refocused his sermon and attention directly at us as we tried to sink down low in the pew as if attempting to hide from him and God.
Now that I'm a parent, I have the pleasure of policing my own kids during our church's Sunday services. They only have to sit still until the offering is completed, then they stampede upstairs for children's church like a couple of wild buffalo.
With all my mom duties, I really could've used some parenting myself last Sunday.
It all started with someone else's kids. They stayed the whole service, which isn't a bad thing. The children were of toddler age and did remarkably well. My own kids would never have behaved through the whole service.
During communion, the crackers were passed around when one of the toddlers erupted with an angry-sounding verbal outburst, so her mother quickly carried her out of the sanctuary.
My husband, Chris, leaned over and whispered in my ear, "They must not like crackers."
This resulted in a good chuckle out of me. He started to say something else and I said, "SHHH," to which he replied: "Your 'SHHH' was really loud. I think everyone heard it."
I told him firmly, "Listen, if you don't stop it, I'm going to take YOU out of here."
He said, "Only if you carry me out."
This was the straw that broke the camel's back. My brain flashed an instant detailed mental picture of me carrying my husband on my hip, like I do with my daughter. In fact, he was limp like kids are when they don't want to be carried and they just kind of hang there on your side.
So, in this image, here was my husband, who outweighs me by about 20 pounds or so, hanging on my hip with this pouty look on his bearded face and, for some reason, he had a Dutch-boy haircut.
I was laughing so hard that I was jiggling, but I was trying to be quiet at the same time. Chris put his arm around me, began patting my shoulder, and saying, "It's OK, honey. It's OK," like he was comforting me as if I was simply overcome with emotion. From behind, it probably did look like I was sobbing.
I suppose I'll go a little easier on my kids in the future. If their own mom can't hold herself together in church, how can I possibly expect them to? Mom, if you're reading, I'll try my hardest to behave better next week. I promise.