Monday, November 30, 2009

Of Choirs, Mouthwash, and Superkid

Nice to see a few summer flowers on a cold, dreary day like today.

I had fun at church yesterday.  I'm always glad to be at church, but it isn't fun every Sunday.  This could quite possibly be because for the past while, the Bionic Man has not been able to sit with us during the congregational meeting.  He is in the bishopric (translation for non-Mormon readers: he is an assistant pastor) so he sits near the podium.  Many Sundays, just as I begin to enjoy the speakers, I see my husband wiggling his eyebrows and tilting his head in the direction of Superkid.....who, unbeknownst to me, is in the process of climbing over the pew, letting the baby on the pew in front of us feed her his cheerios, trying to somersault her way across the bench she is sitting on, or otherwise entertaining herself in some equally irreverent--not to mention dangerous--way.  The other two children have grown to be quite civilized during worship services, but Superkid still has a spirit that is too big to be contained quietly for long by her little body.

Anywho, perhaps it was the additional adult support on our bench provided by Aunt Lisa, who was visiting us for Thanksgiving.  She kept Superkid occupied during choir practice before church and during our congregational meeting.  (Thank you, Aunt Lisa!)  I really had a chance to listen to our speakers, and they had such well-prepared, insightful messages.  Always nice to walk out of the meeting feeling as if you've been to a spiritual feast.

Choir practice was fun yesterday, too.  Have I mentioned that I am the choir director?  I love being choir director.  It is so fun to tell people what to do, and not have anyone accuse me of being bossy.  Director=Boss.  I especially enjoy telling people to sing.  Sing loudly.  With feeling.  I even get to tell them when to breathe.  (My choir doesn't get to breathe unless there is a comma.  I'm very demanding.)

Of course, Primary definitely contributed to the overall good time I had yesterday.  Have I told you how much I love going to Primary?  (Translation for non-Mormons readers: Primary is Sunday School for children 3-12.)  I was in charge of the lessons for the two large groups of children (translation for Mormon readers: I did Sharing Time.).  We were learning about how service can bless ourselves and others, and how we can serve within our own families.  I had some of the younger children come up to the front of the room and play charades: they silently acted out an act of service while the other children guessed what they were doing.  One little girl pantomimed making her mother's bed.  Another little boy pretended to rock his baby sister.  The last child stood before the group and stuck his hands in his pockets, puffed out his cheeks with air, and moved his lips around a little bit.  I thought he had told me beforehand that he would be cleaning his room.....I wondered if this was how he cleaned his room (must drive his mother nuts!) or if it was just stage fright.  But the other children were enthusiastically guessing as this little boy stood there with puffed cheeks and I tried to decide what to do.  "I know!  I know!"  one of the children waved a hand, "He's using mouthwash!"

Remember, the lesson was on service.

The little boy un-puffed his cheeks and nodded proudly.  He was using mouthwash!  I really could have laughed a great, big, belly laugh out loud, right there.  Instead, I smiled widely, avoided eye contact with the other adults in the room, and said, "Oh yes, making sure we smell clean and fresh is such a good way to serve our families.  I bet your family is so happy when your breath smells good."  The little boy looked pleased as punch that he'd come up with such a profound act of love and service.  Mouthwash!

Superkid gave me one other fun experience at church, yesterday.  It was almost time for Primary to end, when she indicated that she needed to use the restroom.  As I waited for her to finish (which sometimes takes a long time, because Superkid often lets conversation and singing get in the way of the business at hand), I inspected myself in the full-length mirror.  I picked at a bit of dry skin on my face.  I tugged at my skirt and buttoned and un-buttoned my jacket, trying to achieve the ultimate illusion of thinness.  I frowned at the bit eyeliner that had smudged.  I worried about the length of my sleeves.  I sighed over my hair.  I wondered if I needed to get whitening toothpaste.  I turned from side to side, sucking in my stomach and trying to decide if yoga was doing anything for me.

After several long minutes of my silent self-criticism, Superkid flushed the toilet and skipped out of the stall.  She washed and dried her hands, and then turned towards the exit, facing the full-length mirror as she did so. Superkid grinned widely and stepped closer to the mirror.  She leaned towards it and took a good look at herself, smiling at what she saw.  "I look really great today!" Superkid told me proudly.  "Don't you think so, Mommy?"

"You sure do," I replied.

"My new glasses are really nice, and the hole where my tooth fell out is so cool!" Superkid said happily.

What a great lesson that was for me!  I want to be more like Superkid.  And I want her to feel that way about herself forever.  I want Endeavor and Justone to feel that way, too.  To be able to look in the mirror and not see things that need to be fixed or changed or things that bother us, but instead look to see someone special who has unique traits and feel great about it.  I wish I could bottle some of that healthy self-esteem, and share it.  There are so many of us that could use it.

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