One evening several months ago I got a phone call from the childrens' department at our church. I believe I was in the middle of something important at the time (probably watching Desperate Housewives or something) because I only vaguely remember the conversation. The cheerful voice at the other end asked if I would be interested in helping out with the kids on Sunday mornings. Since Charlie spends about three hours in the nursery each Sunday (while Ryan and I go to Sunday School and church and linger over free muffins and coffee in the parlor and talk like big people) I thought it would be nice if I could do something to help. Cheerful Voice assured me that it would be a huge help if I could just spend one or two Sundays in the nursery helping with the babies. Perfect! No lesson planning, no questions, just a couple of hours watching Charlie play with other kids and changing the odd diaper here and there. The commercial break was ending. I signed up.
Today I got a fat envelope in the mail. I opened it. It was my volunteer packet for the church. Among the usual lists of rules and handbooks and information forms printed on pleasing pastel colored paper was a large chart (printed on less pleasing white paper with black and red text). It was the teacher schedule. I scanned the left-most column for my name. I found it. It was printed in bold. It was beneath the "Toddler Sunday School Teachers" heading. There were asterixes (??) next to my name. My eyes nervously searched the page for any hint of what those two asterixes meant. I found the key. Panic striken, I read these words: **denotes Lead Teachers.
Oh no. No no no no no. Cheerful Voice clearly has me confused with someone else, someone more capable than me of teaching toddlers about Jesus, like say Lindsay Lohan. Or Brit Brit. Or at least someone who can, I don't know, drive their baby to daycare without muttering something obsene about another driver? Do I have to get a perm? A motif sweater with alphabet buttons?
I can already see the scowly looks of diapproval I will get when little Timmy asks his mama "What's a fiery furnace?" before dissolving into tears over his post-church Buckaroo Basket.
Do we sing? Paint? Debate the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy?
What comes after "This is the church, this is the steeple..."?
Oh shi-- cra-- dar--- golly! Oh golly! Those kids are going to eat me alive.