Monday, September 12, 2011

Rant Invasion

Okay, I need a good rant. Today has been a downer day. There hasn't been anything terrible, it's just one of those days where you wake up feeling "off" and things never quite get into place. Sundays tend to be hard days for me (the day of rest, right?) and yesterday was no exception. Maybe I'm still trying to recover.

I didn't have to teach Sunbeams at church because we had Stake Conference, but I replaced teaching wiggly 4-year-olds with playing a Mack Wilberg arrangement on the organ for a choir number. For those of you who aren't familiar with Mack Wilberg, he is the director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and a famous choral arranger. A good chunk of his work is originally for orchestral accompaniment (which doesn't cut down easily to only two hands)-- and if it's not, the keyboard part is really hard because he enjoys inflicting pain on accompanists. :) Which would be fine, except: A) I have enough pain inflicted on me already by potty training right now, 2) Organ requires more brain-power for me than piano (the whole playing an instrument with your feet thing...), and, Third, I have two tiny helpers who love to push "transpose" buttons and add an unwritten pedal part while I practice organ. Yay.

Grumbling aside, the number went fine and it was even a teensy bit fun to get a chance to blare loud organ music in the middle of a church meeting. So after I finished playing, I sat down with the fam and prepared to *enjoy* the rest of a two-hour church meeting sitting on the 4th row with four kids (something akin to *enjoying* a triple marathon with no water in the summer in Arizona). Within five minutes of this, the nice lady sitting in front of us (with her teenager-- so she must have some acquaintance with kids in her distant past...) turns around to Jackson (aged 3) and says to him, "Can you please be quiet so I can hear?" Um, okay? For starters, Jackson was being quiet and good- at least for him. He was not being completely silent, but he was being fairly quiet for a three-year-old. And maybe she could have addressed me instead of my partially verbal toddler?

The rest of the meeting was peppered with dirty looks from the lady sitting in front of us, even though we took the two younger kids out whenever they were being truly noisy. I suppose in certain circumstances or situations this would be understandable, but for goodness sake, we were not in a concert, we were in a Mormon church meeting! We are a church where big families are common and it is customary --and expected-- for you to bring your kids with you to the service.

Anyway, I was stressed out from having played the organ and not in any mood to tender indignant looks from the lady in front of me. I really wanted to just go home. It's hard enough to get a family of four dressed in Sunday clothes and to church in the morning. I didn't feel the need to be made to feel completely unwelcome (even though I was playing a difficult organ piece as a free service) because I accidentally forgot to gag my children before I came. I (barely) managed to make it through the rest of the meeting. Yes, I know. I had a very uplifting meeting. I couldn't focus on the talks. Between taking Jackson out to the potty and trying to silence any happy peep out of him and Addy (who is the world's loudest happy baby), I was a bit preoccupied. Every time one of my kids made a sound I winced and waited for the dirty look.

As we got up to leave at the end, the lady sitting behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, "I just had a feeling that I needed to tell you that it really does get better. I had five kids myself and I know how hard it can be. You have a beautiful family and your kids were just fine." I (who do not cry) almost burst into tears. After spending the whole meeting thinking, "Why are we even here? We are just bothering other people. I'm not getting anything out of it, the kids aren't getting anything out of it. What's the point? We should just go home.", it was nice to know that there are people out there capable of having some empathy. It's not like I don't know that my kids can be bothersome or annoying in a meeting (or on an airplane or whatever other public place we happen to be in). But for goodness sake, they are children. They really are trying and so am I, so please try to have some compassion and patience.  

As for today's trials.... Jackson peeing his pants. And pooping his underwear (after weeks of no poop accidents). Not making it to the YMCA to exercise. Feeling fat. Jared absolutely going ballistic because I couldn't understand that he was TOTALLY JUSTIFIED and didn't make Jackson upset ("But mom... it wasn't my fault that our friend didn't bring another ball for our game on the bouncer and that Jackson only likes games where everyone has a ball...") and so forth. Round up the usual suspects....


Camille said...

Forget the lady who sat in front of you and thank the Lord for the lady sitting behind you. Expecting small children to sit quietly through three hours of church is setting yourself up for disappointment. You should have offered to let Jackson go sit on the row in front of you.

LollyDolly said...

As one who is currently spending 20+ house a week to make the transition from pianist to organist....yep, playing with the feet is a whole different game...I feel your pain and triumph over the musical number in the same way that only someone who has had children (and remembers!) can feel your pain over sitting with 4 kids in church.

Emily said...

Sometimes just ranting, makes you feel so much better doesn't it? Hugs to you for going, serving, and being the better person. I would have thrown out goldfish under her seat and let my kids go wild, bumping her pew with reckless abandon! Yea Jackson! Teach your sister how to fish!! ;)

Greek Goddess said...

I TOTALLY get it. A couple of Sundays ago I, too, left sacrament mtg with my two youngest, went out into the foyer and cried. It is so hard. I can't believe that lady said anything. Some people have no tact, not compassion. Just forget about her. For every one of her there are hundreds who do get.

Holly said...

So many times I was at church early to play organ prelude while my husband was still finishing a meeting. My 4 kids would start out sitting reverently but it would turn into a game of tag in the chapel, leaping over benches, ending in a fist fight. I would try desperately to get their attention from the organ (giving them that "you are so dead if you don't sit down and shut up" look) but they always refused to look at me. Those are the Sundays I just wanted to hide under a bench.