On Easter Sunday, my children were actually easy to get ready. Talk about an Easter miracle! They put on the clothes I laid out, didn’t complain when they had to wear a belt or church shoes, and even brushed their teeth and hair with minimal complaints.
“This is going great!” I thought to myself, as I headed back to my bedroom to get myself ready for church.
Standing in the middle of my bedroom was Chris. He was wearing beautiful gray slacks, nice dress shoes, and a white oxford shirt with a spring green tie. He looked all kinds of yummy. But when I got closer to him, I noticed a distinct coloring under his white dress shirt. It was deep blue and had a very clear red symbol, which any hockey wife would recognize.
“Are you wearing your Rangers tee shirt under that dress shirt?” I asked him.
“It’s game day, baby!” he said, straightening his tie.
“You can’t be serious. You can’t wear a dark blue and red tee shirt under your white church clothes on Easter Sunday, Chris.”
I should clarify the need to include the prepositional phrase “on Easter Sunday” here. You see, Chris often wears his Rangers shirts under his church clothes on Sunday game days. And 98% of the time I don’t care. But on Easter and Christmas, I happen to believe you have to dress like an adult. Chris does not share this belief system.
We made it to church that morning on time and compromised on Chris wearing his white Rangers tee shirt. Even though you could still see the Rangers logo, I figured a white tee shirt was a win and I’d take what I could get.
We get to church and settle into a pew for Easter service. It was packed, and as the congregation settled in for the sermon, I became distracted by the family sitting in front of us. There was a couple, maybe just a few years older than Chris and I. Very nicely dressed. They both looked like attorneys or CPA’s. Very chic. Very put together. They sat next to each other, and on the other side of the dad were two middle-school aged sons, both looking Easter handsome in spring colored ties. At first glance, a very normal family.
But about halfway through the sermon, the older boy, who was sitting closest to his dad, bent his head over and rested his head on his dad’s shoulder. The dad immediately and dramatically shrugged him off with a playful push of his arm, his eyes never leaving the minister. About 30 seconds later, the boy put his head back down on his dad’s shoulder, and again, the dramatic shrug and playful push, his eyes never leaving the minister. Except this time, his wife felt the movement and snapped her head in a very mom-like gesture that I, myself, have perfected over the years, and cut her eyes at her two sons in a very clear, “Knock it off,” gesture.
The youngest son, innocent of all charges, began to protest while at the same time the older son whispered violently that it has been their dad who was causing the trouble. But the mom snapped her head back towards the sermon with the universal sign of mothers everywhere that indicates, “This conversation is over.”
This time, a good couple of minutes when by in complete stillness and silence as the boys (I’m including the dad in that word) all pretended to listen to the sermon.
And then, movement.
This time, the dad blatantly shoved the son next to him with his shoulder, and then cut his eyes over at his son, smiling and daring him to shove back. And what boy could resist? Without hesitation, the son shoved his dad back in his shoulder. The dad shoved. The boy shoved. The dad shoved. And then the boy shoved just a bit too hard, and the dad went rolling into his wife again.
The silent jerking of the Mom Head.
All three boys dropped their eyes to the ground in total stillness.
A few more minutes went by.
Another dad shove.
Another son shove.
Another dad shove.
Another son shove.
And then the wife caught the dad as he was about to shove back, giggling like the twelve-year-old boy he was acting like. “Are you really doing this in church?” she whispered to her husband. “Get it together. Act like an adult.”
Both sons giggled gleefully and the husband’s eyes never left the minister again.
I saw the family out in the fellowship area after the service a little while later. The wife was fixing herself coffee while the dad and the two boys were holding orange juice cups and stuffing their faces with chocolate donuts.
And I smiled to myself, “Boyhood knows to age.”