Last June I took Jane into Nursery at church for the first time. She wasn’t quite 18 months (a few weeks shy) but I asked the leaders if I could start bringing her in because we were just wandering around the halls for the last couple hours of church. They were enthusiastic and told me it was no problem at all, so we headed in. Jane really enjoyed her time in there, and I was looking forward to being able to attend my meetings for the first time in months. I planned to stay with her for a few weeks, or as long as it took her to fully transition without me. The next Sunday, I brought her in again. This time, there were different leaders. They were kind and welcomed Jane no problem, but there was something missing. I felt very strongly that the children in there weren’t getting the love and nurture that they needed/deserved. I don’t know if I was biased because my own child was in there, but I felt uncomfortable with the idea of leaving Jane. Later, I had many mothers (and a couple of fathers) express to me that they too had felt a little uncomfortable leaving their children (note: the leaders who were in there were just fine. They just weren’t super compassionate or nurturing. The children needed that.)
That week I crossed paths with a couple of members of the primary presidency, and I expressed that I would be interested in serving in the nursery. The very next Sunday I was released from the calling I was serving in, and was called as a Nursery worker. I had never before had any interest in serving in that capacity. In fact, when Megan was in nursery in Iowa, I really did not enjoy the times that I was asked to substitute in nursery. Back then, I thought it would be my least favorite calling and never hoped or dreamed that I would actually WANT to serve in the nursery.
My attitude about serving in the nursery this time around could not have been more different. I LOVED it. I grew to love each and every one of those sweet children so much. When they called me, the plan was that I would switch off with another worker each Sunday so that we could each attend our meetings every other week. But I couldn’t bring myself to miss out even one week, so I went every Sunday. I found out I was pregnant not long after I had been called, and I battled morning sickness pretty severely for several months, but each Sunday I went (and secretly munched on snacks at snacktime!) I didn’t mind the runny noses or the stinky diapers. My back held up surprisingly well each Sunday, and I was able to lift and cuddle and comfort those sweet little children – my own daughter included. I guess some people would say there is not a lot of glamour or prestige in a nursery calling (as if those things are important) but I felt very strongly that I was serving exactly where I was needed and I worked hard to serve to my full capacity. It didn’t hurt that I absolutely loved being in there with those children.
When I publicly announced that I was pregnant (I was about 16 weeks along,) the primary presidency told me that they would need to release me because there was a policy about pregnant women serving in nursery. I was SO SAD. I’m not gonna lie: I cried. And cried. I told them to please not release me. I said that it was better for my back then sitting for long periods of time, and that I would continue to attend nursery anyway because Jane had grown accustomed to having me there. When my release was discussed in Bishopric meetings, I encouraged Adam to vote to keep me in that capacity. And it worked! Here I am, 39.5 weeks pregnant and I served in the nursery every single Sunday until just this past week when my body decided it was done (I actually wasn’t able to make it to church at all. If I had, I likely would have been found serving in the Nursery!) There were several Sundays when I would come home thinking I just couldn’t do it anymore, but the next week I was right back in there, loving on “my” Nursery children.
This past Sunday was the first time Jane ever attended nursery without me. I had Adam check on her frequently, and she did great (she for sure missed me though…she came home from church and ran in the door shouting “Janie’s home! I missed you!”) I feel a lot more comfortable now with leaving her. We have two new sets of leaders and I think they do a great job. I still feel a great sense of sadness with the realization that I will no longer be serving in the nursery. My having a baby is the only thing that could’ve taken me out of there. I am sad that the children will probably come to forget me. I am sure that the new leaders and workers will do a great job, but I worry that even just one child will go over-looked for even just a few moments. I really do love those children. Each one of them. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to serve them. I hope I get the chance again someday with another set of beautiful children.
And actually, in 18 months I’m going to have another nursery aged child….hmmmmm…. 🙂