Katie Templeton and her family joined our church last Fall. On a recent Sunday she recalled her experiences with the Wednesday pre-school and elementary grades children’s choirs, whose season culminated this month with a musical presented in worship. We asked Katie to share some of her reflections here in our blog:
Since choir practice ended around dinnertime, from the beginning we included dinner at church in the Wednesday evening routine. I really enjoyed our Wednesday tradition for the obvious reasons of being thankful for Doug’s great musical leadership and how much my daughter Bridget enjoyed singing with her friends in choir each week. But as a stay at home mom with a husband who works long hours, I also enjoyed the chance to spend time with other adults and swap stories on our latest parenting triumphs and challenges.
To a casual observer, our routine of having two different choirs with kids from ages two to early teen and assembling dinner for over 20 each week might look (and sound) like pure chaos – children’s bodies and mouths always in motion, adults getting the large amount of food, tables, chairs, and tableware ready. But surprisingly I actually found these nights to be very relaxing. Unexpectedly, these nights actually gave me the chance to catch my breath. For a few hours, I could forget about all of my to-do’s always hanging over my head and just enjoy myself. Here was a routine that didn’t require uniforms, registration fees or monthly payments, no competition, no electronics, no penalties for missing a week, and no one had to worry about having a clean house or playing host. All it took was just a little planning and a lot of fellowship. As I got to know the families, I was thankful we all seemed to have similar parenting styles, and a communal approach to taking care of the mass of kids quickly developed. If there was a child in need, the closest adult took care of him or her. If one adult needed to stop food preparation to tend to a crying or wayward child, the next closest took over their task and everything continued to flow.
As the year went on, this group celebrated many things: birthdays, houses being sold or rented, special vacations, potty training victories, the first lost tooth. Many memories are also linked to the smaller moments. One week I put my two year old Alex in time out, and I watched as three year old Gavin followed him and quietly sat next to him. Without saying a word, Gavin was sending Alex a meaningful message of toddler solidarity and friendship: If you can’t play, I won’t play either. I remember five year olds Bridget and Maya running to me in the courtyard full of joy and smiling ear to ear: they had saved a worm that according to them was in two pieces. They had taken a band-aid from Bridget’s ever present first aid kit, wrapped it around the worm, and gently placed it back in the grass to heal. I learned that I absolutely must get Star Wars Angry Birds from my fellow Star Wars fan Kent. I remember Alex coming out of the bathroom discovering what he thought was a fantastic jumbo paintbrush. He had painted his pants with the toilet brush and water from the toilet and was so proud to show us his masterpiece – which he was still wearing.
These celebrations and memories are all things that families share, and I am so thankful that I have found a church family to share them with.
We’re glad, too, Katie! Katie lives in rural Hanover and is a stay at home mom to Bridget (5) and Alex (2). She has lived in Richmond for over 20 years after growing up in the Shenandoah Valley and has been attending Ginter Park for about a year and a half.