Monday, June 14, 2010

Miracle in the Presbyterian Church

I'm a complete creature of habit. I kinda like it that way. And, even with McLovin gone to Afghanistan, I try to keep everything the same. That includes Sunday church service. And, I can get -- how can I say this, particularly since I'm talking about church? -- prickly about my creature-of-habitness. We always sit in the same place. Right side, three rows up from the back, far left side of the pew. It puts us super close to the choir, which Happy loves, and right alongside the organ, which Lefty loves. Plus, it gives me a quick, three-row escape should any of the IHPs [Editor's Note: Or, MommyLand recommended synonym, Domesticated Panhandler -- which I totally love! -- Kate] decided to act like a -- church word, please, Kate -- diminutive excrement.

So I get them all hustled into church, find our pew and plant every one down with maybe 14 seconds to spare. They've fully immersed themselves in their little Kids Keep 'Em Busy During The Sermon Bags and I'm flipping through the bulletin when this body takes the spot at the end of my the pew. *ugh* Really? It's not like church is full, dude. Go a row up, or a row over, because all you're going to be in about 7 minutes is completely irritated because the children are equally as prickly about our row. And they'll talk about you. And they'll fidget because they feel trapped and Happy, who normally sits on the end, will shimmy further and further away until he's basically crawled back into the womb.


So, being that it's Sunday and isn't there one hour of the week when I can be all benevolent and kind --especially clearly to a visitor to our church, because Lord knows, no one who goes there would purposefully sit right at the end of this particular pew -- look over as we all stand up to sing the first hymn and give a welcoming smile to the stranger nex--


[Editor's Note: For the record, you're totally not supposed to say "Oh F**k!" in church. It's Church Rule Number One. Thank you, Lovely Organist, for hitting like every single key on your keyboard right as it happened. I pretty sure no one heard me. -- Kate]

"Hi baby," he whispers. Then puts his fingers to his lips. The kids are all still sitting down, doing Jesus connect-the-dots and Parable word finds and all that. They haven't looked up yet.

Church Rule Number Two: Don't mug your husband during services.

Yeah, broke that one too. Big kiss. Serious. Complete with mascara running down my face.

Whatever the song they were singing, it was awesome. I didn't sing a word of it.

Me: What? I? How?
McL: Left Friday...thought I'd surprise you.
Me: When did you get in?
McL: Came right from the airport. Bags are out in the foyer. Good thing you came to church, huh?

He's got two days of stubble, he hasn't changed clothes, slept or eaten real food in 27 hours. He hasn't been home in too many days to count anymore. And despite all that, he asked the cabdriver to bring him to church.

I think the song had ended by then and we moved on to whatever comes next. Lots of talking. I tap Happy. He looks up at me and I look over at McLovin and then watch those little eyes follow mine...and register I don't even know how many emotions until all that comes out is "daddy?"

McLovin scooped up his boy.

Happy wrapped his arms around his neck and his legs around his waist...and closed his eyes and put his forehead down on his daddy's shoulder. McLovin stood there and just let the tears run down his face.

They never moved.

And for the first time ever, I had brought my phone into church.

They walked out for a few minutes. I think they needed time. When they came back in, McLovin was well-equipped with tissues, though I suspect we could have acquired one or two that were tucked up a few sleeves of the older women in our church.

Lefty and McGee were just coming back from Circle Time with the Minister when they spotted him. And ran. And body tackled him. It was fantastic.


The kids have been on him all day, telling them what they've discovered and accomplished since he left.
  • "Daddy, watch this!"
  • "Papa, didja know that I can shoot 20 baskets in A ROW? Come see!"
  • "DAAAAAD! Watch me!
  • "Papa, Mom got me new clothes and stuff...can I do a fashion show for you...pleeeeeease??"
He's been yes'ing and mm-hmm'ing and looking at drawing after drawing and "oh, wow that's pretty...there's more? really? Yes, of course I'm ready to see another outfit." You can totally tell his eyelids are about to slam shut.

They've also apparently been saving up all the tattling that they think he needs to know. That didn't go over quite so well. I'm pretty sure his response was something that went, "Do you want me to go back to Again-istan? No? Me either. So, cut it out."

Not to mention that the lawn just quietly glares at him, basically with this "What?! You think I'm gonna cut myself?" defiance about it. Typically our yard looks like the fairway of Pebble Beach. Now, it's turned feral and is apparently eating all the golf balls that we launch across the lawn.  We can't find a damn one. I have a feeling that it's going to be open season on our neighbors windows when he does fire up the lawn mower -- gotta imagine spinning blades meeting projectile orbs can make for one spectacular game of DodgeBall.

I sat with a girlfriend last night and let McLovin jump back into DaddyLand. I'm thinking he might have preferred to go back to bed gently ease himself back into the role, but the children would have none of that.
  • Lefty: "OH, we've been reading Mrs. PiggleWiggle and you missed the whole first two chapters, so we have to start over so you can catch up!"
  • Happy: "Daddy, read me all the stories from my li-bary. You not read me a story for a long time." Insert the pleading smile and big eyes and the little fingers clasped on McLovin's face. This kid is goooooood.
  • McGee: "Maybe since I'm older we can just talk for a while, since there's no school tomorrow..."
We finally got everyone settled down. The house feels different. Oh, don't get me wrong. We're still coming out of our Lord of the Flies creepiness. But remember in the book when the military guys finally find the boys, and two of them are all set to do something awful, and just the sight of other humans slams them back to reality? It's kind of what happened here. They just snapped back.

Last night before we sent them up for bed, McLovin was upstairs and we were all could hear his footsteps on the ceiling. And all the kids looked up and sort of followed his path across the house.

He's home.

Oh, and apparently, while he was away, maple trees had taken root in our gutters and were sprouting little baby trees. I'm pretty sure I would have never noticed that. I'm also pretty sure it would have been kind of cool, except for the whole destruction-of-the-house thing. He took care of it.

He's standing over me right's late. I frankly can't believe he's still awake. I suppo--

mclovin here. kate is saying goodnight now.

Good Night.

xoxo, Kate

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