Disclaimer: All derogatory comments, either expressly written or implied, against any and all members of author's church and/or said church members' offspring are purely for entertainment purposes only, and in no way reflect the actual thoughts and opinions of the aforementioned author. The actual thoughts and opinions of the aforementioned author are probably not fit for print. Everything in the following story is said in jest and in love... for the most part. ; D I, the author, attest that what you are about to read is true, other than the parts I exaggerated or fabricated. No actual children were harmed during the following events.
I haven't had a chance until now, but I wanted to tell you how much "fun" we had last Sunday and share with you a little epiphany I had around 3:56 that same afternoon.
Some Einstein involved in the Children's Ministry of our church decided it would be "fun" to take the entire Children's Church to see the new Veggie Tales movie. Some other Einstein volunteered my services to accompany them and help watch the kids.
OK, that was me. I'm the other Einstein. I offered to go along and help. Dear, Jiminy, what was I thinking?
At first, I was told they had enough people going, and thankyouverymuch but we won't need you. BOOYAH!
Then on Sunday afternoon, Darrell foolishly answers the phone. Next thing I know I hear him agreeing to drive the kids in our van, and saying weird crap, like, "Oh, she did? No, I didn't know that. She didn't mention it to me, but I guess I can. Sure, yeah, I'd be happy to go. Yeah, no problem at all. I can do that. I'll be up there a little before 4:00." Next thing after that, he's flipping wildly through the phone book. I wanted to know what he was looking for. He wouldn't tell me- mostly because, as I would learn later, he had decided to stop speaking to me, but also partly because he was trying not to cry. I looked over his shoulder and I could almost swear the book was opened to "Hit Men, Merciless." This is how Darrell's mind works. As a Christian man, he believes having me whacked would be preferable to searching the phone book for "Attorneys, Divorce." You at least gotta appreciate the guy's steadfast commitment to keeping his marriage vows, and taking that whole "til death do us part" thing so seriously.
I must admit, I was chuckling a tiny bit on the inside. OK, it was on the outside. And it was more than a tiny bit, actually. If tears streaming down my face is considered more than a tiny bit of a chuckle. God must really, really like me, I'm thinking. I get the glory of volunteering, yet Darrell is the poor sap who winds up having to go. How fantabulous is that? Life is good.
Later, the phone rings again. And because Darrell has gone up to the car wash to vacuum all the kids' crud out of the van, and also because I'm an idiot, I answer it. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Moments like these are why answering machines were invented. It was the Einstein at church who planned this whole thing, calling to verify that I am also going, right? That's what he meant when he called Darrell. He didn't know for sure if he'd made that clear, but they were hoping we understood they wanted both of us to go. We did understand that, right? Crap. The laughter suddenly dies. "Sure," I say. "Sure, yeah, I'd be happy to go. Yeah, no problem at all. We'll both be there. No problem." These are the biggest lies ever told by one Christian to another. Life is cruddy.
We get to the church a few minutes before 4:00 and, as the kids start arriving, we slap on our smiles and start loading one precious angel after another into the van. Somehow, we wound up with nine (NINE!) little girls, most of whom are between 4-7 yrs., in our vehicle. We take off down the road, and that's when the epiphany struck: Children's Ministry... Not my thing.
All is going well enough, though. Darrell's pretty good at disguising his sobs as laughter, so all the little girls thought he was having a great time on the drive over. I spent the 20 minute ride deeply entrenched in my happy place, and reminding myself that the only things I'm ever going to volunteer for in the future are "chocolate taster," or... nope, that's pretty much it.
We get to the theater and go inside. Then I make another ginormous mistake. I hear myself saying, in a voice much too cheerful to be my own, "What do you want me to do to help?" Gaawwww... What the...?
I'm told the kids lining up at the snack bar are going to need help with ordering and paying. Helpful tip: Avoid this job at all costs. Trying to help 19 small, irrational, overly excited people ask for Reese's Pieces, no wait- popc- no, an icee, wait- how much money do I- OK, M&, Reese's Pieces and a small drink, and pay with a sockful of nickels, is not something you will ever, ever, ever want to do. I'm exaggerating, of course. Nobody actually had a sockful of nickels. If they had, I would have hit someone with it and would currently be awaiting my arraignment instead of talking to you. Days pass, or so it seems. I realize, sometime during child #8, that I don't especially like small, irrational, overly excited people. No, not at all.
Darrell went inside to save a section of seats for all of us: 19 kids, 5 adults, and me. He leaves me without any cash, of course, and unable to buy my own kids any snacks. I had to borrow from Einstein, and seriously considered, for just a second, how easy it would be to take his twenty and make a break for it to the mall across the street. I could have called a cab. I could have been free. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I stayed.
We go in, find Darrell, and sit down. All is proceeding smoothly. Then "The Distribution of the Snacks" begins. If your not familiar with "The Distribution of the Snacks," there is a proper procedure to follow that includes spilling an Icee in your lap (specifically in your- um- nether regions), thereby causing yourself great personal discomfort and embarrassment for the remainder of the movie.
The movie begins.
How was it? HOW WAS IT? Why the *&%# are you asking me that? You some kinda wiseacre? How could I possibly know that? Man, I oughta...
Here's how the adults, and me, spent our time during the movie: Look to your left to check what kids are doing and to make sure we're not slacking off on "The Distribution of the Snacks." Look to the right and do basically the same thing. Repeat.
Now, it's time for... Anyone? Anyone? Yes. The bathroom trips, of course. I get the pleasure of being asked to take a beautiful little red-headed 4 yr. old girl to the bathroom. Fine, no problem. Bri sees that I'm going and jumps up to go, too. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this interesting little tidbit about my daughter before, but Bri's bladder is uniquely timed to "go off" at the exact same moment as anyone and everyone else on earth. If you have to pee, she has to pee, guaranteed. It is one of nature's unexplained miracles. However, this is not one of her most endearing qualities. But, whatever. Fine. No problem. I can handle two little girls. I decide to hurry before anyone else feels the urge. In my race to get up the steps, I accidentally push beautiful little red-headed girl to the ground. Hey... Too bad. If you can't handle it, you shouldn't have come. Is that mean? I felt like it may have been a little mean.
We get to the bathroom and little red-headed girl needs me to hold the door shut for her. I hear weird little beeping noises coming from her stall, so I stupidly inquire, "Is that a cell phone?"
"Yes," says little red-headed girl (it was a toy phone).
"Are you making a call?" I ask.
She responds, as if this is completely normal, and what everyone does while using a public toilet, "I'm calling my friend from preschool."
"Oh," I say.
Back into the theater to finish the movie. I try to make some sense out of the plot line and get into the story a little bit but, by this point, it's too late. Something about pirates. That's all I know. The rest of the show is pretty uneventful, thank God, other than the fact that I discover, after repeated attempts to get his attention, that Darrell is still not speaking to me.
Fast forward to the trip home. Time to count everyone and make sure they all get back into the van. We assemble the same group of nine we started with and Darrell peels out of the parking lot, muttering something that sounded slightly unkind to himself, but when I ask him to repeat it, he says nothing. He does mention later (to no one in particular- and certainly not to me) that we need to stop for gas. Dear Lord, help me. My mind begins to race as I realize this will involve leaving me in the van alone with 9 freakishly giggly, talkative, argumentative, insane little gifts from God while Darrell pumps and pays for the gas.
I decide to inject a little much-needed comic relief into the situation by saying the oldest girl (10 yrs.) will have to pay for the gas, and the youngest (4 yrs.) will have to get out and pump it. Apparently little girls don't find me quite as funny as I do. The older girl looked scared to death, and nervously said, "OK," as she reached for the $1.75 she had left from the movie. The youngest girl (the same little red-head from the bathroom), looked like she might cry. Oh, great. No sense of humor at all. Inside, I was thinking of suggesting she whip out her little phone and call someone who gives a... hoot, but I didn't. Fortunately, my own daughter knows how much fun her mother is, and told them I was only joking. Crisis averted. Kind of.
The ride home was very loud. Very... Loud... I cannot accurately convey what I truly want to say here, because I would never want to hurt the feelings of a beloved church member. Let me just lovingly say that the ride home made me long for the days when I was an alcoholic. Right about the time I thought I would not be able to stand one more minute, little red-headed girl raised her cell phone above her head and asked, "Would anybody like to make a call?" Darrell and I laughed. Granted, it was that maniacal laugh you hear just before the poor laughing idiot bursts into tears, but still- it was a laugh. And it made everything OK. Kind of.
We made it back to the church without screaming at, or harming anyone, so overall I'd say the trip was a success.
As I was leaving I heard myself telling one of the Children's Leaders that I would happily accompany them in April when they take the kids to the zoo.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.