Sunday, November 25, 2007

Speaking in Church

I just caught Daniel tearing pages out of Tim's Bible and shoving them into the CD player. I'm not sure what he thought would happen. They didn't play. Next time Tim looks for the book of James, he'll have an unpleasant surprise. Such is Sunday around here.

It was our turn to speak in church again. We haven't been asked to speak since we moved in, so it had to come sometime.

Naturally, given the season, the topic was gratitude. I actually learned a lot preparing for the talk.

I intended to just read quotes from General Authorities for the talk. What more could I say than has already been said--and eloquently?

Apparently plenty. I found myself sharing stories from my life to illustrate the points. Usually I plan this, but I have gotten the distinct impression that my fairly traditional ward thinks we're strange. Okay, it's more than an impression. People have told me they think I'm strange. More than once. So it was a little threatening to try to speak to them, so I had planned to stick to stuff other people have said. I hadn't taken into account my love of speaking to and teaching large groups of people, or my inability to keep my mouth shut.

I don't know if the talk helped my case for normalcy much. Naturally, after hearing a talk on gratitude, a lot of people felt compelled to say "thank you." I have no idea if it was heartfelt or guiltfelt thanks. One of the junior high aged boys sought me out after the meeting and made a comment that made me wonder if I helped my case or not. He said, "I'm going to ride my bike down the stairs!"

Oh. I said that, didn't I.

So much for giving people the impression that I run a normal household.

For the record, nobody's actually ridden their bike down the stairs. Yet. I believe my comment was something like some days I'm thankful that nobody's ridden their bike down the stairs, if nothing else.

I suppose there is a tradition of literary moms having insane households and telling about it. Like in "Please Don't Eat the Daisies." And Erma Bombeck. And that lady who wrote for the Daily Herald for years whose name has two 'A's in a row somewhere in the middle (Baadsgaard?--something like that).

Maybe by hearing that I catch my kids trying to take apart the walls to fix the imaginary broken water pipes--or having full-blown screaming matches over imaginary toys, or that they end up crying about grammar and usage debates, or that sometimes I find they've taken all the bedding and mattresses off the beds, or that they've dumped all the stored baby clothes into giant pile that they're swimming in and wearing (Again.), or that they added an entire bottle of shampoo to the bathwater and are feeding it to each other--maybe other moms will laugh a little and think their lives are, at least, normal.

I like to think that other families have these kinds of misadventures too, and they just don't talk about it as much as I do.

But maybe they laugh because they never even thought of these kinds of things happening before.

As one mom said a couple of years ago, "I don't think it would occur to me to worry about riding bikes down the stairs. I'd be shocked if the bikes came in the house."

I guess that's where I'm weird. I wouldn't be surprised at all if someone wanted to take the bikes to bed with them like any other kid takes a teddy bear. I might have an issue with it, but I wouldn't be surprised.

Oh, well. At least the talk went smoothly. And hopefully it won't be my turn for another couple of years.

By then we may have moved.


Laura said...

I find that other kids who come to our house just don't know what to do with themselves all too often. I don't hand out fruit snacks. I don't put on movies. We don't have all the regular toys and music and they are just stymied.

I've caught my kids doing the whole bottle of shampoo thing and trying on all the baby clothes. We've done some pretty weird things too, though it does sound more adventurous and creatively fun. How do you do that? Do you motivate these games? Are these from stories they have read or games they have played? Good heavens, where does all this fun stuff come from? (Grammer and usage debates? How does that work? :) )

Becca said...

How do I motivate these games?

I don't. I just try to keep up.

Some are from stories we read, some they make up, some are from some object sitting there begging to be broken/tried on/painted....

I used to say my kids see a clean floor as a canvas. It just sits there inviting--no begging--them to fill it with something.

And I let them, figuring their projects are as important to them as mine are to me.