I did the bravest thing I’ve done since becoming a mother. I entrusted my precious child to complete strangers. A group of 19 – 21 year old girls no less and it was hard, God knows, it was so very very hard!
Walter and I have not been regular church goers ever since Ava started becoming more mobile. Attempting to enjoy a church service had become a bit like a nightmare since she discovered her voice and started crawling. She loves the praise and worship bits but gets increasingly loud and fidgety throughout the sermon. In the end, one of us would get to enjoy the service while the other one was relegated to the Parents Room. A horrible little room at the back of the church, lined with couches and cluttered with toys, smelling vaguely of baby poo and vomit! A total waste of time if you’re attempting to get anything from the sermon as you spend the entire time trying to prevent your child from sticking some old, rank toy in her mouth, or from fighting over said toys with other babies. All the while the parents chat away to each other, despite the various notices requesting quiet so that we can take in some of the message. The final straw came a few months ago when I got hit in the head by a flying toy! I told Walter I just wasn’t prepared to go back till Ava was older and could go to Sunday school.
Of course, we’ve both been missing our weekly message and so this Sunday we decided to chance it and the parents room once again. We arrived early, hoping to secure ourselves decent seats right at the back, where Ava would have some room to hopefully not disturb and
terrorize charm anyone sitting near her. During our mad dash into the church we came across the most perfectly beautiful little gem.
On the other side of the car park, away from the Sunday school and Church, we saw a gorgeous playground, complete with a sandpit, jungle gym and scooter track, all tucked behind a secure pallisade fence. And there was even a classroom and there were these young women (19 – 21 year old girls) all fawning over a group of littlies. We approached and inquired and were thrilled to discover that it was “baby” Sunday School for littlies aged 12 months an older, walking being the only requirement. Without hesitation, we filled in the paperwork and handed Ava over. Without even saying goodbye, we simply walked off and left her.
By the time we got into church I was frantic wondering if we’d made a mistake! I ran back 3 times to check on her, all 3 times finding her running around with new friends, not a care in the world and completley unperterbed by the fact that she’d been left behind, no Mama or Dada anywhere in sight.
checked on her a further 2 times during the service, both times discovering the play area empty and the sound of silence (later I was to discover its because they were busy “painting” “pictures”) or singing coming from the classroom…. no sounds of Ava crying and screaming for her Mama!
It was sort of wonderful to enjoy a church service from within the church but I was somewhat distracted as I kept getting wracked by anxiety at the bizarre thoughts floating through my head:
- All the Sunday School teachers were child molesters
- Each time I saw somebody, through the window, walking in the car park, they were on their way to steal my child
- The palisade gate would be left open and she’d wondered off into the road and was about to be run over
By the time the service ended, I literally could not stop myself from RUNNING through the church and bumping people out of the way to get back to the “baby” Sunday School but when I did get there guess what I found?
A perfectly happy Ava-Grace giggling her head off as she sat on one of the
Sunday School teachers lap while sliding down the slide together!
She threw a tantrum of note when I removed her from the Sunday School teachers arms, had to stop myself from feeling hurt by how quickly I’d gone from Mama to poop under her shoe! Eventually we left, with her sobbing her eyes out at having to leave Sunday School, so I’m guessing it was a good experience and I’m really looking forward to enjoying church for many more Sunday’s to come!