Our Yearly Trip To Church

There are certain things I only would do for my kids.  Changing diapers on a six year old.  Wiping snot off a 12 year old.  Yelling at a 15 year old to stop eating his boogers. 

Going to church.

My husband and I have years of church under our belts.  We know all the hymns.  We have collected offering, helped with services, run the sound system (him, not me), cleaned.  We went to church schools, Bible schools, church camps.  We were in our church's version of Scouts.  We met at a college that is run by the church we grew up in.

And then we became atheists. 

I mean, we stopped going to church before then.  But then we admitted there was an issue we had mentally skirted for years.  We just didn't believe.  He knew it first.  It took me several more years.

So we don't go to church.   Except once a year.  On Scout Sunday.

As you can imagine, we are trying to fly under the radar here.  Now that scouts are opening up to gay scouts, we are a lot happier.  But they aren't opening up to atheists, a group that is hated more than Muslims and homosexuals in America.  However, our local group has been incredibly open and welcoming to autism, another difference that sets us apart.  And it is the only thing that Sam and Isaac participate in outside of school.

Our kids are a different story on the issue of believing.  Sam (15) is not sure.  Isaac (8) is sure he believes in Jesus.  But he also believes in Santa, even when I told him it was fiction.  I tell them they will decide for sure when they are adults.  And even then it may be fluid.  And I tell them if real evidence is found, I'd be open to changing my mind.

Our local group is incredibly kind and accepting of our kids' differences and so we overlook our disgruntlement of national policies. AND we went to church. 

I wore a dress, which is a source of sarcastic comment from many friends.  I'm definitely a pants person.  Which partly is related to the dress code at my church boarding school.

Sam played drums.  Isaac marched with the Cub Scouts.  Both wore their Class A uniforms.

And Nathan and I sat in the toddlers room. 

I could tell as soon as we walked in that he was ready to clap his hands and do some vocalizing, and that's where we always wind up.  So I saved myself the trouble and went there first.

I am very proud of my boys.  And scouts is not for everyone.  As far as I know, Nathan MIGHT be atheist and totally reject their policies.  But the one time we tried Cub Scouts was an incredible fiasco. 

It is hard to watch his younger brother be so much more able.  So much more able to fit in.  So much more able to sit.  So much more able to control his body.  So much more able to keep himself from being driven to destroy stuff, like craft supplies.  Or eat them.

However, every year is a milestone.  A marker to compare to the previous year.  And I saw improvements this year.

On the walk to church, Nathan was interactive and laughing.  When I told Isaac that friends would tease me about my dress, Nathan sang "beautiful girl, lovely dress.  Where she is now I can only guess."

At church, Nathan was actually more quiet and calm than he has been previous years.

When he was done, he told me so.  He asked for 'home.'  He punched it into his Proloquo2Go when I prompted him.  On the way home, he told me he wanted "triangle chips."  So we stopped by the store and he tried the old bait and switch to ice cream, but then settled on cheese popcorn when I told him 'No.'

Waiting is hard.  Hard when I feel like time is passing too fast for him to catch up.  But we have gotten to the point where there is nothing to catch up to.  To imagine he would catch up to peers is ludicrous.  So now we are on Nathan-time.  Watching his progress.  Prompting him.  Supporting him.  Trying to put anything that could help him on his journey in his reach.

On Nathan-Time.


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