Wheezey

The new baby has kind of a hip and cool modern name, but for some reason 5b can’t remember the names for either of the new girls, so he keeps calling the baby “Wheezey”. We don’t know why. We don’t know anyone else named “Wheezey”, other the penguin off Toy Story, and her name sounds nothing like that word. He’s a crazy kid, and he cracks me up.

Except when he is super naughty, like telling a lie and then throwing a super baby fit that got him grounded for the rest of the day.

While he was screaming his baby fit, 5g was in a talking tirade about clothing safety and being very selective about presenting herself well at church. We assured her we are a modest group, and that she was well covered with tights and a sweater and a lovely knee length dress that would keep her warm and safe. She is good and adorable and sweet and well behaved, but also terrified and hyper vigilant and skittish, and it is exhausting.

While all that was going on, both babies were again screaming. Trying to get food and naps in for church that doesn’t start until 11 is tricky. The toddler pulled all the diapers out and scattered them everywhere, and the baby was wishing she needed one as she still hadn’t pooped since arriving here. Then there was a bottle-sippy-cup war that I am not sure how it got started, but I had to be sure and finish it.

I had showered before all this drama had started, but I had not done hair or makeup.

By ten am, every child was in time out and I wanted to hide and cry.

That’s when the doorbell rang.

It was one from the bishopric, here to dish out our new callings.

Know what I got?

Nursery Lead.

When he said it, I am pretty sure my heart stopped.

Thus far, those two hours have been my only respite.

I have unabashedly walked the toddler into class and blatantly abandoned her the last three weeks, now that she is in nursery, even before she can attach to a worker, all but running out of the room delightedly and skipping down the hall as I am set free.

Now I am called to nursery.

As lead, with stewardship over all those babies and the other workers, he said.

I just squeezed Nathan’s hand really tight and kept my chin up as I nodded my obedient acceptance without breathing.

And then, and then, and then, then Nathan received his call, which is music leader something or other for primary, which means he can’t even hold the new baby during his man classes, which means I have both babies for the entire Sunday block.

Plus some.

That’s why, after accepting and shaking hands and seeing the sweet man to the door, I went to our bedroom and into the bathroom and sat on the floor and cried.

Except here is what I know: I know that there is a wise purpose in this, even if I do not understand yet what that purpose is. I trust the process and believe the underlying principles, and know it will take time for the visions and experience to unfold. That’s why my acceptance was a willing and honest one, truly.

In the meantime, however, I am very mortal and very weak and very worn out.

So I stood, willingly, an hour later, to be sustained, but could not look up and had tears running down my cheeks.

Because I am weak and petrified.

Because l only knew the sweet and tender moments of those respite hours with my husband were over, now that we are set to work.

Because I knew I have no idea how to help even more kids, or how to survive two hours with them on Sundays.

Because I am in a new ward, and have already been banished to be forgotten before getting to make any new friends.

Because I am weak enough and mortal enough still that consecration stings.

Maybe that’s my lesson.

Maybe I am a big crybaby and stubborn head.

It was fast Sunday, so I breathed my way through hot tears as sacrament was passed, and thought a lot about what my testimony is of these kids I would be meeting in nursery. I have no idea the nursery program of the church, but what I do know is that

Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.

I am okay with that, and believe that, and know it to be true.

So that gave me fresh air in my lungs, and a starting place.

I went to nursery to observe today, and let my spirit and heart and interactions with the sweet toddlers focus on that principle: noticing how each one was unique and special and a child of God.

I loved them, those little children.

I still have no idea what I will be doing, but I got a manual and loved those sweet babies.

I left more exhausted and worn out than I came, rather than be refreshed and replenished.

But maybe that was because I actually did something, instead of just being a sponge soaking up the service of everyone else.

I came home to kids wanting food (again) and kids needing clothes out of the foster care clothes and a house full of noise and clamoring and playfulness. There was much to do, and my own nap did not happen. And I felt old, maybe for the first time.

But I also felt happy, knowing that there is something transformative about pouring out your Self so that others can eat and have clothes and play and be safe and warm. There is something real and substantive about doing dishes again, unpacking another box, hanging up clothes, and bringing order to the chaos. There was nothing about today that was like any other Sabbath, and I do not think “rest” came into the picture.

Except for resting in the safety of being in Order, of serving others in tiny ways no one will ever notice, and becoming my full woman self with my arms full of babies and all the hard work that comes with them.

That’s when I put the fives down for quiet time.

That’s when I put the fives down for quiet time and the babies down for naps.

That’s when everyone else was sleeping, and I did dishes (again) and emergency laundry (again) and sorted through clothes (again) and put things away so my husband can get to his office and the children safely play.

That’s when the doorbell rang again, and again, and again.

That’s when new friends I didn’t know I had began leaving clothes for the new girls, began leaving gifts for me, began leaving little notes telling me that being a mother is the hardest thing ever, with little recognition, and rare respites, and so please accept gratitude for caring for their sacred children in the nursery, and accepting little ones into my home.

That’s when I wondered if I had ever even said thank you to any of the nursery workers or other teachers that worked with my kids each week.

Probably not.

And I know they worked hard.

I know because I live with those kids, and I know they are hard, and I ran away when I got the chance to leave them in class.

Because I am weak, and mortal.

Except now my Father-in-Heaven says it is time to step it up, to put on my compassion pants, to care for the most innocent of all and find a way to invite them to keeping their premortal covenants now that they have found themselves in mortality.

Do you remember Him?” I asked them, one by one.

Do you remember how much He loves you?

Each one of them smiled.

Some of them giggled their tiny giggles.

I tried to learn their names.

“Do you want to stand on the floor, or sit on the chair?” I asked when they tried dancing on the tables.

They are all boys, except for my baby and toddler, who is clearly unimpressed with the boys.

I am so glad you came to class today, and so glad I got to meet you! Thank you for being my new friend, I said to each of them.

They just laughed at me sitting on the floor, and ran in circles around me.

This is my new life, I realized later. This is my new life.

Ready or not, here we come.

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Posted in Faith, LDS permalink

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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