It was a bad idea. My husband said, “This is a bad idea.” But I suffer from an enchanted condition called ‘Grandmother.’ The spell works differently in different grandmas, but I’ve been told that, when fully under its power, I am blinded to any defects in my grandchildren. Past disasters are blotted from my memory and possible future chaoses are bedazzled by blind optimism.
My two oldest grandsons, ages 2 and 3, both wanted to sit with my husband (Grampy) my youngest son (Uncle K) and myself (Granny) in church.
I said yes and led the two small boys to our customary seat.
Families with small children usually sit in back.
Our customary seat is middling-front.
In the area frequented by people who came that day foolishly assuming they were going to hear an entire worship service.
My husband slipped in to my left. “This is a bad idea.”
“No. It will be fine! Three adults and only two little ones? We can separate them. Besides, they are playing with their church toys.”
I folded my hands as the pastor began to pray, ready to offer a silent postscript of gratitude for these wonderful little blessings.
We didn’t even make it through “Dear Father in Heaven.”
Did you know that church toys, contrary to all that is right and good and expected, are cursed with a dreadful spell?
EACH TOY is under enchantment to make it alluring and desirable ONLY WHEN ONE’S COUSIN IS PLAYING WITH IT.
As soon as the magical toy is wrest from the grip of the other, its enchantment dissipates.
Did you know that small children are shape-shifters? They change into eels that slither around and between adult legs to reach each other. Their 30-pound frames transmute to several tons of bonelessness when an adult attempts a leverage-and-lift.
You know how beavers have that extra eyelid that closes in water?
The magical human variety have a mudflap that descends over the eardrum in public.
It flips down at the first sound of “SHHHHH! We’re praying!” or “It’s not your turn” or “Do you want a timeout?”
The mudflap rolls back up at the smallest vibration of a fruit snack package crinkled anywhere in the building, which triggers the vocal chords which immediately demand, in a roar also heard to the limits of the building, “I want a snack, Granny!”
I have a magic bag of tricks. I call it my purse and it contains everything that could address any conceivable physical emergency. It contained fruit snacks. The magical children made them disappear in 3.7 ( blessedly silent) seconds. Then these amazing creatures turned the purse upside down and— ABRACADABRA! 28 sq. liters of stuff came out of my 8”x10” handbag.
For their next trick, they levitated my artfully-tied fashion scarf from around my neck. A lively discussion between the cousins ensued. #1 thought he should wear the scarf around his head. Pirate style. #2 disagreed. It should be around #1’s neck. Hangman’s noose style.
For a brief moment my Enchanted Grandmother brain cleared and I remembered how dangerous anything around the neck of a child can potentially be.
I reclaimed the scarf, hissed words of warning,
and all billy h-e-double hockey sticks broke out.
#1 transformed into a shrieking hydra, squirting tears in a three-foot swath. Then he saw Cousin looking smug and his resulting howls registered on sonar equipment.
Grampy hustled #1 down the aisle and into the back.
Uncle K busied himself comforting a sobbing #2 who, now that he’d gotten exactly what he wanted, no longer wanted it.
I smiled assurance at the tense people around us. Things will settle down now. Only one little boy. You may even catch the last few lines of the sermon.
Grampy, who’d forgotten he needed to collect offering, hustled back up the aisle and deposited #1 next to me in the pew.
Only a few minutes to go. I could do this.
Did you know that time, under enchantment, expands?
The few minutes lasted well into the next century.
Ignoring the urgent cries of the little Faeries of Common Sense fluttering around my head, I handed each boy a quarter to put in the collection plate.
Once the quarters hit the warm hands of the magical children they fell under the spell. They multiplied. For the next seven minutes quarters hit the floor 220 times.
The pastor pronounced the benediction and dismissed us with the Lord’s blessing. Our grandchildren’s parents came to reclaim their offspring. The little boys hugged our legs, looked up with sweetly trusting eyes, and lisped, “Love you Granny. We sit with you again.”
Anyone have a good counter-spell for ‘Enchanted Grandmother?’
Dear Prude, this was a wonderful foretaste of grandparenthood. I can hardly wait!!!!! (signed, Already-Under-the-Spell)
Oh good. thought of you often while writing!!!!!
Hahahaha! What a perfect granny you are! I see no change necessary!
Far from perfect, Sue. But, like you, I have perfect grandchildren!
Anita – what a delightfully written message – little angels seem to turn into little monsters when in church – not enough to hold their enchanting minds I guess. Thanks for sharing this with your Heart”wings” sisters in Christ. j
Joyce, thanks for stopping by!
Hysterical–na, no cure because we can give them back. I had 2.5 yr-old #1 last week who was a perfect angel with 1-1 time several days in a row. When said child’s father came to pick him up, he turned into a little demon causing father to roll his eyes with unacceptable skepticism at his own mother’s grandparenting declarations. Unbelievable. I raised him better than that. Anyway, he churned out a perfect child. As long as perfect child has my undivided attention and all the grandma laps my book club could offer.
Oh Lisa. So funny!
I think there is much grace with grandmothers and super hero abilities!
Kim, spoken like a true super-Grandma!
Oh! This was so funny!!! Thanks for the chuckle! 🙂
You are so welcome Danele!
As a parent who struggled every week with three children at church I empathize entirely. It didn’t matter where we sat we left behind a trail of cereals, disgruntled parishioners and our sanity. My middle daughter could not keep still and often wandered down the aisle and sat on the alter steps loving the ‘attention’. Thank you for sharing your super Granny tale, it really made me laugh. 🙂
Oh goodness Margaret! Hope you can just enjoy some quiet services now. It sure gives us grace when other parents deal with lively little ones though, doesn’t it?
Yes services are quieter now. I try to give a little compassion when I see a mum or dad struggling and encourage them after the service by say, “You are doing a great job, thank you for bringing your children.” When you know what it probably took to bring the children to church a little grace goes a long way in helping the parent(s) come back.
My baby boy grandchild is 16 and the elder granddaughter almost 20. And I still remember those days…and the days of their parents. But I’m sure my great grandchildren will be perfect angels…much like yours! 😀
Well, naturally they will be perfect! And your job will be to convince everyone of the fact 🙂
Thanks for the heads-up…my day will come and I’ll report back.
I’ll look forward to it!
Sidesplitting entertainment! I can imagine the scene perfectly. Loved this, Prude.
Oh, this made me laugh! You are funny!
We’ve had two grandsons (6 and 4) sitting _alone_ in the seats while I played the piano and my husband led. We had some dear friends right behind them ready for action if necessary.
It takes a church to raise a bunch of (admittedly adorable) original sinners