The Quest for a Virtual Job

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I haven’t written much about my job hunt lately since there honestly hasn’t been much exciting to report. Job “offers” have been recanted, interviews have reached dead ends and the hunt simply continues. For now I’ve been keeping busy with some small projects to help improve my skills, scanning job listings and trying to stay optimistic overall.

Anyone who knows me well is aware that I hope to actually land a virtual position. I had worked remotely for several years and even the projects I’m working on today have been for folks in various states outside of mine. I consider it a no-brainer to work outside of an office atmosphere and I work very hard at providing quality work on time. I consider working remotely to be a valuable benefit and I take it very seriously.

Unfortunately, a virtual job has been difficult to find. I find it strange that more companies, especially high tech companies, haven’t bought into flexible work solutions. Today we can store files on a “cloud” that users can access from anywhere. We are able to have virtual meetings using tools like Skype. Heck, we can get a full high school and college degree without ever setting foot in a classroom. The world no longer has boundaries. I interviewed at a company that proudly provided online college educations with various top universities around the country. During my interview I was asked about my last job and which branch I worked out of. I told them that my group was based in California and New England and therefore I had been telecommuting for seven years. The interviewer stated “Oh….Well you realize that this job is here in our office, right?” While I was well aware of this fact, I thought it was a funny statement. After all, this company provides a remote education but couldn’t offer a remote job. It made no sense to me.

On a separate phone interview for a company based in Texas, the hiring manager said I would be “perfect” for the job. It was a great fit. But since I wasn’t able to relocate at that time, they had to move on. It’s a shame that companies have to overlook candidates because of their location. Imagine if you could have a great employee and it didn’t matter where the person lived. I don’t think you need to imagine. You can simply hire that person, set them up with all the tools that allow for remote work and be happy with your choice. Would the work get done that much differently if the employee was in the office? Well, we all know how Yahoo’s CEO would probably answer that question.

Maybe that’s just it. While I don’t fully agree with Ms. Mayer’s decision to completely nix Yahoo’s remote work option, I understand how she got there. When employees abuse their flexible work setups, then management loses their trust in them. Let’s face it, some folks are simply not cut out for working remotely. Some people need the office environment to improve their focus. I get that. If you’re at home and you’re going to focus on laundry instead of your work, then maybe the office is a better setup for you. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, don’t ruin it for others by slacking off and making a bad name for virtual work. I would also think that it’s also important for managers to know what their employees are up to in the first place. Are they seeing the expected results from their team?

For the rest of us, I think there should be more virtual options available. There are so many benefits to both the employee and the employer! Someone who doesn’t have to deal with an hour long commute to work is probably pretty happy in the morning. I haven’t done any studies, but I’m going to say that happy employees are hard working employees. How about all of those sick days? An office employee might stay home from work if they have a bad cold, resulting in their work being delayed for a day or two. Or perhaps they will still go into the office, feeling miserable and spreading germs to their coworkers. A remote employee is more likely to login to their laptop, work their regular shift and keep their germs to themselves! Right there, you’ve stopped the sickness cycle where one gets sick, then they all get sick. Managers: that’s just one example of an increase in productivity! There’s more…. Decreased overhead costs surely help the bottom line, right? Let’s not forget the benefits to the environment as well. Less traffic means less pollution. Plus, I’m sure that those who do need to commute for their jobs would like to have an easier commute, right? Let’s move out of their way!

Yes, I realize that my little blog post will not reach the browser of a CEO and that I’m likely “preaching to the choir.” I can certainly hope that there are a few folks that understand my points. In any event, I’m still actively job hunting. So if you know of any web content jobs out there for me, I can assure you that I can do that job….. and I can do it from anywhere!

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How to Almost Ruin a Kid’s Birthday Party

My daughter turned six last month. She wanted a party, so I carefully planned out something that I thought would be easy. Last year we held her party at a local kids gym type place. Now that was easy. Hardly any work at all. I could simply snap photos of the party, while two energetic girls entertained the kids and then cleaned up after them when it was done. This year I decided the park would be a nice option. I could supply pizza and cake and let the kids entertain themselves on the playground. Easy enough, right? Let me tell you how this party nearly turned into a disaster….several times.

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After some research online, I found that the park pavilion I wanted to rent would cost me a mere $55 for the entire day. What a bargain! I booked it and the planning began. My daughter chose a unicorn theme party. I was going to make this the best damn unicorn party there ever was. And how does one plan the best damn unicorn party? By looking at the REAL best damn unicorn party photos that have been pinned to Pinterest. Some Moms seem to have way too much time (and patience) on their hands! After I saw those photos/pins, I decided that I would just do the best I could.

IMG_6760Unicorn invitations – check. Pin the horn on the unicorn game – check. Unicorn cake toppers – check. Rainbow cake – check. I wanted to have some fun with the goody bags and found some cute unicorn goblets and unicorn pops that would be perfect. Check!

IMG_6758 Pinterest did give me this cool idea. Because what party is complete without a fruit rainbow on a stick with a marshmallow cloud on the bottom? How clever I would look, right? I made 40 of these. After the 38th one my husband asked me if the sticks might be a bit hazardous. He’s really great with timing, isn’t he? I made a mental note to make sure the kids ate these while sitting. Surely their parents would advise their children to do the same…

IMG_6791The last, but most important party item? A piñata of course! Every kid loves a piñata and this was the best unicorn piñata I could find. I felt bad about having the kids smash this cute unicorn to smithereens, but the piñata was a must!

Almost Disaster #1: As you can see, I had everything figured out. I checked the weather ten (yes TEN) days before the party. Did you know that April in Florida is supposedly the 2nd driest month of the year? Guess they didn’t mean this year! On the date of the party, weather.com displayed a cloud with a lightning bolt through it. Fantastic. But it was still ten days away. Weather can change. But it didn’t. As we got closer and closer, the lightning cloud was still showing up and the thunderstorm chances crept up to a 70% chance. I needed a backup plan – STAT! I knew I had a good sized pavilion to keep us dry, so I was determined to have the party: rain or shine. I now needed to figure out how to entertain the kids. I created a unicorn ring toss game. So clever. I bought play doh, sidewalk chalk, extra balloons, and planned to bring crayons and paper and whatever else I could think of. I was also panicking slightly. As it turned out, the sun was shining on party day. Crisis averted! Thank goodness.

My husband asked me if he thought parents would stay with their kids or drop them off. Now, this is a fairly large park. I was certain that parents wouldn’t assume I could keep my eyes on all of their kids, right? Apparently some of them did. The first two parents to arrive asked if I minded if they went to run errands. With their child standing there, eagerly waiting to join the party, I was left saying “um….sure?” Thankfully, this didn’t turn into a disaster.

IMG_6766Almost Disaster #2: So games were played and kids were fed and everyone seemed to be having a good time. The rainbow fruit sticks were a hit, but I was pretty busy telling a few of the kids to sit down instead of running around with them. I feared the bamboo sticks would pierce some kid’s eyeball. My husband simply looked at me with a “Didn’t I tell you?” look on his face. Sigh. Yes, you did. No more rainbow fruit sticks!

Almost Disaster #3: A few kids showed up with scooters. Hey, great idea! They were having so much fun scooting around the pavilion. You know what’s not fun? Watching the kid on a scooter with a unicorn pop in his mouth. Yes, my sweet daughter handed out the goody bags early. Note to self: explain to her what “parting gift” means!

IMG_6796Almost Disaster #4: The piñata was also a big hit (no pun intended). It was also a giant panic attack waiting to happen. Man, those kids can really swing a stick! I put my Mom in charge of the camera while I held back the kids who were excitedly creeping closer and closer to the pinata and the swinging stick. There may have been a few near misses to my own head. Fortunately, they were all misses! Boy was I glad when that thing finally fell to the ground and was emptied out!

Almost Disaster #5: After a fun filled, two hour party, the guests started to leave and I started cleaning up. Next thing I know, a woman arrives, hastily telling us we had to leave because she had the park reserved for a large party. Huh? Didn’t I technically have the park for the day? She showed us her official reservation sheet. I had no offical reservation sheet like this… Then I realized my mistake. Yes, I reserved the wrong park. A slight park name confusion on my part. Whoops! How did I luck out that my party ended before this woman arrived? It must have been the magic of the unicorn!

We got our stuff packed in my car and waited for the last parent to show up and pick up her child (late). I then vowed to never have another party with so many sticks. On the way home I asked my daughter if she had fun. She said “Yes, this was the best birthday party ever!” That statement made all of it worth it. I thanked my lucky stars that everything worked out – almost – as I had planned.

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The Love/Hate Relationship with a 3 Year Old

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Age three. In my six years of parenting, age three has proven to be the most challenging age….ever. Three year olds are speaking more clearly but expressing themselves poorly. They have high demands and no patience. They know exactly how to push your buttons, but pretend to be the innocent child that didn’t know better. They get pissed off, have a full out tantrum, and then walk away cheerfully like nothing happened. I managed to survive one feisty three year old, so one would think I’d have age three all figured out. Yeah, not so much. Oh what fun three is. (said in my most sarcastic voice!)

Today was pretty similar to any other day of my son’s three year old existence. I open the door to his room this morning and he greets me with squeals and a smile. “Mummy!” Aw, he’s so cute, isn’t he? “OK, Josh. Let’s go pee.” He heads to the bathroom and says “I don’t want to wash my hands.” I calmly tell him, “Um, yes, you’ll be washing your hands after you pee.” Then comes the glare and a grunt. That’s just part of the “control” thing that three year olds like. I read about that. All the good parenting websites advise parents to give their kids a sense of control. So I let him choose his clothes. I open his dresser drawer and say “Which shirt would you like to wear today?” His response? “You do it!” OK, then. The boy has chosen me to pick out his clothes. Then he dances around naked until I can get him to focus and dressed. Three year olds don’t have a lot of focus, by the way – I think that skill comes at age 45ish for boys.

“OK buddy, what would you like for breakfast? Toast or cereal?” He responds by telling me he doesn’t want to go to school today. I tell him, yes, he’s going to school today and again ask him what would he like for breakfast. He shouts “I’m thirsty!” I tell him to ask me nicely. “May I please have some milk.” It’s not a question, it’s a statement, but it will do. So I respond, “Yes you may. Now, would you like toast or cereal with your milk?” He shouts “TOOOAAAST!” Sigh. This is the point where I “choose my battles.” Because the good parenting books tell parents to do that. It is good advice, because he eats his toast and later tells me he is going to play blocks with Gabby at school today. Great! He also gives me hugs and kisses. He’s really so sweet.

Evenings are a pleasure. “Mommy, what are we having for dinner?” If my answer isn’t hot dogs or chicken nuggets, then his response is a guaranteed “I don’t like that.” I tell him “well, that’s what we’re having.” (That’s Mommy talk for: deal with it, kiddo.) So in the deepest, quietest, most threatening three year old voice he can muster up, coupled with a serious mean look, he tells me “I don’t like you.” I cheerfully respond with, “OK, then you won’t need a treat after dinner tonight.” As quick as can be, he says “I like you, Mommy!!!” Yeah, thought so. Mommy wins.

After I give my son his bath, he insists that Daddy get him dressed. “Well, Daddy is on the phone, so Mommy can help this time,” I try to reason. “No! I want Daddy! Don’t look at me.” Fine, whatever. I walk away. See? I’m choosing battles AND giving him control here…..sorry hubby, you’re up! The same conversation happens with bedtime stories. “Go away! I want Daddy.” Right now, Daddy is THE man! It’s ok, because I was THE woman for the past couple years, so I’m happy to share my pedestal and get something else done.

Once I convince my son that it really is time to go to sleep, he gives me a big hug and a sweet little kiss. He then utters the best words of all: “I love you, Mommy.” Ah, it just melts my heart. Aren’t three year olds so sweet?

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Napping – Defined by My Son

It all starts off so promising. “Joshua, it’s time for a nap.” Even if he pushes back, I inevitably get him into his bed, give him a sip of water and a kiss on the cheek. I walk out and shut the door and hope to enjoy, what will hopefully be, a couple hours of blissful silence and my son having a peaceful rest:

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Joshua has other plans though. As soon as the door clicks shut, it is him time to party like a preschool rock star.

He has this little frog lovey that you can see in the above picture. His name is Fwoggy, of course. I’ve learned that Fwoggy is the instigator and Fwoggy likes to party. Joshua and Fwoggy start to chat and the conversation quickly escalates into hooting and hollering. The party goes from the bed to the recliner and essentially all over the room. I figure if he’s out of my hair for a bit, then no harm done. I still have my trusty video monitor for a reason! It has captured the partying for a couple of years now. For example, this was the gymnastics party he had before we converted his crib:

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After a while, I’m guessing that Fwoggy does something to irritate Joshua, because that’s when the screaming begins. It goes on and on. Sometimes it’s playful and sometimes it’s angry. It eventually ends and the calm chatter continues…..and turns into singing. We’re talking about a full-on concert. Just when I thought the holidays were four months behind us, he starts up with Jingle Bells and FaLaLaLaLa and all those holiday favorites. There are the Disney Jr. favorites such as Mickey Mouse’s “roll call,” Little Einstein’s “Rocket Ship,” and of course Doc McStuffin’s “Tiiiiiiime for your CHECKUP!” Of course “Happy Birthday”, the ABCs, “Old McFarmer” and other educational tunes are in the mix. I won’t deny it, the kid can sing! Unfortunately, I tend to fall asleep at night to the sound of one of these songs still ringing in my head.

After the concert, there’s is more discussion with Fwoggy. Then the chatter sounds really loud. That is when Joshua is now talking to anyone who will listen to him through the bottom of his door. The other day I heard “Mommy? Mmmmwwwah! Mommy.” Then I heard “Daddy? Hey Daddy, I had a good nap!” If one of us walks by the room and he sees our feet he shouts “Hey, come here! I see you!” I should mention that his door isn’t locked, but he will still sometimes reach out like a caged up animal begging for freedom:

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On my lucky days, he will wear himself out and fall asleep….somewhere…..anywhere really:

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Why do I take so many pictures of him napping? Because 1. It amuses me and 2. He’s napping. He’s nearing age 4 and I know the naps are slowly going away. These days, I’m grateful for the time he plays OR naps in his room so that I can pull myself together for the next round of his energy within the rest of the house.

As for the mess on the floor? I ask Joshua about that when he wakes up. “How did all that stuff end up on the floor?” His response was “Fwoggy did it.” Of course. 🙂

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This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

IMG_6753I can’t have nice things. I have two children and a dog. They have taken over my house and their tiny hands have destroyed it little by little. I clean. I organize. It doesn’t matter. I have two huge sets of sliding glass doors that lead to our back patio. It’s a virtual workout to clean the glass. In just 60 seconds or less after cleaning, there is 10 hand prints, two nose prints, lips and remnants of a dog sneeze on various areas of the glass. If only they were walls instead of glass. Except that there are constant mystery marks on my white walls at any given time. The Mr. Clean magic eraser and I are best friends since it is the only thing that can “erase” these marks that torture me. It is now spring and time for spring cleaning. But for me, it’s simply a time to try to keep up with the increase of mess that is brought in from the great outdoors. With all the grass that makes it onto my floor, it’s amazing there’s any lawn left outside. And didn’t I just vacuum that floor an hour ago?

My youngest child is a boy. True to the boy stereotype, he is a destroyer. If you build a tower, he will knock it over. If you draw a picture, he will crumple the paper. Yes, thanks to my three year old, we have shredded books, broken plastic toys, a broken kid chair and an almost six year old daughter who is constantly frustrated with him due to his destruction. We can’t have nice things….at least not around my boy. I ask him: “Did you break this?” He bats his blue eyes at me, waves his hand in the air and says “We don’t break our toys!” OK kid, practice what you preach.

That doesn’t mean that little girls are clean and gentle creatures. Oh no. They are just different in their destruction methods. For example, I give each kid a chocolate chip cookie. My son eats the cookie. My daughter eats around each chocolate chip since she is “saving them for last.” As a result she creates a massive chocolate mess on her hands, face, shirt, table, chair, floor and the wall she touches on the way to wash up. My son looks squeaky clean in comparison. Go figure. My daughter has also managed to create a collage of sorts on my kitchen table. You see, she’s an artist. With every work of art she creates, she leaves a trail of paint, marker, tape, glue and of course glitter, behind. My beloved magic eraser can only do so much. I’ve learned that “washable” is sometimes a lie. (Hey Crayola, you might want to do some quality control on the color BLUE!) So my kitchen table has “character” now. Some day I will get a new table, but for now, I can’t have nice things.

The list goes on. When we got our new car a few years ago, it was “christened” by my children’s dirty shoes. There may have been a crayon incident too. (Lesson learned – check for crayons before entering the car!) Shirts and pants have been tossed due to paint and dirt and chocolate stains that even my stain stick simply laughed at. This is why I buy the $8 children’s clothing at Kohl’s.

We have a ten year old English Bulldog (aka: messy dog). We recently got her a nice new dog bed. How did she thank us? By peeing and vomiting on it. Not on the nearby tile that would have been easier to clean. On the actual bed. Even the dog can’t have nice things. Well ok, who am I kidding….she slobbers and sheds on everything anyways.

As if all that isn’t enough, even my garage has taken revenge on our nice things. I walked in the other morning to see that a big piece of our artificial Christmas tree had fallen off a high shelf onto my daughter’s princess bike. It broke the pink carriage shaped basket off the bike and into four unrepairable pieces. Really, tree? What did the bike ever do to you? I now had to convince my daughter that a flower basket was just as nice as the previous basket.

So I’ve learned to just let it go. I do what I can. One day I will have nice things that stay nice. I don’t know when, but the day will surely come. For now, I have my magic eraser.

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Confessions of a Helicopter Mom

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This isn’t much of a confession as it is a realization that I’ve had for some time now. I’m a helicopter Mom. I’m the Mom that some recently shared blog posts are talking about. The hovering Mom at the park. The one who can’t seem to relax. The one who thinks her kids are going to hurt themselves more often than not. Raising hand. I admit it. Although I’m not so extreme as to shield them from all of life’s disappointments (eg. they are responsible for their own school projects with minimal assistance). Nor do I feel the need to protect non-helicopter parent’s children. In fact, I will happily separate myself out from those Moms who need to hover over other children. I’ve got two kids and that’s enough for me. You’re in charge of your own!

With that being said, I don’t think helicopter Moms are necessarily as bad as they’re made out to be. However, I do realize that I need to step back a bit and let my kids learn for themselves. As they get older, I’m able to do this more and more, but I’ve been mostly “hands on” during these younger years. There was one instance where I was visiting a friend who had one of those little plastic standalone slides. My son was two years old at the time and was used to the slides at our local park that were wider and had a large platform at the top. This little slide was tricky for him since it was much narrower. How would he get those short, chunky legs into position? I tried to stand back and let him figure it out. With one eye always on him, I held my breath as he looked about to tumble overboard. My friend told me to relax. That he would figure it out. But I know that my son is stubborn and gets pissed off pretty easily. It was starting….the frustration….the anger….the tantrum. I just wanted to catch up with my friends and now I would be dealing with his meltdown and a bruised limb. I didn’t want that to happen so I had to step in. I helped to show him how to swing his legs out in front of him. He slid down the slide with a smile. I could go back to enjoying myself….after a few more tries.

It’s not easy being a helicopter Mom. I envy those parents that can read a magazine on the bench and not worry about what contraption their kid is on. When I visit someone’s home for a playdate, I worry about what my little one is getting into that is either off limits or potentially dangerous. “Excuse me while I remove my child from your bedroom and pry the other child off your poor, hissing cat….” Sure a cat scratch will teach my son to hug it a bit less, but I’m more concerned about a scratched eyeball that might blind him. When I go to the park with my two kids, there is no sitting. I am pretty sure my kids secretly plot against me on the drive there. When we arrive, they immediately separate into the two furthest areas of the large park. Both of which simply cannot be viewed at the same time due to the trees and slides and other kids. I should let them be and let them play. However, I’m sure there are child predators lurking and just waiting for the right moment to snatch up my overly friendly five year old (who can happily recite her address and the school she attends to anyone who asks). I should let my son try the sloping, metal, ladder thing. I should. If only I didn’t have those psychic visions of him slamming face forward into one of the metal bars and breaking four of his front teeth. I am sure that I really do have the gift of predicting disasters and therefore I work to avoid them.

Go ahead and laugh at me. I know I’m being over cautious. I know I “need to let them problem solve.” It’s a flaw….or maybe it’s not. Maybe they will learn these lessons a little slower, but that’s my choice. They are my kids and if I want to avoid an ER payment or even a tantrum, I will step in. Be thankful you are not me. I won’t interfere with your parenting style but I will ask you to let me be. I may observe what your children are doing and question if I could be as laid back as you are. Maybe I’ll even take a step back in an effort to appear laid back. My kids are getting older, taller and stronger, so each day brings them increased confidence. And despite what others may believe, I can see my children problem solving in their own way. I am getting more comfortable with letting them be and someday soon I will be able to fully relax at the park. So while I’m hovering over my kids, please enjoy your magazine and know that I will happily relax on a neighboring bench as soon as I’m ready.

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The Church Attempt

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I used to consider myself to be a pretty good Catholic girl. I went to Mass by myself on a weekly basis, prayed regularly and just tried to be an overall good Catholic. I had both of my children baptized, but that’s where my Catholic parenting was put on pause. I dreaded the thought of bringing either baby to church. It seemed way too overwhelming. As toddlers, the idea seemed amusing. “Oh sure, my two year old in a church?! Yeah, right!” I’ve had excuses for over five years.

Since living in Florida, I’ve noticed there are a lot of church goers. I was asked by a neighbor “What church do you go to?” to which I responded “Oh, um, well, I haven’t really gone yet, but um, well, yeah I should probably think about going…..” It seems that all of my daughter’s friends are going to church or bible study or something. My daughter even once asked me “Mommy, when do I get to go to a church?”  Then there was our recent discussion about Christmas. To my daughter, it was all about presents and Santa and more presents. I tried to explain to her that Christmas was more than that. It was about baby Jesus. She then asked who “cheez-its” was. I told her “It is baby JESUS’ birthday.” She then asked if we were having cake. I knew I was failing as a Catholic parent.

Since she would be starting her “Faith Classes” (also known as CCD to us old school Catholics) in the fall, I figured I should probably introduce her to church. My husband reminded me how much he hated church as a kid. I told him I remember too, but I would make it better for her. I would find a way to get her to at least tolerate it. I didn’t think it would be appropriate to bring activities or snacks, so I left them at home. However, as an “experienced” parent, I knew to prep my daughter. I explained that her and I were going to church and there would be stories and songs. There were be a piano or organ (because of course I wasn’t sure which instrument our church used.) I emphasized the fact that she was to sit and be quiet and listen nicely. I explained that she would be shaking hands with the strangers around us at some point. I was sure that she understood my instructions.

So my daughter and I arrived at church and I showed her how to bless herself with the holy water. She got confused so I ended up doing it for her. (I just didn’t feel right that she was half-blessing herself.) We found a seat and waited a few moments for Mass to start. She perked up at hearing the music. I pointed out the priest in the purple robe. I figured she’d be ok for the hour. An hour of stories she wouldn’t understand and songs she couldn’t sing to. She would be fine!

About 10-15 minutes into it, things started to go downhill. First it was the questions she would ask at her normal voice level. I reminded her to whisper and sit nicely. Then reality set in. “This is boring! This is making me hungry! Can we leave?” Crap. So then she decided to lie down with her head in my lap. Which quickly turned to thrashing, so I propped her back up on her chair. “OW! You hurt me!” Ohhhhh, great. At this point I was thinking the families around me were despising me right about now. I had no idea what to do. Make a break for it? No. I would stay and we would get through this. So I handed her the Mass book. She happily took it and started flipping through the pages. She told me she would look for sight words. Perfect….until she loudly said “THE…THE…AN…IT…IS…THE…” I tried hushing her with no luck. Why couldn’t she whisper?! So I tried to ignore her. It was time to stand. She ripped a page of the book in the process. Great.

As we were standing during the gospel, she started poking me. She started at my leg (ignore her), then my hip, then side (ignore it…), arm, then boob and again the boob. Seriously! I told her to sit down and cut it out. I am now thinking “Lord, help me” and I KNOW He could hear me, but He was probably just smiling at my misery. Once it was time to give peace to our neighbors, my face was probably crimson red. Since the folks in front of us didn’t turn around, I turned to a mother and her two teenaged daughters behind us. I put on my bravest face and shook their hands and instructed my daughter to do the same. The mother and one of the daughters smiled. The other daughter avoided eye contact.

When communion was served, I explained to my daughter that there would be one more prayer and one more song and then we could go. She asked why everyone was getting out of their seats. Since she had already told me she was hungry, I needed to choose my words wisely. “They are just going up there for a minute and coming back to sit.” She responded by asking “but what are they DOING?” I told her “they are going up to receive the body of….(no that won’t make sense)… the…the bread.”  She immediately shouted “I want bread!” Noooo! I explained that it was special bread and she would get her first one in a couple of years after going to church more and special school to learn about Jesus.

Thankfully, communion was over and the church got silent. I guess she thought it was the perfect time to should out gleefully “YAY! It’s almost time to go!” Mortified. I think I may have heard a silent chuckle. Or perhaps I was desperately hoping to hear that. I was simply mortified. Thank goodness it was over. I turned to the teenager behind us and apoligised for my daughter constantly backing her chair into her knees. The teenager didn’t seem pleased but at least her mother gave me a supportive “It’s OK” look with an understanding smile. We walked towards the door and I asked my daughter if she would like to bless herself again. She responded with a firm no. I blessed myself. I felt I needed it.

We walked up to the priest and I introduced us to him. The nice man did a quick blessing for my daughter. He then asked if we were new in town. Now I certainly wasn’t going to lie to a priest, so I told him no, but I wanted to try and come to church more often with my daughter getting ready to start faith classes soon. I’m hoping my daughter didn’t see his raised eyebrow and I’m hoping he couldn’t read my mind when I thought “How in the world will I ever come back here with my daughter?!”

It took me a couple days before admitting my failure to my husband and admitting that he was right and that I was not prepared. I’m not sure when I will attempt a church outing again, but I do know that I will be bringing snacks and a coloring book with crayons and maybe a nice children’s book about Jesus. I need to at least keep her from calling Jesus a cheez-it. Baby steps. Amen.

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