Thursday, March 24, 2011

Glorious Sabbath

I just read the blog of a good friend of mine who posted a long ode to eight o'clock church. If only I were that spiritual. Here it is posted publicly: I detest eight o'clock church. like when they announced that it was switching from glorious 11 to 8, I pretty much said a little prayer that went like this. "Heavenly Father, Thanks for blessing me with membership in thy church. As much as I love partaking of the sacrament, it will have to wait for next year when we return to a schedule that I am capable of attending. Until then, I will see ya around nine. That will be me wrestling the disheveled children in the lobby and whispering threats of violence into their ears just loud enough to frighten the other lobby families but somehow not loud enough to produce any actual fear from said disheveled boys. Father, your gonna have to cut me some slack on this one. Perhaps you could check out the insane quantity of wheat in my storage closet or give me bonus points on how well I keep my journal (does it count if I burn it when it is full?) and we can call it even. Amen"

I think it would be easier if I wasn't a single mother on Sundays. John has worked weekend mornings for years and he will for years to come, so the whole routine is up to me. Sometimes I get motivated and iron everyone's clothes on Saturday night and lay everything out down to the sock. If I don't think of every detail, I guarantee we will be late. Then I had the genius idea to make the boys get dressed in their church clothes before bed and sleep in them. That week we were on time but nobody got breakfast.

Reading this you would think I think that the root of the problem is that I am not a morning person. Oddly, I totally am a morning person. I'm just not a morning mom . I always prided myself on the fact that my babies were awesome sleepers. I was a hard core user of the Babywise technique for getting babies to sleep and between that and a dose of really good luck, we all slept well from the time the babies were about 6 weeks old. Even before that I could squeeze five hours out of them. The point is, I am hardwired with the concept that one should let a sleeping baby lie. Always. It is so counterintuitive to me to wake a baby. Even if that baby happens to be a seven year old on his twelfth hour of sleep. I can't bring myself to do it. Plus all three males in the family have throat/sinus/apnea problems so I just encourage unconsciousness as much as possible. I am, of course, a terrible insomniac so its ironic that I spend half of my life coddling the sleep of the rest of the household.

Speaking of sleep, My husband is a diagnosed hypersomniac. That means he can sleep anywhere anytime and he does. He also has terrible sleep apnea so when he sleeps his body stops breathing for little chunks of time (32 times per hour, to be exact, according to the sleep studies he has undergone) We thought it had to do with his tonsils and a crooked septum and an abnormally low palette but then he had surgery to correct all of that and the apnea stayed exactly the same. If you are even interested in seeing a throat without an uvula hanging down, have John say AHHHH for you. Its a little freaky. So his only option to get decent sleep is to wear what I lovingly refer to as "the fighter pilot mask" It is a full face mask that covers his mouth and nose and anchors to his forehead with two sets of velcro straps and a big flexible tube piping in pressurized air. It makes him sound like Darth Vader or waves crashing on a beach depending on who you ask. Once its on his head, he can't talk or hear anything much so he doesn't know that I call him Maverick when I say good night. I used to have a problem with grinding my teeth at night and my dentist made me a device that fit on to my two front teeth which made it impossible to clamp my jaw all the way down and gave me a duckbill. There's nothing sexier than the two of us before bed. I'm sure you can imagine.

John loves his CPAP because he loves his sleep. The problem for a confirmed hypersomniac with sleep apnea is that as much as you want to catch a few winks on a road trip or on the couch in front of the TV on a lazy weekend, you have to go get the gear and find a plug and do the whole production or else it is completely pointless. Sometimes he tries to sneak a nap without his headgear on and I catch him every time because as soon as he falls asleep he starts twitching and kicking and chomping his teeth. Because it is such a hassle to move his sleeping set-up, he often ends up sleeping in random places in the house for days at a time. He tends to favor one blanket too so you can always spot a John nest: The machine, the mask, the blankie, and a bottle of Tums. He is a lot of things but unpredictable is not one of them.

So back to my unrighteous complaining about eight o'clock church. I thought this was one of the perks of being a Mormon. Sleeping in on Sunday. There are people in our ward who say they love that when they get home from church it is still morning and then they get the whole day. Call me a pessimist, but after getting up at the crack and wrestling two kids through sacrament and then teaching primary and going to relief society, I feel like my day should be at least mostly over with. No, I get to come home and make a big meal because there is no chance anyone got breakfast and then clean up and then find something that will fend off the repeated "I'm Bored" argument. And then I have to feel guilty if I let them watch TV or run around irreverently or go somewhere and inadvertently cause someone else to work. Then John gets home from work and I get to create and serve and clean up after another meal. I get it that it's supposed to be a day of rest, but any mom can tell you that resting has immediate negative consequences. This may look like a regular middle class house in the suburbs, but it is really a giant treadmill of housework that will throw you off if you even think about slowing down. A Sunday of rest is guaranteed to equal a Monday of hard manual labor and might possibly get you featured on an episode of Hoarders. "We used to be able to see the floor in this room, but then I decided to take a nap after church and spend some time in prayer and when I came out, the camera crew was here."

Actually, Hoarders is my favorite show. John hates it. I like anything that makes me look extremely sane and tidy. I get my kicks wherever I can find 'em. There was an episode where they found THREE dead cats in a woman's living room in various stages of decomposition. No matter how messy this house gets I love being able to say, "Well at least there is no rotting flesh in here."

Okay, so back to Sundays. When I was a missionary in France we would always snicker when the sacrament bread was warm from the oven of the local bakery. Even the bishop insisted that it was okay to buy bread on the sabbath. Once we were teaching a girl named Lucille in Metz and when we got to the discussion about keeping the sabbath day holy and not working if possible. Lucille replied, "But what if you are a police officer or an emergency room doctor or a bread baker?" I love that baking bread is considered vital to civilized life. I'm starting to wish I was French.

When my dad was a kid they used to go to a restaurant for dinner specifically in effort of keeping the sabbath day holy. They reasoned that going out to eat would be restful. This was a generally accepted practice in the church until later when church leaders began to recommend not causing others to work. My mom hates to be teased about this, but when I was a kid it was a weekly tradition that if we could tell my mom what our lesson was about in the car on the way home from church she would stop at Circle K and let us get a Thirstbuster as a reward. To her credit, she dragged four kids to church every week without the help of a churchgoing husband so who could begrudge her a Diet Coke? Not to use my blog to spew unrighteous sentiment, but lets all admit that sometimes it is hard to do what we know is right. Our testimonies, our attitudes and behaviors are constantly evolving. I'm sure that one day my testimony of the sabbath will be right up there with Joseph Smith and forever families, but for now it is hovering right above Boy Scouts and Kolob.


The Kornegay Family said...

Amen Sister!

Maryann said...

Eight is way too early for church! We have nine right now and we struggle.
My two favorite parts of this post are imagining you and John going to sleep at night and your last comment about scouts! We are just entering the world of scouts and it is a strange strange world.

Kara said...

I wonder whose self-righteous blog that belonged to?? Well really, loving 8 am church for me has nothing to do with being spiritual more to do with having more time to do enjoyable things on Sunday. And since I DO get a nap I don't have to suffer thru the day entertaining my kids, I just let them watch TV for 3 hrs. ;) don't worry, some day you will love 8 am church... :o)

Sinéad & Guillaume said...

you don't really want to be French, the bread's wonderful but they have church at 9am at the very latest

The Lamb's said...

Wow, 8 is early! I commend you for getting your boys ready. It's hard! We have church at 9:00, with a 35 minute drive. I have had early morning meetings twice a month, which leaves Jeremy to get everyone ready on his own. I almost feel mad at him when he walks in early, all the kids ready and says "hey, it was no problem" Why do I always struggle to get them out the door??? Oh well, I guess I should be grateful he gets to experience it. It's tough being a Mom. You are amazing Staci! Wish we lived closer :)

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