The other day in church, I discovered a strange, fascinating phenomenon. I was holding the 3 year old in my lap (simultaneously rocking the infant carrier in hopes of getting the baby to sleep), when he suddenly got down to sit somewhere else in our row. Relieved for the breather, and hoping for a chance to look at the baby to see the sleep-to-wake-ratio, I leaned over.
But only for a moment.
For in that split second when I had empty arms, my 5 year old took note and rapidly claimed my lap as his own. It was as if I was a human vacuum. As soon as one child moved, another rapidly took his place. I continued to observe this pattern the entire service. I was later holding the 5 year old again when my 8 year old noticed a thigh with available real estate. "Aha!" he must have thought. "I can place my head right there!". And he did.
Only when I was standing did I not have an older child on my body (of course I was holding the baby and holding hands with one or more children while standing). I think the children have a radar. When Mommy's lap/arm/thigh is open, they hear a loud high pitched sound, directing them immediately to the open body part.
It goes without saying that I do very little actual worshiping during church. I know that someday I will worship again. Though it will be lovely to hear more than a snippet of a reading or a phrase from the homily, perhaps I will miss my arms being full of children. Perhaps.