Given the option of watching Rachel either this evening or tomorrow evening, Andrew chose today. He can't watch her every time I have to go somewhere because he's just so busy with schoolwork and it is impossible to get anything done when she's around to "help." Since it was still light outside when I left tonight Andrew chose to keep Rachel so that he could take her to the park.
As it turned out, this was a wonderful plan. We walked out the door as a happy little family: Rachel was riding on Andrew's shoulders and he and I were walking arm in arm. Rachel had no idea that in a few more paces they would head on to the park and I would turn and head to the church. She was so excited when she realized where she was going that she didn't notice or care that I was no longer with them. It worked out well--there was no temper tantrum for Andrew to deal with.
I had left in a bit of a rush because I was busy chatting with my cousin, Michelle, over IM. I would be a few minutes late, but I would probably only miss the opening song, so it wouldn't matter. Is it just me or do I always seem to be running a bit late recently?
Anyway, Sister Hepler stopped to offer me a ride and I accepted, although I normally would have declined. I was undeniably in a rush though, so I hopped in and we were off. She told me that she usually drives the other way to the chapel instead of winding through the neighborhood but the sun was glaring from that direction and she didn't want to drive into it, so I was lucky.
While we were still in the foyer of the church I could hear them making the preliminary announcements. I was only half-listening, because I was a little tied up holding the door open for Kim while she wrestled her double stroller through, when I heard this,
"...With Sister Call at the organ and Nancy Heiss conducting we'll now have our opening hymn."
Back in the recesses of my mind I remembered that Natalie had asked me to conduct the music but I didn't know what songs we were singing or anything.
"Oh, I'm conducting!" I gasped, abandoning Kim and rushing into the chapel, quickly realizing what song we would be singing since Sister Call had started playing the minute she saw me walk through the doors.
It felt kind of like being in a wedding. A very fast-paced wedding.
There I was gliding down the aisle in my floor length dress, feeling a little nervous but giving a friendly nod here and there to the audience members who, so kindly, had turned to watch me make my grand entrance. The introductory measures were goading me on. Faster, faster.
Had I had a flower girl leading the way and perhaps a bouquet, I think it would have felt just like a wedding march.
I got up on the stand and Sister Grange handed me a hymnbook, already open to The Lord Is My Light. I just had time to turn around and raise my arm when everyone broke out in song without my even giving the say-so. I quickly caught up with where we were and conducted the rest of the song, quite embarrassed, and slightly out of breath.
Sister Susan Easton Black spoke to us about the history of Relief Society, giving me time to recover before conducting the closing song, and then we had a light dinner. It was a marvelous, kid-free, evening. In retrospect, it's a miracle I got to the church on time at all. Heavenly Father really does orchestrate every small detail in our life! It was like he told the sun to shine a little more brilliantly just so that I could get a ride and arrive on time, while still allowing me to be a little late so that I would learn my lesson and leave five minutes earlier next time.
Meanwhile, back at the condo, Andrew was busy entertaining Rachel. He admitted to pushing her much higher in the swing than I would have approved of and said that she was having a great time playing at the park...until three little boys showed up. Then she just sat and watched them play, probably wishing she was that mobile. When they left and closed the gate she threw herself, face first, onto the ground in a fit of rage. She quickly realized this wasn't the best idea since she now had a mouthful of sand to deal with. Andrew took her home to clean her up and have some dinner.
She head-butted him while they were rough housing on the bed, giving him a bloody nose, she refused to be put to bed and was apparently quiet the handful but all this is very hard to believe because when I came home she was busy feeding him Cheerios. They were both happy, and relatively blood and sand free.
Besides, I know that Rachel is one of those easygoing, undemanding, calm children...