Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fun? Umm, uhhh...

So Friday night runs late you climb into bed dog tired and within two minutes you are dead to the world.  You probably fed the baby a time or two during the night but you can't really remember.  The next thing you know it's 6:30 AM and your sweet husband is saying, "Hey Honey, let's take the kids to the lake today!  We could do some swimming and bike riding.  It will be great!"  In your delirium you say, "That'll be fun."

Within 3 or 4 seconds your brain has thought through everything it is going to take to get the gang up and out the door..."wake the kids, dress everyone, find all the shoes, are the swimming suits in the dirty laundry? nurse the baby, Saturday morning clean up, finish the flower beds before visitors come today, fix a bottle, pack a lunch for the picnic, load all the bikes, oh no, I'm out of peanut butter, flip flops or tennis shoes? fix breakfast, clean up breakfast, shower and possibly get to eat breakfast, and soooo much more."  It could all be done by say, noon?  

"Let's try to be gone by 7:30," he says.  "Ummmmm," you are thinking, "Let's see, what can I cut out?  I could skip showering and breakfast, grab take-out for lunch, let the kids go without shoes..." 

Well, you pull it off.  You, Hubby, 7 little kids, a packed suburban and loaded bike rack are out the driveway by 10:00--ish.  The family has a great time swimming and eating and playing together!  When the day is over and the car all unloaded your Honey turns to you and says, "Wasn't that fun?"  It isn't until that moment that you ask yourself, "Was that fun?"  

You, well, I have to answer honestly, "No, that wasn't actually fun.  It was a lot of work, and a good experience, but fun?  That hadn't necessarily come up."  I jumped out of bed running and didn't stop to enjoy much of it at all.  There were little snippets like little coos from the baby and watching the children play that warmed my heart, but the rest of the time I felt like a lifeguard, bus driver, cook, and chaperone.  Lifeguards aren't at the beach to have fun.  Bus drivers don't always share the same enthusiasm that the school children display.  Does the cook savor the food, the chaperon enjoy the activity?  I think they are more occupied with watching the clock or concerned that the event goes well, the food doesn't spoil, and the children don't drown.  

"Is Mom supposed to have fun?"  


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Be of Good Cheer"

I had the chance to visit with an "older" gentleman from our church today.  I felt I was in the presence of an angel.  He spoke with gentle love as he took me around his home showing me the artwork done by his sweetheart.  "She doesn't like me to make much of a fuss about it, but I love her and what she has created."  In the halls at church or sitting close to each other in Sunday School these two beautiful people radiate goodness and kindness to everyone around them.  Standing in their home I could feel that love enveloping me.

We stepped into his office to see the computer my husband had been helping him with and I was surprised to see a huge screen TV right there on his desk.  He explained that he is legally blind and even with this mammoth screen he still can not see what is on the computer well.  I had no idea!  I've known him for a year and never suspected that he was blind!  But in the same breath he took to explain his eyes he said, "Life is good.  We have each other--forever.  What more could we want?  We are enjoying life together."

I asked about his children and learned that 3 of their 4 adult children have already crossed to the eternities.  How much they have been through and how bitter they could have chosen to become.  I could have comfortably spent hours listening to his stories but he didn't want to bother me with the details.  He pointed out that he doesn't like to dwell in pity parties.  He is happy.

I left their home and slowly walked back to mine pondering on the beauty of life.  "Be of good cheer" is a commandment I too frequently break.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Bedtime, I mean Routine

8:20...time for the bedtime battle.  I go to call the kids in from playing in the backyard, meaning to say, "Come get on your jamas," but instead I yell out, "Yipers, clean up the yard."  Around the swingset I see a cut up cardboard box, a mount of various leaves pulled from trees and flowers, church shoes, bathroom rugs, spoons, bowls, baby dolls, purses, a squirt bottle, brush, comb, etc, etc., etc.  At least today there are no dirty diapers.  2-yr-old Sophia has entered the I-know-how-to-take-off-my-diaper phase...she's especially fond of performing her new trick when the diaper is fully loaded.

8:30...After assisting them in a quick run around clean up I go into the bathroom and find my hairspray bottle--empty.  It was full this morning.  Turns out Elisa couldn't find a water bottle so she emptied this one.  She emptied the Windex bottle for the same reason earlier today.  I probably shouldn't have gotten mad at her for that one...innocent mistake.

8:45...a few of the children have gotten in their jamas!!  The others have decided it's time for a snack.  Mom is busy on the computer so maybe she won't notice that we are all getting out graham crackers and milk.  I'm thinking, "Should I push them in the get-ready-for-bed bit or should I join them...someone's crying, be right back...

8:48...back from a quick rescue.  A picture frame bounced off Rebakah's head in it's attack of her milk cup.  Nothing a kiss and a towel couldn't fix.

I like writing about these things.  It helps me realize the humor behind them.  Otherwise, I just get overwhelmed by the constant demands and just want to join in the screaming........sometimes I do.

9:00...Anna just reported that Sarah and Sophia (4 & 2) are eating ice cream in the living room...guess I better go.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Nine-Year-Old Counsel

So, my oldest daughter, 9-years-old, pulled me aside after bedtime tonight and said she needed to talk to me.  "Mom," she says, "I don't think things got off to the right start tonight.  I shouldn't have been building that stuff at bed time and you shouldn't have yelled at me."  "I think," she tells my in a sweet, soft voice, "you need to be calmer.  Maybe you could watch some other moms and see how they do it--like Nana or Grammie, or Grandma Price."  At this point I'm thinking, "I am sure they weren't so calm either when they had a house full of kids that wouldn't go to bed."  But I am also humbled that she is wise enough to talk to me after everything has calmed down in the house and try to make suggestions on how I can do better--while admitting that she was in the wrong as well.  This girl is wise beyond her years  :).  She counseled me that when I get angry and the kids are not listening to "go in your room and pray.  Ask Heavenly Father to help you be calm."  She doesn't know that I have done that hundreds of times, but hearing her encouragement actually gave me hope that I could be calmer.  Maybe I just felt more hopeful because the kids were are all asleep and I could actually hear what she was saying without having to put a pacifier in someone's mouth.

Today (and every day) there were moments when I was literally trying to do 5 or 6 things at once.  At dinner for instance, I was trying to eat, figure out why #6 was screaming in her high chair, console 4-yr-old #5 who was sitting on my lap crying after a picture frame fell on her shoulder, clean up a spilled smoothie, stop #2 and #3 in their efforts to out-sing each other at the table and give my husband my undivided attention in our dinner conversation.  This pace went on until approximately 2 minutes before dear daughter came to me with her advice for being calm.  I know I'm superwoman, but even superwoman has her limits. 

PS I was wrong about them all being I go.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Volume 15

One of my most precious possessions is one of my journals, Volume 15.  That is the book that contains detailed accounts of meeting and marrying my husband.  Yes, it was romantic, but it was also inspirational.  It's a place I turn when I need to be reminded how to recognize God's hand in my life.  When I read those pages I feel again the sweet whisperings of His Spirit guiding us to each other.  I remember how it feels to sense His direction in my life.

Around January or February of most years I pull out Volume 15 and let myself trip down memory lane to the little road in Provo, Utah where we first met.  Then I remember that God is still just as interested in me and my life today as He was then.  He cares about the very details of my days and my actions.  He is still watching over me today.  I need Him.  I need His strength.  

If I hadn't already had the habit of keeping a journal I'm sure I wouldn't have picked that busy season of my life to start.  I would have missed all those details and with my bad memory the sweetness of those experiences would be lost.  

Note to self...get back into the habit.  It is much harder to keep up with 7 little people demanding 25 hours worth of your time every day, but I have to do it.  It is what keeps me sane a lot of times.  It's where I spill my heart out and really get to think through issues and calm my mind enough to hear God's Spirit.