I get to church late.
I’m not so good at holy,
but the cello and guitar
They are already singing.
I spot Steph and her girls
near the back.
I feel a great sense of ownership over both of the little ones,
and sit next to them like they are half mine.
There are no other children in the service.
It is a silent room save songs and scripture.
Steph untangles a fistful of her hair from Jolie’s chubby
fingers, and hands her to me.
At the pulpit,
the pastor is
the last supper.
We are invited to reflect on
the solemnity of passover.
Adeleigh bangs her head on the pew.
Steph comforts her.
We are no choir of angels.
Adeleigh reaches for me to hold her,
Steph takes Jolie, and the four of us
raise our hands towards heaven.
It is a slow, drunk dance of tiptoes on pews,
and song sheet as pacifier for quiet’s sake.
During silent confession,
we give Adeleigh the iphone to watch
movie clips, and Steph resigns her long brown hair
to Jolie’s grasp.
When we are invited to remove our shoes and socks, Adeleigh squeals
and dives under the pew to begin.
She holds my finger with
her two and a half year old hand
as we walk to the front, and waits in
line with eyes wide.
Jodi moves the bucket closer
when Adeleigh sits,
and she laughs louder
than the soft strum of guitar
when water hits skin.
“It’s so told Aim! It’s so told!” She tells me.
Her little toes wiggle and are dried.
We switch spots. She holds my hand
while my feet, which have been stuck in tired black
sneakers for an eight hour shift
The water is ice told.
After another song and prayer
I am not sure how to quietly explain
to Adeleigh why she should not take the
bread and juice. I am not even sure what
the rules are about toddlers at the Lord’s table.
But she is on my hip, and I am going to be taking
the sacrament, so I whisper that she can come with me,
but just to watch.
She looks me in the eye and nods.
This means nothing.
As I approach the kind woman who says
“this is the body and blood,” Adeleigh reaches
in tandem with me for bread and juice.
She closes her eyes and says “mmm” while
wiggling her shoulders, something I taught her
while feeding her vegetables.
I whisper a thank you to the woman
and we find our seats.
I am not so good at holy,
but I know what is good
when I see it.
Jolie is starting to doze.
The pastor ends the service
with a benediction.
I leave church with washed feet,
changed by the smallest love,
holding what is holy
as close to my heart
as she’ll let me.