It all started when my son got a haircut on base. Normally they do great cuts but this time he went in with long locks and came out ready for bootcamp. He was mortified to say the least.
All the way to church the following Sunday he complained, "Why couldn't we have gone someplace else? Somewhere no one knows me."
Well, we didn't go somewhere else. We went to our home church. And...we were about 25 minutes late. The babies had just woken from a nap. I was running behind. And, if there's anything I've leaned post-baby it's that life is seldom perfect so you might as well just go with it and do the best that you can.
We pulled into the back row of the parking lot, unloaded the stroller and trudged on in. At our church if you park in larger of the church parking lots you've got to go up a flight of stairs. So, my daughter and I each towed a baby while my son took the stroller, all nicely folded up, and my Bible to the upper floor.
As we arrived at the sanctuary, they were just starting communion. Yes! I thought, we'll just sneak in the back in and head up the row like we're going to take the Lord's Supper. Along the way, we'll drop off our "luggage" (otherwise know as baby gear) in a set of three chairs we see together and no-one will even notice that we're late. Ha! There were no seats along the row. Little by little we crept our way further to the front of the church - pinned in the communion line like a car that can't get out of the drive thru at Kentucky Fried Chicken we trudged forward.
Now, my daughter and I, we were just fine. We each had a baby and looked just as "normal" as could be. But my poor son, already humiliated by his new summer look, was carrying a double stroller all folded up like it was his briefcase he just couldn't stand to leave at the seat and my rather large, giant-print Bible. To make matters worse he was 14. And, well...everything is worse when you're 14.
We made it all the way to the front of the church without so much as three seats open - even on the front row. So, now we just had to take communion as though we always traveled packed for a vacation. Poor kid, he was balancing the little communion cup, his wafer, the double stroller and my Bible as he trotted across the church in front of everyone. That would have been enough but just as he was about to round the corner to safety, he dropped my Bible, spilling out its contents everywhere. Oh, and...I had some napkins in there that kind of, might have looked like old kleenex along with about 50 sheets of little paper I use to mark verses. They went everywhere.
I would have stopped. Really I would have. I am not a heartless, horrible mother. But I simple couldn't at that moment. I too, was carrying a little wafer, cup and a baby. So, I assumed we'd just leave it there and come back for it when we'd finally found a seat. Oh no...my dear son wasn't leaving any man (or Bible behind). He tried to balance, kneel and pick it up right there in the front of the church. (He just thought the haircut was the worst of his worries.) A little, old lady came to his rescue, gingerly picking up the Kleenex (really they were napkins...I think) by the corner and slowly bending (According to him she was rather elderly) to help him retrieve everything. My daughter and I were long past. (I really was going to go back. Didn't know he was going stop.) And the band just kept right on playing. When we finally got to our seats on the far side of the church, definitively he stated, "I feel like a terd."
I could not help myself. I bust out laughing until I was in tears. I'm quite sure I looked filled with the Holy Spirt at that somber moment, church full with people, hands raised, worshiping the Lord. I cried and cried and cried. Granted, it was all me trying to hold back any audible laughter. I wasn't the only one (although, I might have been the worst one). Both of the kids were dying laughing...and we probably retold the story at least 5 times during the week. My son later proudly relayed it to his dad who had been out of town. My daughter looked it up on the church's livestream.
It's funny for all the bonding that I try to be intentional about, the best memories are those that just happen. We can cry about them or we can laugh. But the very best times, are those when we can do both.