I have a very part-time job, three hours a week, providing child care in a church nursery and I really like working there.
It's a small space where I can work by myself. I've had some issues with a couple of women I've worked with in the past. Overreactions and lack of attention being my biggest peeves, our job is to play with the kids not sit in a chair resting our eyes. So working by myself is a big plus.
The kids who come in during services are really little giving me a baby fix. There are a couple of girls, sisters, who come visit me every week for half an hour before Sunday school starts. Then they stop by again to bring me whatever snack they had in class.
Lately, we've been playing documentary filmmaker. There's a play camera and laptop in the toy box. One sister will run the camera and I'll work the laptop. I'm told I'm editing. The other sister will line up stuffed animals and introduce them as her kids, or they'll talk about their grandma. When I'm the subject they ask me questions like what my favorite color is and how old my kids are. We have fun.
This church is a gay church. They welcome the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community. The pastor and her partner have been together for many years. Mostly couples attend, some straight couples attend with their grown child and their partner. Siblings and friends also attend with the gay person in their life. There are grown children who attend with their gay parents. There are also straight people who attend because they like coming to church there. They call it "A Church Without Walls".
I'm sure it's because these are possibly the friendliest people I've met in my life.
When I told this to the woman who oversees child care she said "Well, we are...." then she did jazzy hands with a big smile "GAY! You know, in the old sense of the word."
Parishioners come in to say hi and enquire about my kids. There are people who will hug me hello when I walk into the building. I chat with parents when they drop off their children, exchanging happenings and ways to de-stink kid's shoes.
Most of the kids who spend time with me are adopted or fostered. One couple are the foster parents to a brother and sister. When I first met the little boy he was four months old but looked like a newborn, he was so little. He's had significant respiratory issues due to the biological mom's heavy smoking during her pregnancy.
That was in April. Now, he's fat, happy, crawling, blowing raspberries and doing all the things that babies should be doing. One of their moms said the kids were in bad shape when they arrived to live with them. I said children should ever be in bad shape, they should all have good moms who take care of them. Seeing him change and thrive under their care is really amazing.
The reason I like to work there is because they make me feel like I'm part of the community. I've worked at several churches and at most of them, there's a distinctive boundary between the members of the congregation and me. I'm an employee.
Where I'm working now, that line isn't there. I know that sounds sappy but it's true.
I have to be careful not to be too self-congratulatory on how cool and accepting I am being straight, square and suburban working at a gay church. But I like seeing same sex couples holding hands and hearing anniversary announcements every Sunday. One couple has been together for 45 years. It gives me a lot of hope that the world is going to change it's attitude in my lifetime.
We've already come so far. I remember commenting how fantastic it was that Joe Biden not only appeared on Ellen, he congratulated her on her recent marrige to Portia de-Rossi. Just that Ellen is out and proud, hosting a popular talk show and being a spokesperson for Cover Girl cosmetics show how far we've come in just fifteen years.
After the rash of suicides by gay teens who'd been bullied I thought how much I'd like to bring them to the church where I work so they could get a hug hello, hear how long the couples have been together and meet their children. But mostly to see how enthusiastically happy they all are. That is really does get better.
And they have donuts.
Amanda's beauty tip of the day: If you are going to use self-tanner, really exfoliate before applying and wear gloves to protect your hands or they'll turn orange.