The Hymnal and The Claw

A few Sundays ago we went to church with Erica’s grandmother at the retirement home chapel where she lives.

The church service was much more traditional than the one we attend now, so I knew my kids would be a little thrown off by some of the things they saw. I, on the other hand, grew up in a church just like that, so for me it was like a trip down memory lane.

What did I see on this trip down memory lane? Five things in particular that made me chuckle…

1. The Organ – I can’t remember if it was Kylie or Parker, but one of them leaned over at one point and we had this exchange:

“Dad, what is that instrument?”

“What, the organ?”

“Oh, that’s what an organ is!”

2. The Hymnal, Part 1 – I could tell my kids got lost during the first hymn so I had to explain to them how you read it. Line 1 of this paragraph, then line 1 of this paragraph, and so on. There’s a skill that they will definitely need to know 10 years from now…or not.

3. The Hymnal, Part 2 – Kylie stumbled upon this hymn and couldn’t stop laughing about the name.

I have to admit, I don’t remember singing that one as a kid.

4. The Claw – Unfortunately the giggling didn’t stop with the hymnal. Maybe it was how quiet the service was, but suddenly everything was funny. The guy who sang special music, the lady with the hat two rows in front of us, the woman leading the congregation in singing…you know you’ve been there before.

During one moment of prayer the giggling got too loud so I pulled out the old staple that my dad had used on me 25 years ago. The Claw.

I dug my fingers into the back of Parker’s neck with just enough force to let him know he needed to gain control of himself. He looked up at me, a bit startled, and I mouthed the words “stop laughing” too him. That’s when he threw the real culprit under the bus.

He raised his eyebrows in protest and whispered back, “it’s mom!”

5. The Giggling Wife – Turns out Erica was the one who was laughing and creating the kids’ little giggle fits. I didn’t dare break out the claw on her, though for a second I thought about telling her, “silence! frenzied unclean spirit” before thinking better of it.

Instead I gave her a look that said, “I want to make out with you later,” mostly because that’s about the only look I have when it comes to her, even in church.

In the end the kids were well behaved, the service was great, and we had a great time hanging out with her grandmother. I grabbed this pic before we left.

It was a fun trip down memory lane for me, and hopefully for the kids it was an experience they’ll be able to call back later in life.

I hope some day Parker is giving his kids The Claw during a church service while Kylie is getting in trouble with her husband for being caught in a giggle fit she can’t get out of.

It seems like a million years away now, but as I look at that picture I’m reminded of just how fast time flies.

The giggling, the hymnals, and the claw…experiencing something for the first time and for the thousandth time…thinking about your family and being present with your family…these truly are the moments to savor. Here’s to experiencing many more of them!