The building where ‘church school’ is held is a short distance across a parking lot from the main church. We walk over as a class. I stay toward the back to make sure the class is all together. Ryan is holding my hand and grasping Thomas closely in his other. He is being good so far, but I have trepidation on how he will do inside the church. He hasn’t spent much time in there as we usually go to the “crying room” during mass. It’s just easier for us and the fellow parishioners. I look at him clutching Thomas and silently chastise myself for letting him have it before class. But I had to get him here, I argue with my inner behavioralist. I have to find some stronger reinforcers. It amazes me how much the therapists have invaded the very way I think. Checking my watch, in hopes it took half the class time to get over here, I am disappointed that it’s only been seven minutes. Crap. It’s going to be a long night…again.
We arrive at the church and Miss Sally, the head of Religious Education at our church is sitting in her mobility scooter, waiting for us. She welcomes us with her usual cheer and all the kids are looking at her. Her scooter is fascinating to all the kids, even Ryan. She is very conscious of keeping it turned off while speaking to the kids as inevitably some child,most likely mine, will hit the gas and run over who ever is in front of her. I am not sure why she is in the mobility scooter and don’t have the heart to ask.
“Hello boys and girls! You all ready to learn some interesting things tonight?” She says in her kid-friendly voice.
There are a few ‘yes’ and ‘no’s’ said softly. She ignores the ‘no’s’ and starts to explain the rules. Already Ryan is off touching the stain glass windows. I walk over to him to start guiding him back to the class.
“We will each get the holy water, do you all know how to do that?” She asks. Just then Ryan spots the fount and decides he will demonstrate. Apparently his Thomas train needed the blessing, because it goes in the water. All the way in. I think I’m going to swallow my tongue I’m so appalled. The children see this behind Mrs. Sally’s back and begin to laugh. I know better than to scream at him and lunge toward him quickly. I pull out his arm that is now soaked halfway up the sleeve. Even Mrs. Sally thinks this is slightly funny, but she tries to disguise her smile.
“Thomas all wet.” Ryan says holding up his dripping hand towards me. His beautiful almond shaped eyes are showing his delight in giving Thomas a bath.
“Yes, he is.” I whisper, wanting to crawl under the nearby table.
“Okay, Ryan, thanks for showing us how! And, to you too, Thomas for being a good assistant.” She laughs. “Mrs. Amy, you want to line them up so they each get a turn.” Mrs. Sally turns and winks at me. I mouth “sorry” and she waves her hand in dismissal. She wheels away quickly to the entrance of the sanctuary. My heart is pounding and I’m beginning to sweat.
“Please God, help me get through this without any other sacrileges.” I say under my breath. Maybe being in His house will make that prayer more powerful.