"That’s MY Baby!" (Christmas Eve-Eve)

Tonight was Emma Vance’s first time at church!

Since Ryan worked at North Point Community Church for many years, when he ventured out on his own, we decided that we needed a break from the church world. Fast forward four years, and the closest we’ve gotten to going back to “traditional” church has been attending North Point Online. The reality is that Ryan’s often gone on Sundays (and I really don’t desire to shlep a baby to church just to sit alone or be a third wheel) and when he is here, honestly we just want to rest and not make a big deal about Sunday. There are no such things as typical weekends around here, so because North Point makes the resource available to us, we get our church fix through the ol’ interweb these days.

Things have been changing in my heart recently, though. Now that Emma Vance has most of her immunizations, we’ve been wanting to get her into church-church. In talking about the subject, we decided that Christmas Eve might be a good time to start. Unfortunately the 23rd snuck up on me, and this morning I remembered that church was tonight. We decided to fast forward our day’s events a little in order to make the 4:30 service, and although going to church kept us from accomplishing as much as I’d have liked to today, I’m glad we actually stepped foot inside the church for such a special occasion.

We’ve never left Emma Vance with anyone other than her grandparents, so I was anxious as to how the whole Waumba Land (childcare) experience was going to go. I mean, Ryan worked at North Point for a looong time, but this was new even to him! And, to complicate matters, the service fell right smack dab in the middle of her usual nap time (not to mention that she had an abbreviated nap before we went so that we wouldn’t be late). Checking in was much quicker than I expected–one short form to fill out and a volunteer walked us to a classroom where a sweet woman took to Emma Vance. We handed over our diaper bag and carseat and kissed her goodbye, and I found myself rambling off instructions as we walked away. I’m not sure who the woman who took E.V. was, but she made me feel like she was thrilled to have Emma Vance in her arms (even though E.V. was grabbing and clawing at her face, which is her latest obsession). In fact, I might have changed my mind, grabbed my child and ran back to my car if it hadn’t been for her gushing excitement. Thank God for such a wonderful volunteer!

The service was awesome. Let me just say that their take on the musical “Les Mis” and a comedic sketch about mall employees were perfect. (Two subjects I know a lot about!) Seriously, I laughed so hard and appreciate how much work was put into both pieces. I do have to admit that while Andy spoke about the birth of Christ, all I could think of was how Emma Vance was doing. I kept checking my phone and expecting “Waumba Land Baby #61, please come get your screaming child!” to appear on the screens. Andy spoke about the reality of the  Christmas story, how it really happened and isn’t a fairytale, and I kept imagining newborn Emma Vance cuddled up in a manger. (Poor thing! How uncomfortable!) I guess a sermon that’s inevitably about a BABY wasn’t the wisest service to test out my ability to trust others with my child, right? Plus, There was a crying baby in the room, and it made me so anxious to see how Emma Vance was holding up.

When the service was over, Waumba Land was swamped, and as we waited a few feet outside of Emma Vance’s classroom to pick her up, I caught a glimpse of a volunteer holding her right inside the doorway. Almost simultaneously, a girl walked by with her husband, looked right at E.V., then turned to her husband (so she was facing me) and exclaimed, “Oh what a CUTE baby that was!” :)

Okay, okay. Every parent thinks their baby is the cutest baby ever, but I’m a realist who knows that my love for E.V. gives me rose colored glasses for her. HOWEVER, to hear someone be so candid and gush completely unsolicitedly about Emma Vance made me lose my cool for a moment. I cried out to the woman, “That’s MY baby!” while grinning from ear to ear. (Insert sheepish look and red cheeks while later recounting the story.) You would think that after such an obnoxious claim I’d slap my hand over my mouth and be embarrassed, but no. Instead, as she smiled and said, “The one with the bow on her head?” I excitedly said again, “That’s MY baby!” (Yes, ma’am. The one with the bow on her head.)

Thankfully her husband kept her walking forward or I might have told her again that it was MY baby she thought was so cute. (Just in case she didn’t get it the first two times.) Ha! Oh well. You can’t blame a “new” mom too much for her glowing adoration for her child, right? Now I just need to work on my delivery…

So, to cap off the story, Emma Vance was happy as a clam when we picked her up. During the service, she skipped her nap completely, had a diaper change and a bottle, ditched her shoes in order to be more comfortable, and clearly made an impression with her cuteness on everyone. (Did I ever doubt her?) Although we didn’t get a full report on her behavior and somehow ended up with some other kid’s Puffs and baby wipes, overall I’d say E.V.’s first time in Waumba Land was a success.

Little Miss was too social to sleep while being watched, but she passed out the moment we strapped her into her carseat–like literally the moment we strapped her in. She seemed exhausted but thrilled to have made new friends tonight, and for that I’m thankful. And, of course, I’m so excited that we can now confidently bring her on Sunday mornings and not worry. (Perhaps that’s her Christmas gift to us?)

Christmas Eve-Eve service with Dad

To the sweet volunteer who loved on my baby–thank you!
“That’s MY baby!” (and, man, does she look tired!)
Sleeping in heavenly peace…

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