this past sunday i was asked to perform the lighting of the advent candle with one of my children. my choice. both a11 and s9 were quite keen on doing it – c14 quickly informed me that he was way too cool for that. (i’m sure he used a phrase that is infinitely more current than “too cool”, but i don’t remember exactly what it was.) while a11 would have been the safe choice, possibly even the expected choice, i did the unpredictable. i asked s9.
when we arrived at church we were handed a lighter to light the candle with. just a run of the mill, regular ol’ lighter – the kind that’s somewhat impossible for kids. and for an added degree of difficulty it had to be held sideways – in order to actually light the candle.
s9 and i pow wowed. i suggested that perhaps i should actually ignite the lighter and he could guide my hand to do the actual lighting of the candle. but that’s not what he’d signed up for. he was there to perform his duties to the best of his abilities and that included him doing the lighting, sans me.
the time came for us to make our way to the front of the church. i do my reading and right on cue s9 gets the lighter lit. and then he turns it sideways to light the candle. seconds tick by. he begins to grimace. then he, quite loudly and with the aide of a microphone, declares, “ouch, ouch, i burned my finger.” he repeats it a few times, but i manage to move the microphone so those past the first 10 or so pews might not have caught it all. but they got the idea i’m sure.
ever quick on my feet, i manage to grab the lighter and get the candle lit. i read a bit more and light the second candle. (since it’s the second week of advent there are two.) all the while, right behind me, s9 is hopping from foot to foot, shaking his finger vigorously and making an air sucking in sound in a not so quiet manner.
we sit back down. i was for the most part unfazed. i figure you ask kids to participate you should expect a bit of ad libbing. but after the service another mom asks how his finger was and i said fine, he’d sort of been hamming it up, and her reply to me left me a bit speechless. she said, “oh, good. but how embarrassing for you.”