In the process of consolidating my writing spaces, I’ve discovered some items that I want to make sure I have in this space. I’ve decided to share them again as “Throwback Thursday” posts, but some are as relevant today as the day I first wrote them. You can read the other posts here or here. I first shared this post on October 31, 2006.
One of my favorite stories about Sam transpired in April 2005. Debbie and I were only a few weeks away from our wedding day. My close friends Mimi, Flo, and Dianne from Jackson, Tennessee wanted to host a wedding shower for us and had invited several members of my Skyline Church family to attend. I served as the youth minister at Skyline for several years in the late ’90s, and the congregation still felt like home. One of Debbie and my first public outings as a couple had been to a Skyline Wednesday Night Church meeting, so the church had met Debbie, but I had not introduced Skyline to the boys. The ladies scheduled the shower for Saturday night, and we planned to drive over from Memphis that afternoon and stay for services on Sunday.
Pulled into Debbie’s driveway 30 minutes before I expected us to depart. I packed a small duffel bag along with the hanging shirt and some khakis to manage the weekend. I garnered all mine glad rags in about 10 minutes. I foolishly assumed Debbie and the boys could do the same.
When I walked into Debbie’s kitchen, the enormous pile of stuff waiting for me to load was bewildering, and Debbie was continuing to add more to the heap. There were three duffels, a hanging bag, a cosmetic case, three toy sacks, a train case, a pack of books, and attaché of kids’ movies, a diaper tote, extra diapers, additional shoes, spare pillows, two sleeping bags, a stroller, two stuffed animals, a box of hot rollers, and Debbie was still adding to the mound! What more could they possibly need? Debbie, already exhausted and exasperated, glared at me communicating, “Shut up and pack it in the van!” So I did, and a finished in an hour and a half. I never realized how insane traveling with children could be.
We arrived at Mimi’s well before the party started. Soon we were all decked and ready to see all my friends. What a fantastic evening! I love catching up with everyone, and Debbie, as always, was alluring and irresistible. The boys were also a hit. Eric made a certain to shake hands and speak with everyone; Sam bounced in for several appearances that primarily play the other kids; and, Andrew was Andrew–always the charmer, even at ten months old. My Skyline family is unfailingly generous, and they treasured Debbie and the boys from the start.
On Sunday, Eric woke me around sunrise as he descended the stairs to the den. We sat together on the couch and watched Sports Center until the others decided to rise. After breakfast, We dressed the boys for Sunday worship only to discover we had forgotten to bring their belts. Fortunately, a Super Walmart was on the way!
Has been pulled divan into the Walmart parking lot, We decided it would be best if only Debbie ventured into the store. I deposited heard the door and proceeded to search for a proper place to wait. I made the rookie mistake of parking directly across from all the large, outdoor toys–the swingsets, playhouses, and sandboxes.
Sam immediately noticed of the treasures just outside the van window and asked if he could play on them. Worrying about the time, I glanced at my watch and responded, “No.”
Now Sam is nothing if not persistent, so he asked again to play on the swing set. I repeated to him, “No.”
Undeterred, Sam began whining about playing on the “playground.” Resolved it wasn’t even a possibility, I forcefully replied, “No, We are not getting out of the van! We don’t have time to play with those toys. As soon as your mom finds you guys a belt, we’re heading to church!”
Sam didn’t want to hear it, and his eyes began to swell. So, the debate continued. By the time Debbie returned to the car, Sam was blubbering over my decision, and I was slowly coming unglued. Debbie supported me while somehow quieting Sam. Then, she dressed the boys in their new belts, and we headed off to Skyline. I was frazzled, and Sam was quietly harboring a grudge.
Upon arriving at Skyline, several friends I’d yet to see greeted us. We quickly found a seat with Mimi and settled in as the song service began. Sam was sitting next to me. As we started singing, Sam reached up with his hand and covered my mouth. I pulled his hand down and continued right on singing. Again, he reached up to conceal my mouth. I removed his hand, smiled at him, and whispered, “Sam, it’s time to sing.”
A moment later he again hid my mouth with his hand as if to say, “Be quiet.”
I dislodged his hand again and explained, “Sam we need to sing.” This give and take went on for several minutes.
Finally, after he again capped my mouth as I was singing, I looked him straight in the eyes and said, “Stop, Sam! We’re going to sing. We love Jesus, so we’re going to sing!”
Right then, in the middle of the worship assembly with Skyline, the church where I’d served several years as the youth minister, Sam bellowed out so everyone could hear, “No, I not! I NOT LOVE JESUS!”
I almost convulsed with laughter as I did my best to cover his mouth. We were working so hard to look the part–to make a good impression, and yet there we were sitting in church while one of our kids screamed that he didn’t love Jesus. What else was there to do but laugh?