Because I have been blessed with so many angels in my life, I try to pay things forward if I am able which at this point in my life is by work or good deeds, not so much of my deeds are financial helps because the budget is tight. So it would come to be in a church meeting, I was asked to help again with Vacation Bible School. Last year I was tasked as the leader for the 11+ group. They ate my lunch.
My vision of exemplary church going kids was crucified the first day as I looked around to see a mixture. I had 5 well mannered kids versus 15 of the not so. In fact, I am pretty sure grandmas got tired of their grandchildrens' antics and sent them off to VBS to have a break or a repentance. Did I say enough times they ate my lunch?
Back to the meeting. With big smiles and hopes on their faces, they were eager for my response as a resounding "yes" when they asked me about the teenagers again. How could I refuse? All the congregation members turned in their pews to share in the glorious relief they were prematurely feeling because they were certain I would not refuse the minister's daughter's request.
I said, "no thank you" at least 5 million times in my head and rearranged a nice question and sentence about how it would be nice to try something different and mix us up a little. But all that God let come out was a "sure" and "I'll take the wild ones." Everyone in the church sighed in stereo and all their shoulders dropped in relief.
Today was day three.
The 20 teenagers multiplied to 26. It was like herding ants.
On the first day, all the students from last year were quite deflated when they saw me. I smiled and nodded and marched through them in true drill sergeant format. It was even more effective when I patted the naughty boys on the shoulder and gave the naughty girls my famous "my eyes are on you" symbol. I Fargo flicked the mouthy one as I passed him and said, "Shhh. Listen please."
Oh, yeah. My group rocks. Even the minister is impressed by the behavior of my group. It is not without it's own unique drama. I try to hide it so next year someone will volunteer for the big kids and I can have some little angels to supervise. I told Liz, another team leader, we would fake 'em out. She sometimes helped me in between her other church duties. Liz looked at me funny and I clarified I was speaking of the congregation, not the kids. She nodded in affirmation but I think I confused her. Sometimes my humor goes over the church members' heads.
As an example of the Lord's work I am doing, I have to separate the oldest boy from two girls who think they should be acting out the role of concubines in the Promised Land. Then there is the one boy who is disruptive and refuses to participate in anything. He is anti-Jesus anything and was forced to be there. I have so marked his grading and I told him I would not make him do anything but I was sure glad he was just present in the Lord's house. Yes. I say it every time around him when he tells me "no" with my fist raised to the sky in Madea fashion. I also walk by him and tell him I am praying for him. Now, this is not in anyway making fun of church. I am trying to get through to him that we are enthusiastic. Tomorrow is a different approach to throw him off. It will be silence. I will ask him once and walk on. I am just waiting until Saturday when the parents come to the program and see his progress or lack of it. It is apparent he lacks some supervision and has no respect for adults. Today he walked off when I was talking to him. This did piss me off inside but I was happy on the outside. I need my uniform. Just for a do-over moment with some of these kids.
I have my model prisoners which I cherish and give them high fives and atta-girls and -boys and cheer them on as much as possible. The ones that try so hard get extra "pump up the volumes." You have to give them slightly more positive reinforcement than negative to keep it on the level according to psychology 101 and break them down and build them up.
There are times Bug is embarrassed by her mother. Especially during the tug of war when I was running up and down the line of my kids on the one end, yelling and cheering and stopping at the biggest kid and screaming, "Joey, dig in!!!!!" yelling like a true Viking warrior. I got a little excited for them to win.
Bug asked me quietly if I could NOT do that again. Bug is well behaved and a model student. I can't really complain. She is also helping the camp leader off and on.
Yesterday she heard one of the girls tell another girl our camp leader was a bitch. It hurt Bug's feelings because she really likes the lady and told the girls they were rude and then later told me Danielle called Miss T a "b". Drama. Of course Danielle is a church going kid with a streak of mean. I can't stand her. She has stayed over at my house a couple times too many and is not allowed again.
Danielle had the balls to ask me if she could spend the night. I said she could not because I was working and Bug could not have anyone over without supervision. Danielle loudly stated for God and all the land, "Why not? Come on. You are always gone the last times I came over." Boy was I PISSED. Instantly raised my cockles ( cockles and shells...cockles and shells...(new Fargo word substitution for hackles). I don't even know what those are (LIAR! PURPOSEFUL MISUSE OF THE WORD because it sounds like cock!) and I hope they have nothing to do with a penis, but it is the word that spewed from my fingers. I said with gritted teeth, "Danielle, that is not true and you know it. I said no." She insisted on Friday. I did not answer. After I thought about it, I thought the silence might send the wrong message so I told Bug to tell Danielle if the subject came up that she could not come over because we had too much going on. So Bug told her. Bug and I talked about it because at first, I thought she put Danielle up to it. She said with a sigh of relief, "Thank you, Momma. I didn't want her to stay over."
The rest of the night, Danielle would purposely sit next to Bug and turn her back to her in the pew, in the chairs, outside. It was obvious and so childish. I watched Bug and she smirked and went to help some younger teens with projects. I could not be more proud. We discussed it in the car later and I told her I was sorry Danielle was acting childish and mean. Bug said, "I don't care, Mom. It was kind of funny." She really is growing up. Girls and drama.
In the church, the minister's grandson was flirting (nicely and properly) with Bug. She was smiling. He is very cute and a very nice farm kid. His dad is also a minister. I teased her about it. "Mom, you noticed that? (tee hee) We are only friends. He is nice." Again, she is showing some good character.
T-Bone as I call him is another one who doesn't want to participate. He is a hardened felon in the making. I was getting a jolly big grin out of writing down, REFUSED, on all his events. He was off playing basketball in the church yard. There came a time when I checked out and stopped pressing the issue of making him join the group. Of course, the concubines tried to follow him but Sister Mother Mary No Fun (Fargo) put a stop to that.
In the midst of all this organized chaos, we have Frankie. Frankie is my favorite and he is the cutest kid ever. Angels now sing in stereo, "Ahhhhh" and ascend overhead. He is 9. He loves me. I love him. He waves to me and says, "HELLO, MISS K! MISS K, HELLO!!!" He is chubby, cute, and wears glasses. I lurve him. He is also my neighbor and rides by on his bicycle and asks me 20 questions about flowers as I work in the garden. One day he will be a superstar. He and all his brothers are wonderful kids. They are my salvation at VBS.
Then we have the oldest girl of the teenaged group who is so sweet and nice, but has been left to take care of all her siblings, including the 2 year old obnoxiously wild Jedidiah, her mother dumped off just to have a break. Yes, VBS has an age limit and while we are good, we have no one to handle the two year old Bible verse memorizing genius types or even the wild naughty future ones.
I will refer to the older teen as Rose because she is one and I don't know if her mother realizes what a good kid she is or how much she tows for the family while her mother works diligently on welfare. The family has no running water, electricity, or gas and pretty much camp in a home their grandmother willed to them but it is not neat and clean but a shining example of "squaller." Apparently, in Indiana you can live like that with 6 young children without Family Services taking your kids away. The Amish ruined it, I guess. However, the Amish do it right and are so resourceful. I could go on with praise about their genius and spirit. They also have a lovely peace with God. Perhaps they "get it" better than most and truly have the utmost relationship with God.
Now back to the "squaller." I won't go into the four fires the boys have started in their lifetime and how many residences they have burned. But anyarsonistsinthemakingandunattendedchildren, Rose is a grand special girl and I hope someday she is blessed with a treasured life where she can be herself.
After our rendition of hard labor in the games department where the fastest time hauling a backpack of bricks through tundra, walking with the burdened load through winding roads in the desert, and over hard rocks with bare feet and grinding sand-the astounding time was 36 seconds. NO, I did not make up the game. I surely would have had them on a Crossfit course or in a chain gang until they were worn out so they could listen to the minister's bible discussions. I did think the first day's tug of war was spectacular, however.
As we were instructing the big kids to go inside the church because the little kids were coming outside, we heard the loudest girl screams-the kind that pierce your ears. I looked and most of the screams were coming from boys and maybe a few girls. Rose was running toward Olin's black truck.
There was 2 year old Jedidiah up on the bumper of the pickup, pants down, pissing on the tailgate in front of God and everyone, letting it splash back on him and run down to his tennis shoes. The little ones screamed and ran like the people in the movie The Birds.
I can't wait until they go home and tell mommy and daddy they saw a penis at church.
Liz said to me, "Oh, crap, that is Olin's truck," while covering her mouth.
I leaned over and said, "I think it is just pee." (big sigh) Rose doused the truck with her bottle of drinking water, pulled up Jedidiah's pants, red in the face, and shuffled on down into the church. No foul. Good thing it was about to rain. Again.
Yep. Go Jesus!