Amen and All the Jazz

I’m hardly as anal and, in my humble opinion, I’m way more chill with my daughter than I ever was with my first born son. Perhaps because I’ve already raised one kid to adulthood and he survived, mostly, fully intact – beyond a horrible scar I left on his little hand after a horrifying vacuuming incident in ‘99. 

Back when my son turned 11, we were living in an outport and, with limited people and resources, there was no one to take on and teach a confirmation class. What else could I do but step up to the plate and teach one? 

Sunday school

I had already set a precedent of being a do-gooder anyway, I suppose. When we first moved back to outport Newfoundland from upalong, one of the first tasks I took on was scrounging around and going on the bum until I had enough material to teach an all-ages Sunday school class. We even held a little Christmas Pageant a time or two for all the old folks to enjoy. You know the kind. ‘‘Cue the crying and bawling Baby Jesus, Mary and Joesph!  Solo time, overtired towel-headed sheep-herder kid’’ and, ‘‘Wiseman number two! You can go sit with your mudder when you’re done! Suck it up!’’ Kindergardeners!  

Funny how, now that my daughter is 11, and resources and volunteers are aplenty at the church I sometimes attend with my mom, that getting her confirmed didn’t even cross my mind. 

A friend, who has a daughter the same age as mine and is a faithful church attendee, messaged me in early October saying; ‘‘Hi Pam, didn’t know if you knew Confirmation classes started on Sunday and wondered if Elia was interested in going?’’ 

My response? ‘‘Oh Jesus!’’ I had totally forgotten that this was the year. I actually pondered missing it and not bothering. 

With busy schedules, there’s a whole lot of something – or nothing – to be at, especially on a Sunday morning. Still, something inside me knew not taking her would be wrong. 

My parents raised us in the church, and some of my best memories are from there. Sitting next to Dad – the preferred spot because he often had candy in his pockets – while I people watched and eavesdropped. Sunday school, where I prided myself on being the perfect little know-it-all. It came natural.

Raised in the church

There’s not a kiddie Bible story I didn’t know, nor a parable I couldn’t recite because my mother made sure we had the kiddie version of The Bible, an adorable picture-book, on our bedside tables. Choir friends and Mint Brook in Gambo camp-outs and  ministers, like the adorable Reverend Rowsell,  who treated us like golden treasure. All good memories. It was decided: she was going.

When I told Elia, she asked why, protesting just a little. ‘‘You need to learn about Satan, child,’’ I replied in my teasing-mom voice. She looked me up and down, then, with a side-eye look every mother is very familiar with, said: ‘‘Trust me. I know all about Satan.’’

I let it go. I was raised in the church, kid. You’re lucky I know the commandment that reads: Thou Shalt not Kill thine children, or something like that. Amen, and all that jazz.  

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