The Tie Game– you begin by snuggling with a daddy or a brother with a tie.
After nearly two decades of wrangling wild little boys and their even crazier sister at church, I glanced over and noted all my children sitting quietly.
It wasn’t for long, within minutes I had to stand up and forcibly sit between two wrestling boys and well, I confess that I may have started some of the giggling by telling Gabe we were having cat food for Sunday dinner. But really, in general, they quietly play the dot game, fiddle with Mary’s etch-a-sketch and even listen to the speakers. A pastime of their own invention is the drawing game where they draw little sketches– five heads bent over one scrap of paper– and the pen goes to whoever guesses the subject first.
Gone are the days of babies throwing up on my new dress, crying and scattering Cheerios. No one yells, “I’m going to punch you in the face!” and even Gabe has given up his habit of shouting “That’s me!” any time someone mentioned the Angel Gabriel.
So many Sundays, I sat in the lobby with my toddlers, defeated by their antics and wondering why on earth I kept coming. And then there was the week an elderly lady frowned at Mary scolding, “Have you had that child checked by a doctor? She’s the most hyperactive baby I’ve seen in my eighty-five years!” That week I fled to the hall in tears, vowing never to come back.
But of course I did.
And so I revel in our peaceful row: boys in white shirts, Gabe with mismatched socks, Mary in a gorgeous dress. Even with Erik visiting other wards most weeks, they are fairly quiet with their games and whispers. I’ll never insist on complete silence; it’s always been more important to me to help my children feel loved and happy at church than to impress anyone with my perfectly disciplined progeny.
Still, we all have our limits. Last week when the meeting went long, Mary leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Can I go out in the hall and just be bad for a few minutes? Then I think I can come back in and be good.”