Sunday, January 20, 2008


I was surprised when I realized something this morning. Not only did I get me and the kids on our way to church 15 minutes before 9:00am church (we usually shoot for 20 minutes early, so anyone out there that can't make it to 1:00 church on time should do some serious soul searching), but I realized that I was going 10 MPH over the speed limit to get there. Mind you, it's not to send my kids off and go sit quietly with other adults, but it's to get to the nursery.

I've been there about 7 months now, and from the beginning wanted to be there plenty early, knowing other people would get to church and need to drop their child off to be on their way for their own church duties. Jamie and I have had plenty of those "I can't stay and wait for the teacher" "well I can't stay and wait either" moments, so then one or the other ends up packing the little one around, trying to prepare for whatever they are about to do, checking every minute or two to see if a nursery leader arrived, and I didn't want to cause that. We passed a Relief Society presidency member getting her clan into the car on the way, and I was happy knowing I would be there waiting when she arrived.

When I was first called to the position I did some major pride swallowing. I was recently back from my second time on Wood Badge staff, was feeling super exited about training leaders and youth, and just wanted to be put to good use. I was even thinking about that the morning I got the message the bishop wanted to see me, and thought "Here it comes!" I don't know if my face visibly fell when he said nursery, but somehow I choked out a yes and here I am. I mentioned my feelings to the bishop's wife and she said, "You're there for a reason, I'm sure you'll figure it out."

I do get flashes of that, like the Sunday it was me and something like 15 kids waiting for one of the other four nursery leaders to get there. One got there 10 minutes late, two others about 20 minutes late, the fourth never showed that day. Makes me wonder what would have happened if I hadn't been there. The primary presidency would have been scrambling for substitutes, parents hanging out trying to keep things under control.

I had another flash at about 1:15 last night while cataloging all the songs that go with each lesson, sitting there wondering why I feel so over-zealous about things sometimes.

It's a pretty thankless job. At this age very few get that excited about their teacher since they would rather be with mom or dad, and a child that is grinning, talking happily to you, and even hugging you one week will fight with everything they've got to go in the next. Or you'll start patting yourself on the back for helping one one child get comfortable enough to stay consistantly without a fuss, and another who's been doing just fine all along will suddenly decide that nursery is worse than broccoli, and you run the previous weeks over in your mind trying to think of something that happened to trigger that. But hey, there are no small parts only small actors, right? We all need to do our duty to keep things rolling along.

But still, a quick heart-felt thank you note sometime would send your nursery leaders into serious shock. It's nice to feel a little connected to people outside our 3-minute lesson (if you have a lot of pictures), playdough infested carpet, marshmellow and fish crackers world. (I say that knowing that at least two of my nursery parents will read this, but you two are exempt since you visit me every month if not more.)

The children are certainly adorable, though. I'm with the youngest group so none are even 2 yet, and they don't hardly sing at all but they sure enjoy singing time. Most have this inherent desire to make their fish crackers swim in their water, which always cracks me up when we get a newbie in and they are the first one doing it (do they give each other the low down of how things work there?). The joy and wonder bubbles can bring to them is delightful.

I'll end with an out-of-the-mouths-of-babes moment. Today's lesson was on God having a plan for us. We talked about living with Heavenly Father before we came to earth, and now we have a family to help us learn and grow, and someday, if we choose the right, we can live with Heavenly Father again someday. The kids were being really quiet and sitting very well. Right as I finished saying we could live with Heavenly Father again someday, Erin yelled, "Yaaaaay!" One of the leaders asked if we had been planning that all morning. I was so surprised I almost couldn't stop laughing to finish the last thought or two I had. Those big spirits in little bodies probably know more than I do, but it's fun trying to be their teacher.


  1. You are so perfect for that calling, Marni! I am not at all surprised. Oh, and I LOVE how out here sacrament meeting starts first. I thought it was so weird when we first moved here but now I LOVE IT! I think it's actually the norm ( I think Clinton is off that way ). Our ward just BARELY split. Before it split, there were over 800 people in the ward. If I didn't get to church a half an hour early, there was not only not a soft bench, there was no place to sit!!!

  2. I never had the oppertunity to go to nursery. My parents (by that I mean my mom) decided that there was too much biting for me to go. I was forced to attend Sunday school with my parents. Maybe that is why I always feel like I have already had every lesson.

  3. I found your blog, but I can't even remember how now. How funny that my brother's comment is here right above mine. Could I have found your blog through him? I'm not sure because I don't see a link for yours on his...Ah, maybe it was because you made a comment on his blog. I have enjoyed a lot of your links to other blogs as well as your own blog from time to time. (We have five kids too). Anyway, I wanted to comment about nursery. I've been in there several times. The first time, it was a calling. The next couple of times it was because there wasn't anyone willing to take the calling and I had kids nursery age. I could relate to a lot of what you were saying in your blog post. Hang in there! It's obvious that you make a big difference.

  4. Thank you to a great nursery leader! This by the way is not a coerced note of appreciation. I love the great attitude you have about your calling, and maybe one of these days my little Jilly will appreciate you too and actually stay the whole time happily!

  5. I have to agree with Cindi Marineau, you are making a big difference! You get down on the ground and actually play with the children, you have a quick laugh, and you also have a nice hug when they need it. Thanks so much for being in nursery. Robert really appreciates not having Ben with him anymore. And Ben is so much happier when we pick him up from nursery. I'm still trying to figure out what happened with the time change. Could it be because big sis isn't in there anymore? Go figure.

  6. Holly - See, just like I'm "perfect" for this, you're perfect for your new calling too! Hope it's going well.

    Todd - You are so deprived. I think if you found yourself a nursery calling you could fill in some empty spaces in yourself from all that you missed. Biting is no excuse.

    Cindi - Hi! I don't know if you'll even see this, so I found your blog through Todd's and will be saying hi over there.

    Karen - Jilly is getting so much better! After Eric left Sunday she calmed down really quick, climbed off my lap after a couple minutes, and kept bringing me toys to show. She's a doll. :)

    Camille - I miss Serina, even if she tried to pretend she didn't want to come at the start. It was all for your benefit, she didn't want you to know how much fun she had there. And yes, I'm guessing Ben enjoyed having big sis there, but he really does great after the first couple of minutes too.

  7. not only do I appreciate you as a part of the primary presidency, but I appreciate you as well being such a strong and amazing leader for my little Ethan, who is now no longer and a big sunbeam, but now for my little Cambree who seems to love it in there. (Except if I stick my head in the window.)And by the way...what an example you are for your early arrival to church with 5 kids and a husband in tow. Now shame on me. I find I can't find any excuses with my two kids and husband getting there on time, let alone early.

  8. Actually Ms. Christy, the husband is not in tow. He leaves by 7:30 am. I hate to say it, but my system slows down when he's there getting ready too. Sorry dear, I still love you.