This morning during the worship service at our church, I went up for Holy Communion, as I do most mornings. As usual, I took Curious J with me, carrying her in my arms. Curious J is a squirmy, wiggly toddler who doesn’t enjoy sitting still during the worship service, but when I take her up with me for Communion, she has always been calm. Perhaps it’s the fact that she’s out of the pew, perhaps it’s the novelty of walking up to the front of the church, perhaps it’s the big stained glass window up at the front that is full of color and brightness. Regardless, she is an easy toddler to take up to Communion.
This morning, as usual, our Communion “table” lined up along the front of the church, and my pastor-husband began to distribute the Communion wafers. Curious J watched this intently, but kept her hands at her sides.
After the wafers, an usher came around with the tray of individual cups, and my husband followed with the common cup with the wine. I took the common cup, as usual, and Curious J watched all this intently, but didn’t move or cause any difficulties.
After the wine, as my husband returned to his spot by the altar to give a final blessing, Curious J put her hands into the air and started moving them around. I didn’t think too much of it, as she wasn’t making any noise and I could tell she wasn’t trying to get down. But after a second, I realized what she was doing. She knew what her pastor-daddy was going to do next, and she was attempting to do it, too: She was making the sign of the cross. She even had her first two fingers together on both hands, and was moving her hands in the air back and forth, just like Daddy.
When I realized what she was doing, I looked up with a grin to catch my husband’s eye. He had also noticed what she was doing, just as he was raising his hands to make the actual sign of the cross. His smile matched mine as he gave the blessing and our daughter waved her hands around in the air — just like her Daddy.
It reminds me of a similar toddlers-in-church story from when Lyd was about that age. I almost always held her in my arms whenever the congregation was standing, and I tried to make sure she could see what her pastor-daddy was doing up in front. One morning, she made the entire back of the church choke back a laugh when, as her father raised his hands to give the closing benediction of the service, she put her hands up high into the air as well, imitating her father exactly (also doing a perfect “touchdown” referee signal). I don’t think anyone in the back of church managed to sing the final hymn, as we were all laughing at little Lyd.
I guess my children DO pay attention in church!