|Where I spend much of my Sundays - the mother's room!|
Our Sundays these days involve getting up at 5:00 a.m. Between that wee hour (hypothetically a normal waking time for us, but Sundays are especially painful) and 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. when we must leave, we need to make the three meals of the day, get everyone fed, dressed, and packed into the bike.
The bike. Our Mormon pioneer ancestors used wagons to cross the American plains when things were good, and handcarts when things were bad. Handcart companies were the poorest, and, often, the most faithful of the thousands of Latter-day Saints to cross the plains. The handcart has become a symbol of sacrifice and faith within Mormon lore - true miracles that are better than any kind of fiction.
The bike is our handcart, and almost everything we own (it seems) goes into it every Sunday: lunch, snacks, a gluten free option to enable Lance to eat the sacrament without sleeping through church, two bottles, the baby bag, the stroller for Gideon to nap in, the trug for Esther to nap in, high heels for me, Lance's brief case, my purse, and our two snuggly children. Lance rides it up to church, and I ride it back, while the other gets a break by riding the bus sans children.
We try certain things to keep the day normal - naps are still attempted. Gideon sleeps in the handicapped bathroom, Esther in the mother's room, and Lance on the stand (ok, only sometimes--usually when he's had the sacrament bread rather than a chip or a rice cake). I attempt to feed everyone (including Lance) at the right times.
But try as I might, going to three hours of church plus the two hours of round-trip travel (at least) and another hour or so for Lance's morning meetings destroys naps and meals and makes the children miserable for at least that day if not the rest. It takes me anywhere from 1-3 days to get my children back on track.
Besides that, I spend much of church in the mother's room, in the hallway, kitchen, or in the nursery with Gideon (who decided he didn't like nursery though he'd been going peacefully for months before he was "old enough" the moment he turned 18 months - the official starting age for nursery).
So is it worth it? Wouldn't I be better off if I just didn't go and spent the day peacefully at home?
No, I'm not better off, and yes, it is worth it. I stayed home on a Sunday a couple of weeks ago when I was poorly and attempting to finally feel well after weeks of sickness- tough considering the physical impact church has on us given our biking and public transport commute. The next week I missed not having taken the sacrament desperately. It didn't matter that I felt like Esther's day schedule was almost finally on track or that Gideon whined less for two days. The snippets of church that I am able to enjoy, especially partaking of the Sacrament, does something for my soul that I cannot get in any other way. Perhaps it is the sacrifice involved. Perhaps it is meeting with the Saints. Perhaps it is feeling the Spirit from what others have learned and being energised by their faithful struggling--it all matters in making me a spiritually whole person for the week.
For those out there who go to church on a Sunday with little ones, what do you do to make the day a spiritual one?