Sunday, January 13, 2008

I Don't Like Sundays

If Sunday were a person, he would need to be poked with a fondue fork to wake up from his drooling, deep sleep. Sunday is a bore; a poor conversationalist; the one person you would never invite to a dinner party. Ornery by nature and drab in style. Granted, Sunday lives in the shadow of his more gregarious, convivial sister Saturday. Sunday is arguably just a hair more palatable than his dreadful brother Monday. But just a hair.

And so it is that on Sundays we count the time pass breath by breath. As it is, time in our house is counted by how many hours until snack time, nap time, snack time again, dinner time, TV time, bath time, and finally the climax of the day...bed time. Whew. Time passes excrutiatingly slowly on Sundays. And yes, it is admittedly horrible to wish time away, but Sunday marks the end of a long week. Or is it the beginning of a new week? See, such quandaries must add to Sunday's total lack of charm. The thing with having little kids is that we get no time to ourselves to rejuvenate over the weekend, so Sunday is our last ditch effort, and it disappoints time after time. I fully realize, however, that in a blink my boys will be growling under the covers when I barge into their rooms with a chore list as punishment for breaking curfew again. Note that I'm in no way wishing away these years that they are small, affectionate, wily, and downright hysterical.

You see, we live in North Carolina, where Sunday is hallowed; everyone goes to church (excpet for a few kindred spirits who share our same disdain for Sunday). All we can do until lunch time is head to Target (darn, another excuse to buy $100 worth of household goodies we don't need!), Home Depot, or Harris Teeter (where we can't restock our wine and beer supply until after noon when church is out). My husband hates Sundays because all of our "entertainment" options mean adding to the Amex bill. By this time of the week we are all bored of our antics, toys, and make-believe games. We just need a change of scenery. And so it happens in the winter that Sunday takes out his inferiority complex on us.

Fair weather Sundays are glorious. Our family heads to the greenway with bikes, scooters, jogging stroller, and snacks galore in tow. We tell the children that the canopy of trees shading us from the warming sun and winding path are our church. The birds singing and creatures chirping our the choir, and the waving, smiling folks we pass are the congregation. We worship and bask in the glory of nature, cliche as it sounds. It is wonderful family time as we race, laugh, and watch our children's biking skills and confidence grow. I don't recall any moments like this from my childhood so I am proud to instill this family play time in my kids and hope these memories will be forever tattooed in their minds.

And so we still struggle with church, the garden variety steeple and stained glass edifice, not church as a metaphor. Our children go to a Christian preschool, and we love the lessons they learn. Deal is our little preacher who sings Happy Birthday Jesus and tells me all about the baby Jesus stories le learns in chapel. Chapel is his favorite part of school. Deal is a Believer. Bird, on the other hand, thinks Jesus' name is pronounced "Cheesus." His comment upon dropping him off one day at school was "Look, Mommy. There's Cheesus. I love chesse too!" Apparently we're not doing our job on the Jesus front at home. Back to the struggle...

Our children are old enough to ask why we don't go to church. So far we haven't come up with a reasonable answer and rely on the old distract-them-with-a-battery-operated-toy method. Are we doing a disservice to our kids? I believe we are. We do believe in some sort of higher being, not necessarily with a moniker, but a supreme being nonetheless. We want to teach our children about faith and spirituality, but the structured, worship by rote environment of a church doesn't feel right. The last thing we want is to be hypocrites. Perhaps we just haven't found the right place for our family and we are admittedly not actively looking. I'm not anti-religion, mind you. I do truly want to imbue a sense of faith in Bird and Deal. How to do it to adequately convey our own melting pot of beliefs and values is the $20,000 question.
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