We have lived in Florida for three years now, and with our little one being overdue for Christening, we finally made a decision to go to church today. I can not say that the lack of churches is our reason for postponing our first Florida church visit, as there are churches everywhere. We actually have a Greek orthodox church a few houses down, and another big church across the street. Around the corner there is another Church, which is mainly Hispanic, and we have received many invitations from our neighbors.
Although we have received invitations, these have all been from churches in other areas, and with my husband working as much as he does, we needed something close by, so that I can get there with the boys on foot.
We finally decided on a Church, which is about 2 miles away, where the boys and I attended a great fall event last year. The one thing I noticed was that everyone there were extremely welcoming, and it seemed like a great mix of people. I have heard from others that they do a lot of charity work, and after studying their website and the programs they had, we decided to give it a try.
Today was the big day. My husband was hesitant, but in the last minute he put on his fancy clothes and actually went with us. I had lots of nice clothes for the two little ones, but I soon discovered that I really did not have much for my oldest son, since he has not had any reason to wear "nice" clothes. Well, I ended up finding a white Ralph Lauren shirt, that was a size too big for him. I had gotten it at a thrift store a while back, and after I tugged it into his pants and rolled up his sleeves, I decided it would do just fine.
So off we went to church, which ended up being quite an experience for the little ones. Everyone welcomed us to the church and we got name tags and informational materials, we were invited to a picnic next weekend at a local park, and we were shown around briefly before the service.
Neither my husband nor I have had a church in the U.S., so we were not sure of what to expect. I had always been worried about the boys making noise, but the church had that all taken care off.
We dropped the baby (now 7 months old) off at the nursery. I was a bit nervous about how he would do, as he is always stuck to me. Whenever I hand him over to my husband, it does not take long before he starts crying for me. The girl next door (22) sometimes take him to see her mom next door briefly, and when my brother and his girlfriend were here in October they also watched him briefly. That's about it though, so I was very relieved when the nursery director handed me a pager in case they needed me.
Sky, my three-year-old son was in a room for 3-4 year olds, but I was not worried about him as he is quite outgoing. He has never been to daycare though, but he has been left in someone else's care a few times.
Our seven-year-old son went with us to the service, and half way through he and the other kids 5th grade and younger were called to the back, where they left together to go upstairs for their own little church service.
The minister and the sermon was quite impressive. Nothing out of the ordinary, but with the emphasis on compassion and understanding. He put in a few threads from modern life, and we enjoyed the choir and live music as well.
After the service, we went to pick up the kids. The baby had been crying a little, but then he had fallen asleep in the arms of the nursery director. When I went to pick him up she was sitting with him in a rocking chair, and he was looking up at her with these big questioning eyes. He was quiet, but it was obvious that he was wondering how I could have left him just like that. He was comfortable though, and the director had the perfect motherly touch.
My husband picked up our toddler, and when I met up with them the teacher told me that he had been very well behaved. He had shared and done what he was told. She also said that he was very bright, and he was excited about all the stuff they had done. He brought us some drawings, and he was eager to tell us all about his church class. I think this is going to be the perfect preparation for when he starts pre-k in August.
My oldest son came down from upstairs with one of the youth teachers. He was not as excited as our middle son, but there was potential.
All in all it was a great first visit to the church, and I think we might just have found the one for us. The next step is to figure out how to get the little one christened. I hope we can get it done, when my dad is here in March, but it all depends. In my family we have a family christening gown that my mother's generation, my generation and now our kids have all been wearing. It is over 100 years old, and while my mother brought it to New York, when my oldest son was christened, I really don't want to have it make the trip to the U.S. again. It makes me sad that my youngest son won't be christened in it, because my two oldest sons and the rest of us have been, but seriously I just don't trust the airlines with it. It is too big to fit in a carry on, and it would be a disaster if my great grandmother's dress got ruined or lost because of me.
How did you find your church?
Do you have a special Christening gown in your family?