Over the last year our family’s church attendance has been pretty awful. At first we took several weeks off because we were nervous about having an unpredictable newborn in church. Then there was the problem of Easton’s nap. He typically takes his morning nap around 9 or 9:30. Our church has only one Sunday service at 10:00. That means Easton either has to take a really early, really short nap or has to wait until we get home and go to church sleepy (and as anyone who is familiar with kids knows, a sleepy baby= a crabby baby).
When we actually did make it to church, Easton HATED it. It turns out that being stuck in our arms sitting still on a church pew was not his idea of a fun time. Our church does have a nursery, but they don’t take babies until they are 9 months old so we had no choice but to keep Easton with us. We tried several times but it was always the same thing. Within 15 minute he would be fussy and I would spend the rest of the service pacing around with him in the back, barely aware of what was happening in the sanctuary.
Then in mid October, Easton turned 9 months old, which meant he was finally old enough to go in the nursery. We were out of town the next 2 Sundays in a row but then I kept making excuses to stay home. The truth is I was so nervous to put my baby in the nursery! The people working in there are actual paid employees who have plenty of experience with children, so I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Still, I wasn’t used to leaving Easton with anyone. Since I stay home with him full-time Easton has never been in daycare or stayed with a babysitter. The only person who had ever watched him aside from Joe and me was my mom, and that only happened one time. Still, I really felt like I needed to start going to church regularly again and I knew that bringing Easton in with us would be 1000 times worse now that he loves to crawl, climb and scream.
This past Sunday I decided it was time to give it a try. Easton woke up that morning at 6:30, which was an hour earlier than usual. When he started to get crabby around 8:30, I tried to put him down for a nap but instead he got a second wind and just wanted to play. So we all got ready for church, knowing that Easton was already overdue for that nap, and just hoped for the best.
When we first walked into church, a sweet older woman was standing at the door to greet everyone. She took Easton’s hand and said good morning to him and he burst into tears. Joe and I just gave each other a look, both wondering if we were making a bad decision. But we kept on and got Easton signed in to the nursery and ready to go. When I handed him over to the woman in charge, he burst into tears again. So Joe and I came in, sat down on the floor with Easton played for a few minutes. Once he was distracted with toys, he seemed fine. So we both gave him a kiss and headed out. We peeked through the window in the hall for a minute. Easton seemed content playing with one of the nursery workers so we took our pager and headed into the sanctuary, placing bets on how long it would be before we were paged.
We made it through the opening songs and prayers and the pager was still quiet. As we listened to the announcements and sang a few more songs, Joe and I were both getting nervous and started glancing at the pager every few minutes. We were sure Easton had been crying since he noticed we were gone and we couldn’t believe they hadn’t called us back to get him yet.
Amazingly, we made it all the way through the sermon, communion, the offering, and the closing prayer and never got our page. As soon as the service ended, we dashed off to pick up Easton. When we got to the nursery, I peeked through that hallway window again to see what Easton was doing without us but I didn’t see him playing anywhere. Then I looked right under the window where one of the teenaged girls working in the nursery was rocking a baby. I did a double take and realized that the silent, sleeping baby in her arms was Easton!
When we picked him up, we were told that he had fallen asleep almost right away and stayed that way for the entire hour! I was absolutely stunned. I couldn’t believe that my kid—the one who fights sleeping every time we try to get him to nap, has only been away from both of us once before, has never been left with a stranger, and cries when we leave the room he’s in for more than a minute—had spent his first day in the nursery sleeping in a stranger’s lap!
Here I had been avoiding church for so long because I didn’t think Easton would tolerate being away from us and he did better than we ever could’ve imagined. It must be God’s way of telling me that I need stop making excuses and stop worrying and put my trust in Him. I’m going to do my best to do just that. So from now on if you need me on Sunday mornings, I’ll be in church listening to God’s word and not staring at that pager