Most Sunday evening at our church, you can find worshipers wearing clothing that runs the gamut from business-casual all the way to gardening or bicycle-wear. We've got a tradition of coming-as-we-are to worship, secure in the belief that God loves us as we are and we don't need to prove our devotion with fancy garb.
However, the other Sunday a group of young men from the Mennonite Voluntary Service household showed up wearing neckties, something we'd never seen them do before! One of the volunteers is getting married soon, and they invited us to help him get used to the idea of dressing up for the wedding by wearing ties on Sunday evening in solidarity. So ties have been appearing around the necks of unexpected people at church recently.
Last Sunday I saw a delightful interaction. Joy's former daycare buddy has a younger sister, an adorable curly-haired toddler, not yet two. Little Sister was sitting on her daddy's lap during the service, giggling over his necktie, which he never wears ordinarily. She was trying to stick the end of the tie into his mouth, and he was playing along, lipping at it and then pretending to spit it out. Just the sort of playful little back-and-forth interaction that automatically happens when you enter the average little tyke's world during the peek-a-boo years.
Not every family gets to have that experience with their toddler, though.
Joy certainly wasn't interested in that kind of back-and-forth interactive people play at that age.
So I'm feeling extra-blessed and grateful that we're getting it now.
There's been just an explosion of back-and-forth giggly-games in the past few weeks, building on the "funniest things in the world" snippets that I've posted about occasionally this past year. The game might involve yawning back and forth. It might involve her greeting one of her therapists with an expectant "woof! woof!" at the door (shades of John Elder Robison!) There have been "in, out" games involving toys and a bucket. There have been "on, off" games around stacker-toys (and, less ideally, light switches!) Lots of peek-a-boo, with variations: "bye-bye / HELLO!" "Where's the turkey? / GOBBLE-GOBBLE-GOBBLE!"
My favorite recent game, though, goes like this:
Joy comes over and leans on me for a cuddle and says "NNNNIGH-nigh!"
Then I hug her, stroke her hair, pat her shoulder.
Then she pops up with a mischievous twinkle and announces "GUCK-guh!" (wake up!) And then we giggle and do it all over again -- JoyDad and Joy are upstairs playing the nigh-night game as we speak.
Y'know, I could tie myself into all sorts of regretful knots, in the comparison that Joy is only NOW doing -- at the age of almost seven -- what comes naturally to a kiddo five years younger.
I choose instead to rejoice in our blessings, and to enjoy this delightful interactive peek-a-boo stage to its fullest.
Maybe I'll celebrate by wearing a tie to church tonight...