“Everyone out to the van!” I bellowed. Our routine scramble-out-the-door-for-church had begun. “I’ll grab the baby and be right out.”
The four kids piled into the van while I dashed upstairs and scooped up 5 week-old, Grace, out of my bed. She would go to church in her sleeper, wrapped in a receiving blanket and I would wear her in the sling once we got there.
No frilly, fancy baby clothes
I wasn’t much for dressing up new babies in fancy clothes. The criteria for my own wardrobe was whether or not it was ‘nursing in public friendly’ and it had to be something I wouldn’t care if it got stained with mustardy, newborn poo. No…frilly, fancy baby or mama clothes didn’t have a place in my world with five kids.
We drove up the steep, three blocks to church. Environmental friendliness wasn’t even on my radar. The simplest way for the six of us to get up that hill was to drive. Oh sure – the older kids would sometimes take off early and walk, or we would get the quaint notion to all walk together like “in the olden days,” as the kids put it – but I was too overwhelmed to worry about carbon dioxide emissions or quaintness.
She can go without shoes today
After opening the van door to get out Baby Grace, I noticed 3 year-old Liz was barefoot.
“Didn’t anyone help Liz get her shoes on?” I asked the older kids before they jumped out of the van.
Three sets of eyes blankly stared back at me. I was answered with a bunch of mumbling, “I dunnos,” and the shrugging of shoulders. Grace was beginning to fuss, so I wasn’t about to drive back home.
The kids held their breath, wondering which one would be picked to walk down the hill for the shoes. It’s only early October, I reasoned. We are homeschoolers after all – aren’t we supposed to do weird stuff like go to church barefoot?
I sighed and said, “Just leave it – she can go without shoes today.” The older kids were out of the van in a flash – before I had to chance to change my mind. Liz ran after them – barefoot in October.
the familiar sound of baby blow-out
Just minutes after getting Grace settled into her sling against me, I winced at the familiar sound of ‘baby blow-out’. Within seconds, newborn poo oozed through the sling and warmed my skin. Maybe no one would notice the yellowish stain I knew was developing on my shirt.
One of my favorite worship songs is Come, just as you are, to worship. I know the meaning is more about the condition of one’s heart and God meeting us wherever we are in our walk. My heart wanted my children at church – but the best I could manage on that day was to come to worship with a barefoot child, a baby in a rumpled, receiving blanket and me, wearing a poo-stained shirt.