December 16th, 2007
Is it me?
I had to ask my husband this this morning when we got back from church.
Yes. Yay! This morning was Punksin’s first day of Sunday school, and I spent the morning with her in class until after the Peace when the kids were ushered into the service. I missed being in the general service, but I figure there’s time enough for that in the days to come.
One thing I had forgotten about church – that it is still the real world. It might be God’s house, but there’s all kind of human lunatics inside, with all their competitiveness, and pettiness, and ridiculous insecurities.
Case in point: in class this morning, another mother walks in with her absolutely adorable daughter (about a year younger than Punksin, I’d say) and her older son. She stays in class too, so she and I are the only parents there.
Does she introduce herself? No. What she does proceed to do is stare at me in the most unfriendly fashion. I could feel it, I could see it out of the corner of my eye, and every now and then I would look at her to catch her at it, at which point she’d just look away. But it was definitely happening.
As it turned out, today was the day they were fitting kids for the Christmas pageant, which will be performed on Epiphany Sunday, which is, for those heathen non-churchgoing folks out there, when the baby Jesus was baptized. I’d already been told by the Rector and the Associate Rector that it would be fine for Punksin to take part, as she’d have a non-speaking part anyhow, being only 3. And I’d discussed it with Punksin ahead of time, so that we wouldn’t get there and have her being all WTF?
So up we go to the fitting along with a bunch of other kids and some parents. Mind you, this is the first time that Punksin and I are wending our way through the maze of the church. So even with me along, it was still all new to her, and she was staying close. I totally understood how she felt.
When we got to the fitting, I could hear from what was going on that the choices would pretty much be lamb or angel for her. She’s all into the princess thing so I figured angel would be a good choice. It’s not that I want her to be an angel – of course I think she’ll be cute but I really don’t care. I think she’ll be cute being anything. As a matter of fact, I even explained to Punksin that she did not have to be in the pageant at all, but that I, being her mother and knowing her as I do, figured she’d want to do it, because she’s so outgoing and such a “look at me!” kid that I know this would be right up her alley. And if she doesn’t hop on the bandwagon now, Pageant Day will come, and she’ll be in the audience looking at them and then we’ll have the sulky walk back to the car where she tells me she wishes she could have been in the play. So really, I’m just trying to avoid future drama. I know my child.
So, as much as I could explain this to a 3-year old, I tried. And I suggested that she would like being an angel.
Punksin, who was still feeling shy about the whole church thing, said no and hid her face in her hands.
I knew it was the newness of the entire situation for her, so I said, “Are you sure?”
She again shook her head: no, she didn’t want to be an angel.
All of a sudden, out of the blue, Unfriendly Mother, whose name is apparently Betsy (no, I don’t care) and who had been sitting across from me witnessing the exchange, snidely remarks, “She said no! I mean, it sure looks like she doesn’t want to be an angel to me!”
Funny – I don’t remember needing a translator to talk to my daughter.
Betsy is so lucky that we were in the house of the Lord. I hope she says her prayers tonight, because God really saved her ass today, let me tell you.
But here’s the clincher, folks.
Unfriendly Mother turns to her own daughter, and says “Do you want to be an angel dear?” in the most saccharine tones imaginable.
And her daughter doesn’t just hide her face in Mama’s skirts, oh no.
She’s kicking, she’s screaming, she’s pissed as hell. We’re talking meltdown, folks.
And what does Mama Bear do? “Oh, sweetie, you know you want to be an angel. It’s like a princess of God!” Then she remarks to the seamstresses “I know she wants to be an angel, she really does, she’s been all into it, it’s just today that she’s acting like this, but she wants to be an angel.”
Well, gee, folks, do you agree with me? Cuz I thought it was my cue to say LOUDLY:
“I don’t know – it sure doesn’t look like she wants to be an angel to me!”
And then I walked away.