When I was around 11 years old, our church’s new pastor had called my mother and requested a meeting with her. She went to see the pastor and he said he needed to talk to her about something. I don’t know if someone else was actually there but he said he’d heard some very bad things. About me. He went on to say how he’d heard about this from several members of the church and that he sympathized with her having to deal with a child such as myself. He went on to say that he’d known parents who put their children into state care because they were so out of control and wild. Well, this completely sealed the deal with for my mother. She told him what she thought about his idea, what he could do with it, and where he could put it. She would tell me years later that she probably taught him some new words that day.
One might wonder what I was doing that was so very terrible. In truth, I have no idea. I largely ignored the whispering softly other people. I was a bit more curious than other people. I loved to climb and explore. I asked questions quite bluntly, I can’t remember any specific incidents but I probably made a few people uncomfortable. I would sometimes dawdle when I would step out for a bathroom break because I was so bored during the service. I don’t claim to have been an angel, ever in my life. I got in a couple of fights at school and I’m sure I sometimes acted like a brat. I did get the impression I was a little too free for some of the older people at church. They thought children should just be quiet and sit still, just like all of their children did. Allegedly. She told me I really wasn’t that bad. In fact, if I was a boy, a lot more people would have found my behavior perfectly normal.
Unsurprisingly, my parents decided to find a new church for our family. We had just celebrated the retirement of the previous pastor and I didn’t know of any problems with the new one yet. So, it was surprising to my younger sister and I that we were suddenly changing churches. My family and I had gone to the same church for years. My parents attended that church for some years before I was born. My family was also really involved in this church. My parents were in the choir, involved in events, and sat on boards. My sister and I attended Sunday school classes and participated in various children’s activities. We had all gone on a few family retreats. She was quite the Christian woman but in no way quiet or submissive.
The reason remained unknown to me for several years. When I asked my mom why we were changing churches, she’d never give me a real clear answer, though she was clearly unhappy with the situation. I don’t actually know if she was trying to protect me and my feelings, or if she thought she would wind up going on a rant that involved many words that she didn’t want me using. Either way, I didn’t know the reason for the switch for some time and it was my mother that told me. And she’d still get really angry about it. I don’t blame her at all for wanting to protect me. It actually kind of amuses me to think this person could.
My mother passed away a little over two years ago. This remains one of my favorite memories of her. We did have our own arguments and disagreements but she was strong, liberal, and taught me everything I know, in that respect.
Rachel Glenn is a writer, a small business owner, and a mom.. She really enjoys crochet and reading, when the time is available. She is a hippie and a witch.