Big Sunday

As I sit here in my mom’s extremely cluttered living room, listening to the washing machine work over-time on my fifty-seven loads of laundry and Baby Bug snoring softly in her bassinet beside me, my shoulders ache and I wonder what to write about… Should I keep it light and talk about the fun I had with my nieces painting rocks in the front yard while Baby Bug slept in the house contentedly on her Grandma’s big soft belly? Or should I write about Baby Bug’s first day at Sunday School and my first day back to meeting (church for those who are not long time readers). I’m tempted to keep it light. It’s past my bedtime. My shoulders are killing me and I feel like I’m a million years old. But it would be a shame not to jot just a few words down.

Today was a big day. It was Baby Bug’s first day to go to Sunday School and it was my first day back after being gone for ten years. Sure, I’ve come and gone now and then over the years but I lurked. I stayed in the shadows and avoided people as best I could. I kept a low profile because when I left the meeting, it wasn’t on the best of terms and a bunch of other stuff that I’ve written about before but is now lost in my many archives. I thought they were gone for good but I guess if you click on the right things you can still find them somewhere. Good luck on that. I’m offering no help.

Today I was back and I was officially welcomed. It was strange but good. From the Aunts coming at me with opened arms and a cups of hot coffee to my Uncle standing up after the breaking of bread and giving a little speech about joy and reconciliation… it was just a lot to take in. And I hate to admit it but I think I was mostly just self conscious because I had a little baby with me. I was very aware of her ability to squeal and cry and bring even more attention my way.

Thankfully, the meeting room proved to be quite interesting to Baby Bug. She loved the hymn singing and all the loud clear voices quoting scriptures and praying. She spent a lot of time checking out the ceiling fan whirring up above her and looking at the big black and white contrasting letters of the verses that were hung on the walls. She listened to her great uncle give the gospel with better attention than her seven-year-old cousin who was sitting beside her.

After the meetings were over, she was a really good baby and only had “stranger anxiety” with a few people who got too close too fast or laughed a little too loud when she wasn’t expecting it. Sometimes I think Baby Bug is the most fussy when she is bored. When we stay home all day doing the normal routine she can be a regular Miss Crankypants. But when we’re out and there are new things coming at her from every direction, she’s the perfect angle baby. I always expect her to have a rough time when I take her to the mall or the grocery store or like today a big new building with new sounds and new faces… but she loves all the stimulus. Her eyes are bugging out of her head and she probably skips a few naps but she’s very well behaved. She smiles and laughs and coos like a perfect little baby. And when we gets home she goes right to sleep with no fussing at all. She’s tired.

I’m tired. We are both just wore out. But it’s been a lot of fun. It’s been good for my heart. Maybe I’ll write more about the rock painting and the big Sunday dinner and my never ending laundry tomorrow. Or not. Maybe I’ll have something even better to write about. I have no idea what I’m doing tomorrow.

Aunt Keren

This is my Aunt Keren (Yes, her name is spelled that way. It’s in the bible, look it up.) This is her shop. She’s a dressmaker. She’s been sewing for a bazillion years and she’s very good at it. I grew up playing with the scraps of fabric out of her trash can. She let me have a drawer in one of her many dressers and I made a dollhouse out of that drawer. The walls were lined with fabric wall paper, the furniture made from cardboard and yarn. The dolls were Barbie dolls and I made elaborate outfits for them out of material I would scrounge from her scraps. She taught me to sew. One painful “Auntie Rule” at a time. She taught me to iron and to back tack and to always go slowly and carefully because ripping out seams is never fun. But ripping out seams is better than wearing something with crooked seams. She pounded that into my head.

She pounded a lot of things into my head. My Aunt may have single handedly been the biggest adult influence on me…ever. I am so overwhelmed by this topic and what I have to write about today that I don’t even know where to start. I want to explain everything from start to finish. I want to say it concisely so I don’t run on and on for pages. But mostly I just want to say it correctly and I am intimidated by the mere task of it.

I hung out with my Aunt today for the first time in fifteen years. I’ve missed her. We talked and talked and talked until the moon came up. I brought six receiving blankets to her shop to sew, I only sewed one. (And yes, I’m slow, but not that slow!) That was how much we were talking. I don’t think either of us got very much done.

There is just so much to talk about. (not to mention we both talk a lot by nature anyway…) So many things have gone down over the years. So many misunderstandings. So many things that I was wrong about. So many things that blow my mind. I don’t know how I can possibly fix some of those things in just one post. Maybe I will be writing about this for a very long time to come. I don’t know.

It started with the post I wrote the other day. She emailed me. Something she’s started doing lately now that she reads this website, (scary!). I expected chastisement. I got love. She pleaded with me not to lump her into this giant ball of hurt that I have about my past. She tried to tell me that I’ve rolled everything all together, my childhood, the meeting (my religion), my family and how I was excommunicated…and I can never cut that out of my life no matter how much I want all my sad feelings to go away.

I decided to hash it out with her. Why not. What do I have to lose? I’ve had nothing for years and years. Plus, she’s been reading my website and she keeps coming back, it’s not like she’s written me off as a complete heretic like I thought she did. So we emailed. And we emailed and we emailed. And then I decided to just drive out and visit.

Visit we did. I don’t even know where to go from here. But I just want to say that walls that have been built by me around my heart are starting to come crumbling down. I feel like the East Germans throwing concrete bricks and rebar in Berlin. I want to leap and jump for joy. This fact alone scares me it makes me so happy: there is a possibility that some day I might be able to sit down with my family at a great big table (seriously, there will be about a hundred people sitting at that table, my family is that big) and laugh and tell jokes and be noisy like how I remember from when I was a kid.

I don’t know if I’ve ever articulated how much I’ve missed that. I think I disguised it as anger. I’ve since made my own new family with friends and Toby’s relatives and so many dear people who have taken me in. But I have always always always always missed my family. It’s been a broken part of me for so long it makes me cry just thinking about it.

I know it won’t be perfect. I know I have a lot of things I need to apologize for. I’ve said a lot of mean things about them over the years on this blog. I also have a new life now and a lot of the beliefs I’ve adopted are not in line with theirs’. But I don’t care. That seems like small potatoes compared to what has happened today and yesterday. If I can spend fifteen years trying to get over them, I can spend the next fifteen years figuring out how to be part of them again.

I’m finally coming home.