Sunday, 13 January 2013

Suffer Little Children

I try to cultivate an air of pious decorum in church. My woolly layers, a vital buffer against the chill of the pew, imply solid respectability. My hat conceals the twelve months since I last visited a hairdresser and my expression of rapt enlightenment, rehearsed in the shaving mirror, disguises my internal warfare over the pea-green jeans in the Boden catalogue during the parish notices.

The advent of children has not aided my endeavours, however. Since the moment of my son's baptism when my daughter slashed the silence with: 'Mummy hit me!' it's been downhill all the way. 'Baby's fallen in Jesus pond!' cried my son, panicked, as, one Sunday, a proud father filmed another solemn gathering round a font.

The passing of the years would instil in them due reverence, I thought. Tirelessly in Sunday School I turned loo roll tubes into saints and conjured flocks of sheep from Whiskas boxes to prompt their spiritual awakening. But a decade on, my resolve to be a Pillar of Righteousness remains undermined by my companions.

The Angel Gabriel's announcement to Mary was interrupted by my 10 year-old during one of the readings in the packed carol service this Christmas. 'What's a virgin?' she hissed.

Today's service, though, passed with unusual dignity. My daughter, seraphic in her server's alb, made angry gestures from the altar over my latest hat and my son wrestled his full bladder into submission with Gangnam-style motions during the Eucharistic Prayer, but I preserved an air of implacable prayerfulness. Until the final hymn. The faithful on the other side of the circle of pews were staring. I glanced at my son. He'd stuffed a roll of pew sheets down his jumper and was posing like Dolly Parton. 'Come down O love divine,' I warbled frantically, but as the last organ notes faded, my son's voice was the only one still audible: 'From now on, Mum,  you've got to call me Mr Boobies!'





17 comments:

  1. I wish I went to your church. Sound much more exciting than mine. Does anyone actually listen to the Vicar, or are they too busy watching your children?

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    1. They certainly tuned in when he was preaching about how he vomited over Rachel Weisz!

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  2. I saw the dancing but missed the boobies. Explains why you were delighted by my comment on your titfer.

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    1. My...? Oh yes! It received many stares in town. Not sure whether they were in mirth or admiration.

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  3. The great thing is that though it embarrasses the hell out of us and other congregants may get irritated, God doesn't mind one bit. I think as long as they're not doing any of that killing, stealing or coveting stuff, he's totally cool about it.

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    1. I expect he rather enjoys some humorous interludes. And our congregation is always very tolerant of our antics - and even of the hat!

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  4. Ha ha. Happy New Year. Love the image of your daughter making angry gestures over your hat. Would also love to see hat. x

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    1. The hat was a Christmas gift from my mother to give me dash. It takes immense courage to be seen in it in public. Happy New Year to you too!

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  5. Mahahaha, sounds a lot more interesting than my church. Though my toddler does like to demand "MORE SINGING" at the top of his voice at the end of every hymn.

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  6. Haha! Brilliant! Apparently at my own christening, (which happened when I was 5 due to indecisive parents- one of whom has since become a Buddhist....), I asked very loudly 'Why is that man wearing a dress?' The man in question? the Vicar of course!!

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    1. Perfectly natural question. My children have posed it to the Vicar on several occasions.

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  7. They sound like perfectly normal, well-adjusted children to me. My own mother has never let me live down my own nativity antics. As the inn-keepers wife I stuffed a duster down the front of my smock to form my own "Dolly Partons"...and I turned out alright x

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    1. You see, you knew early in that you were destined for glamour!

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    2. Oh the glamour! Husband asked me today why I don't wear make-up "any more". Apparently it's "a bit grungy". But shhhh, don't tell anyone!

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  8. That made me laugh out loud - er, I think that's LOL - that was so funny!!!!!! Absolutely priceless - your children sounds happy and and full of fun :o).

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    1. It's funny, they're far more full of fun in church. At home they're just slumped over their iPods!

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