What I didn?t hear in the nursery

??when you run out of hours?you wonder if anything worth doing got done.? ??One Heartbeat at a Time,? Steven Curtis Chapman


I thought I would spend this past Mother?s Day morning with someone else?s kids, but things don?t always work out how you plan.

I stepped into the church nursery and spent the first few minutes organizing wooden blocks and separating coloring books from picture books.

When I heard the processional music over the speaker in the wall that allows nursery workers to hear the service, I peeked out the door to see a few stragglers heading into the sanctuary.

With no kids to be seen, I turned back to take the Hot Wheels out of the plastic kitchen toys tub, and the plastic kitchen toys out of the blocks tub. I figured I would do some light housekeeping and set out a few toys for the kids I assumed would show up.

A few minutes later, it was still just me and some Little People on the floor with an Elmo puzzle. Yes, I did the puzzle and may or may not have made a couple of the People dance.

By the time the greeting came over the speaker, sitting alone with toys on the floor crossed over to awkward. It was obvious I wasn?t going to have playmates, at least for now.

At that point, I turned up the speaker and grabbed a notebook from my bag. This was the perfect chance to jot down some notes for a column or two or maybe make a grocery list to pass the time.

When you know you have nursery duty, it?s only natural to psych yourself up a little beforehand. You?re ready to crawl around on the floor or roll some balls across the room. But I didn?t hear any little bodies running around this time. The silence, when you expect the noise, is a bit of a letdown.

But, as it is with silence vs. noise, give it a few minutes to sink in and it?s not all bad. I adjusted and started writing.

Soon though, stories began to come across the speaker about mothers, grandmothers, make?shift mothers, figurative mothers and how they?let?s be honest?run and/or change the world. Daily.

Then came songs I had never heard about mothers, accompanying a Mother?s Day slideshow that I couldn?t see.

It was one of those times when you don?t expect to be caught up in the moment that you are. It wasn?t sappy or particularly sentimental. More of a narrated impromptu mini-retreat in a little room. With a door. That is closed.

The longer I sat there kid-free, through the music and then the children?s sermon where the kids were asked to say all of the words that reminded them of Mom, the more I began to recognize this hour was my Mother?s Day gift. It wasn?t just time alone, which my personality and productivity demand if they are expected to function. It was a few minutes alone on this particular morning?Mother?s Day morning?with the freedom to not just relax, but hear.

I?m as ready as the next person for a block of time when a decision or a bed doesn?t have to be made, but it doesn?t need to be an extended period of time that only leaves you wishing for more time.

Forty-five minutes in a church nursery, where I didn?t hear a single sound outside of the service through an overhead speaker, was just enough.
















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