I’m here. Back in the high-fan air-conditioned white noise bedroom with a bag of M&M’s for company. The kids aren’t driving me batty this time. I am just worn. out. Tired. Exhausted. Oh me oh my whump exhausted.
Why? You might ask. Why so tuckered?
Vacation. Bible. School.
In theory I understand the charm. I do. I really really do. Kids having fun at the church. Church is a fun place to be. Jesus loves you. Here, let me share the love of Jesus with you so you know and feel that Jesus loves you. Reaching un-churched families. Reaching families without a current church home. Involvement in the community. Aiding children in their spiritual growth. . . . and so on. Truly, undeniably, wonderful, worthwhile things.
But whyyyyyy VBS? Why? I see no vacation in it. Though there is a Bible there. Every day. And that’s very, very good. But I would never call what I did this week with 3 and 4 year-olds school. I’ve taught school. And this weren’t it. It was managed chaos. It was screaming. It was lots and lots of animal noises (we did a County Fair theme). Yeah, yeah, yeah, it was fun. Sure. It was fun. For everyone.
But tired. Oh dear. So tired. Me. My kids. All three. And I think that’s been my big whine this week. Our church does VBS in the evenings, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. My kids are generally in bed, if not asleep, by 7:30 PM. You do the math. This week they went to bed at nearly 10PM four of the nights, and 10:30 on the last night. The bright spot? One morning. One morning they slept until 9:10 AM. Otherwise: 7:30. As usual. Again, you do the math. Tired doesn’t even begin to describe what became of my children this week. Or what became of me, primary caretaker of exhausted children who, as we’ve already established, are given to fits of screaming and beating on a good day. I invite you to imagine . . . just imagine . . . this week.
And that was just my day-job.
Because my evenings were taken over by even more 3 year olds (and some 4’s), screaming, laughing, running, poking, kissing, prodding, pushing, having all manner of good time. The nerve. We’d get home at 9:30, dump everyone into bed, and by ten we were finally child free. For me, the first time since 7 or so that morning. Unless you count the hours between midnight and 7 during which the Ugly Teething Monster ravages my poor innocent baby for whom nothing but some Mommy Milk will console. If you count those hours, it was 22 hours since I had been child free. Did I mention I’m an introvert? I need. some. quiet. time.
Actually, I need a bowl of ice cream and some time snuggled up on the couch with the man of my dreams watching Netflixed re-runs. Ahhhhhh. Heaven. Except I would do that and then it would be midnight and then Ruthie would have her first wake-up just as I was drifting off to sleep and I would start bolt upright to her first cry out and look to find a bed-head-blond with a yellow waffle-weave blankie tucked under her chin rubbing sleepies from her eyes. Oh. You dear. Sweet. Baby.
So, this week’s exhaustion got me reflecting on this creature known as V. B. S. Where did it come from? Who’s bright idea was this? Who thought it was a good idea? I grew up Catholic, and, in those days at least, Catholics didn’t do VBS. Smart. Smart people. Why? I ask my Cradle Presbyterian Husband. Why did someone dream up VBS? Why inflict us with such agony, such pain? What had we done to deserve it? Why do we do it to ourselves?
My conclusion: Protestant Purgatory.