The Misadventures of Cheri

Mortifying my kids one swimsuit at a time

Poofy Red Dress Nightmare Memories Originally Posted 12/23/07

on August 3, 2008

Last night we had our Christmas Eve service at church. Our church is too big to try and fit everyone into two services on Christmas Eve, so all the services this weekend were the same as the Christmas Eve service is going to be. It was wonderful – just the right thing to put our focus back on Christ and not all the last minute things we’ve been so busy doing.
As the service is starting, I see a darling little girl in the front row dressed in many, many layers of red poof. I immediately had a flashback to my most embarrassing moment of my entire life. Nothing could top this one – and if something ever does, I will, in fact, be dead. But aren’t you lucky? In the early days of blogging, I had an entry that was my four most embarrassing moments. You can read it here. So without further waiting (I know you’re all on the edge of your office chairs, or in Becca’s case, on the edge of her couch) here ya go . . . . . .
#1 – Falling down in church during the Christmas Eve service. Imagine if you will, December 24, 2001 and the 2,100 seat auditorium of the Anchorage Baptist Temple is packed. I am there with our son and daughter and Tyler is at work (this stuff always happens when he’s at work). We had been celebrating all day with Tyler’s side of the family and everyone had been running around the house with typical cousin fueled joy – packed on top of regular Christmas frenzy. I guess in all the craziness, I had forgotten to feed my daughter. Or she didn’t eat – I can’t remember which. 3 1/2 year olds girls tend to be a pretty fussy bunch in the food department. We’re all gussied up (read Amber had more silky, poofy layers than should be legally allowed) and crammed into our pew with everyone else. About halfway into the service Amber starts crying that’s she’s hungry. I try to talk rationally to her – we only had about 1/2 hour to go. Then she stars wailing and I threaten her with every parental punishment known to man. She starts wailing louder and I realize we’re starting to make a scene and should probably leave.
The problem is, this is also Austin’s first communion and I can tell it’s getting close. I know he’d never partake of it if I wasn’t there with him. That was during his two month long shy phase. Amber was leaving me no option, so I told her we were leaving. She starts crying, “Nooo, I don’ wanna pankin’! Please Mommy, no pankin’ tonight!” So I wrestle her to the end of the pew and pick her up to carry her out. At this point she starts fighting me. I am completely unprepared for this as she has never done it before. I struggle back and I can feel all those silky, poofy layers starting to slip. I start praying, “Dear God, do not let me drop this brat on her precious kiester in front of all these people!” Nope, He had other plans for us that night. Instead, she shifted her weight just right, and not only did I drop her, I twisted my high heeled ankle and went right down with her. After I hit the ground I look up and all I can see is Amber standing up and a sea of shoes attached to feet and legs. I try to get up and one elderly gentleman tried to help me, but I kept stepping on the front and back of my skirt and was basically trapped. I think he finally gave up and somehow I managed to get up. I grabbed my daughter and bolted for the door.
We get to the bathroom and let’s just say by the end of it all, we were both crying. Then I did something that I cannot believe, to this day, that I did. I WALKED BACK INTO THE SERVICE. All la-tee-dah like nothing had happened. Now, Austin is crying. They had passed the bread and he had been too shy to take it. I got back before the juice (again, remember the Baptist thing) and he was able to drink that. So much for a first communion. Don’t worry, his second went off without a hitch.
For the remainder of the service all I can think is, “I must not have one ounce of pride left. Why did I come back in here? I can feel them all staring at me!!!” I might not have felt so stupid if I hadn’t been going to that church for 20 years and knew roughly 3/4 of the congregation. When the service was over, I got all the condolences, the “I wanted to help you but could see there was nothing I could do,” “I have never seen Amber act like that,” etc. So there it is. The memory that still makes my stomach turn to this day.
On a side note – even though I was so angry at my daughter, she was and continues to be nothing short of an angel. She’s never acted like this since that day and as long as I live I’ll never know what got into her that night. But it did lead me to make one rule. No Christmas Eve services without Tyler.

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