The Sunday after Christmas service, Rock was working. I often venture to church just the boys and I, but since this past pregnancy and the birth of Wren, I have been unable to go alone, so my Dad offered to go with me. He is a very punctual person and is not always the most patient when it comes to the irrational delays little people cause. We are always late, so needless to say, I was extremely grateful that he was offering to help me and slightly nervous at the possible disaster that might occur. I am very thankful we went, though, as that morning in church is my favorite memory of this holiday season.
I dropped the boys off in the nursery so that they could play with the other kids, instead of taking them into church. Because after all, three days prior they not only did an amazing job playing the shepherds as we were asked to be the holy family, but they also sat through the entire Christmas service. So, it was just Wren, my Dad, and me in church.
I was holding Wren in one of her Christmas dresses; an adorable red, black, and white plaid dress with a black ribbon at her chest with a bow off to one side. She had on little black Mary Janes, and she was snuggled up against my chest and sleeping. The service began with a Christmas Carol, I wish I could remember which one but I became distracted, because as my Dad was helping me find the page for the song in the Hymnal, memories started to flood my mind and I was small again..
Standing there in the foyer of my house in a frilly dress, white stockings, black patent leather Mary Janes, a fake white fur coat and muff that my grandmother sent me every year. Happily I twirled around on the beige tile floor with the hideous big orange flowers on it. I am sure my mother hated that tile, but it was fine by me as it was perfect for twirling and dancing on as I showed my outfit to everyone.
"Don't you look so pretty?" my parents and my grandfather, who would come over and go to church with us, would comment.
I loved the attention and felt like a little movie star. I would tell everyone, "I am going to be a famous movie star when I grow up"! Then I would ask them all, "Would you like a movie kiss"? Which would involve me going up to them and squishing my face into their's as a flopped my head from side to side.
When everyone was ready, we would all get into the minivan and drive to church. When we arrived, my Dad would hold my tiny hand in his massive strong hand as we hurried into church and I would always sit next to my Dad. Sometimes especially for holidays when it was really crowded, I would sit on his lap. I was without a doubt a Daddy's girl. He was my favorite person. Mass would begin and my Dad would pick me up in his strong arms and hold me to one side with one arm as his other arm was stretched out holding the hymnal in his hand. Everyone would start singing and my Dad would always pick me up so I could sing with him. "Sing with my Moo" my Dad would say. My Dad can sing quite well. He is very musically gifted. I would say the same about myself, but I really loved and still do love to sing. I don't remember too much about Mass or church when I was small. There was always some priest talking and talking about things that were way above my intellectual understanding. What I do remember, is every time they would start singing how much I enjoyed it and how happy I was singing along with my Dad. I felt so safe and loved in my Dad's arms.
Holding Wren, I felt her warm body against my chest, the air flowing across my skin as she breathed in and out, as my Dad and I sung along with the rest of the congregation. I felt love and loved; love for my Dad and everything he has done for me in my life, and loved by my Dad for making the effort to take such good care of me and give me these memories, and because he joined my children and I at church that morning.