And now it was Sunday.
And time to choose a church.
Michael chose one before any of us were even out of bed.
And so we went.
The service was at 10:30 AM. We made it early! (This is a miracle!)
Maeryn insisted on wearing her silver glittery high heeled shoes with a pink jumper. I did not approve of this choice. I felt like this casual dress did not go with those fancy shoes and I was pretty stubborn about it. Michael raised an eyebrow:
"Is it really that big of a deal?"
Yes. Yes it feels like a freaking huge deal. I don't want people to judge my parenting based on my child's clothing choices. I don't want people to think we don't have enough money or good enough judgement to help our children choose appropriate footwear. I don't want my five year old to look like a hooker.
"It's not. Let's go."
And he put the shoes down on the welcome mat, and Maeryn put them on, and he took her hand and out the door we went.
I'm usually the parent who lets things go easily. I rarely put my foot down on things like clothing choices. But as a feminist who is against the sexualization of young girls certain things just stab at me - even if maybe they shouldn't.
So I was preparing myself. I was steeling myself. I was putting up all of my walls. I don't want people to stare. I don't want judgemental glances. I don't want them to think we are poor or stupid or uneducated...
And again, as usual, it was me who was judgemental. Me who was stupid. Me who was, inherently, poor.
The first people we encountered were around age sixty - a man and woman. The woman smiled and said, "Those are some beautiful shoes!"
Maeryn was thrilled.
I was ashamed.
She can make her own choices. I am not always wiser, or always right.
And church was great.
It was overwrought and the sound wasn't perfect and the preaching was fine and not fabulous but the people...
They were real and authentic and friendly and kind.
When I asked him about Sunday School Jonah said, "It was awesome." And he usually sort of hates Sunday School.
The pastor announced a potluck set for after church and of course we hadn't prepared for that. He said, "Even if you didn't bring anything, stay and eat with us." I don't believe that crap for a second. I have manners. I'm not going if I didn't bring anything. If you are in need, you should eat that potluck food. And there were times when we didn't have money for groceries that potluck was the only way we were eating dinner - thank God for those potlucks - but I didn't want to take something I didn't need, that wasn't for me...
And then five separate people invited us and reiterated that we were welcome to attend and that they wanted us to come.
Michael brought some apples from the bus so I could get over myself. There's been a lot of that lately...
And we went to the potluck.
We sat at a table alone because we knew no one.
And another family chose to sit next to us. And two women sat next to us too. And they wanted to know us. They wanted to know all about us and they didn't even know the bus was ours. They wanted to be our friends. I almost cried several times sitting there at the naked picnic table with half-eaten so delicious cheesy potatoes.
And so Asheville is the city of proving me wrong.
And it couldn't feel more right.