We packed up the kids and went to a candlelight Advent service at my new school tonight. There was a choir and an orchestra and it was beautiful and reverent and peaceful. At least, that is the way it looked from the lobby of the chapel, where Wes and I watched.
Fortunately he made it through the procession, because it was SUPER AWESOME. The choir assembled at the back of the church in their black robes. The front guy held a cross on a long pole and started singing "Once in Royal David's City" acapella. It was beautiful. After the first phrase, the rest of the choir joined in and they all walked to the front of the chapel together.
Did I mention that it was beautiful? Because it was. It was everything I love about liturgy and tradition and the chapel was wonderful. The weather was cool and the campus was decorated for Christmas as we joined the students and faculty walking to the chapel.
We were seated in the very back pew with two other families with small children. Unfortunately we were between the two families, so when Wes started up his one man show one of them had to get up and completely leave the pew to let us out. More on that later, because I have to tell you about Charlie and his lady friend.
Charlie was sitting next to a sweet little girl who looked about his age. At first he leaned heavily into me, but I guess after I left with Wes he warmed up to her because in the car on the way home he said "I liked that girl. Her face was pretty" and when I laughed he said "and her coat felt nice." DUDE!
So Wes didn't last long past the processional. By that point he had totally run out of things to do. He had already removed both shoes and both socks and sucked on both socks and tried to destroy a Hymnal and tried the back arching jelly body slow slide to the floor followed by indignant shrieks when we wouldn't let him crawl away under the pews. Seeing that things weren't going anywhere good I figured we better make our exit. So we displaced a family of four with perfectly behaved children so that I could take Wes to the lobby.
He did OK in the lobby for about thirty seconds before he started trying to crawl up the stairs, eat the candles, leave the building, and make a holy hell lot of noise. Refreshed from his three and a half hour nap this afternoon (I thought being rested would be a good thing, I was wrong) he had energy to BURN and that tiny lobby simply was not big enough.
He thoroughly enchanted a faculty member who was in the lobby and was dying to hold him while I went back in to watch the service, but when she reached out her arms he suddenly became Mr. Shy and buried his face in my sweater.
When I couldn't take it anymore I poked my head back into the chapel and asked Ryan if we could switch places. Ryan swears he heard Wes say "Bad boy" during this time. I swear I only said it once and it was in a joking tone. Nothing wrong with his receptive language, apparently. Ryan left Charlie in the pew and came out to take Wes. I went back in and stood behind Charlie to listen to the last hymn and watch the candle lighting part, which was done in TOTAL SILENCE. It was very cool. And then we all stood in the lobby as everyone sang carols and processed out with their lit candles. Charlie was highly disappointed that he didn't get to hold a lit candle.
Despite all the distractions, the service was very special. I had to pinch myself several times because I can't believe I get to work at this school. It is such a peaceful, nurturing place and it is exactly how I envisioned college before I went. It is EXACTLY the kind of environment I saw myself in when I decided I wanted to be a professor seven million years ago when I started grad school.
And I'm not going to lie. I had to supress a very dorky urge to tell everyone I saw that I was going to be teaching.