I have heard mythical tales that there are divorced women out there who look forward to having a few days off when the ex has the kid(s). I am not one of them. Without getting into too many details, because this is my blog and therefore one of the few places the specter of my first marriage does not get to intrude, my ex does not believe that Mario has autism. No, it is something that I have made up to get attention, a fiction I have apparently maintained since 2005, and that I have managed to convince numerous doctors and therapists to conspire in with me, along with the school system and the state social security and Medicaid departments. Because that makes sense.
All that is to say, when Mario is with them, his rules and rituals are disregarded. I think that maybe his paternal grandmother might be the exception, although I don’t think she would admit it to me. But I do feel better knowing that Mario spends a lot of time at her house when he’s gone. And I will be waiting, looking out the window, for his return at 8:00 tomorrow morning. Starting at 7:53 or so, of course, not standing at the window all night or anything.
I participated in a ritual of my own this morning, several of them, in fact. The church choir director went out of town this weekend, so I had to lead the hymns, and tell everyone when to stand up and sit down, at both services. I’m a Methodist, and if you know anything about that denomination, you know that you don’t just stand up when you dang well please, and you certainly don’t wave your arms and jump around. Nope, someone tells you “please stand and do this,” and someone tells you “you may be seated,” and this morning that person was me.
I guess I’m able to look outside of the, uh, methodology of it all because, even though I grew up in this same church I now attend, I scarcely darkened the door from age 16 to age 35 or so. Be advised that Methodists will give you a job to do. “Hey, Lenzi, welcome back after 20 years! We want you to serve on this committee, and bring a covered dish.” And I know it’s absurd on some level, because I’m the type of person who sees absurdity almost everywhere, but I do it, because it’s important to people I care about. (I am a liberal Christian, so I’m most concerned with Jesus’s parables and the act of serving the poor in the community, rather than taking very much that’s in the Bible literally.)
But there’s one ritual that I am sometimes forced to participate in that strikes fear in my heart, and that is communion. Not receiving it, but administering it. I’m still not sure when it was decided that members of the congregation could give communion. I don’t remember it happening when I was a kid, but now it does, and today I had to do it. What I’m concerned about is tearing off too big a piece of bread and choking someone. Or tripping and pouring grape juice on someone’s head. Of course, this negative fantasy ends with me being even more of a social pariah. And my social anxiety is such that I’m always afraid that I’ll scream out “Fuck you Yankee Blue Jeans!”or something equally offensive during a moment of contemplation. Sort of like how you’re afraid you might just jump off when you’re standing up somewhere high, not because you’re depressed, but because you just might not be able to help it? No? It’s just me then.
Actually, the accompanist thanked me after the first service for not giving her too big a piece of bread, so that’s a legit fear that other people have. But for the second service, I got the grape juice tray instead. And we had a lot more people, because most people would rather roll in at 11 instead of 8:30, so I had more time to relax and zone out while I was doing it. I realized, “this is a ritual.” I mean, I think about Mario’s rituals, and how mysterious they are to me, and of course how amusing at times, because mostly you have to laugh so you don’t cry. We have no idea what he thinks will happen if he doesn’t follow the “rules.” His shrink even asked him what would happen if, for example, someone touched him while they were eating something he didn’t like, but Mario couldn’t tell us.
And then here I am stressing over this ritual, when the worst that can happen if I do it wrong is that someone gets mad at me. Ooooo, I wonder what that would be like! /sarcasm It’s not like, even if you’re one of those hellfire and brimstone Christians, that the Bible says you have to do it a certain way or you’ll go to hell, it’s just something we do in remembrance of Jesus. I almost think I may be assigning more judgement to it on behalf of the people receiving communion because of my exposure to Mario’s rituals and rules, because for the better part of eight years I’ve been on the lookout for freakouts all the time. It’s as if I expect the congregation to have autistic meltdowns if I don’t do the ritual just the right way. I’m not sure I would have assigned potential freakouts to as many people as I do if not for having birthed an autist.
Thankfully, right at the end of the service, one of the trustees, who was ushering today, had trouble getting his little grape juice shot glass out of the little hole in the hubcap we pass the juice out on. He kept pulling and pulling and that little glass was not coming out, so he started laughing, and then I started laughing because he did. It’s interesting what people find funny in moments of solemnity. And nobody shunned me, or fell in the floor and started banging their head because I didn’t do it a certain way. Actually, the worst thing that could happen because of today’s ritual is that, even though last year I told the lady that coordinates the communion helpers that I wouldn’t do it because I’m not comfortable doing it, now she saw me do it twice this morning because I filled in for the choir director who was supposed to do it, so she’s probably going to ask me to do it again. And the worst thing of all, even worse than having to possibly do it again, is that I was wrong about my comfort level, and giving out communion just wasn’t that bad. I hate being wrong.
After church, I treated myself to a triple prime cheeseburger at Ruby Tuesday followed by a three hour nap. Maybe that’s why some divorced ladies like daddy weekends! The nap, not the cheeseburger. Now for a nice sweet red wine mixed with Throwback Pepsi communion time of my own, while I watch an old David Lynch movie. Hope you had a great weekend!