This morning I gave 7 showers (including mine), cut 140 nails, and tackled two preschoolers – one of them twice.
It all started when one of the kids woke up early, sneaking in to try and steal food. I let him get as far as grabbing the baby bottle and preparing to suck it down before I belted out a “Lie down!” loudly enough to startle him. He bolted back to his bed, and I tried not to snort. It was really funny. Except he did it again a half hour later, and it still wasn’t dawn yet, so I decided to just let him have his wish.
“You want to be up?” I asked, watching his eager nod. “Then get on your shoes!”
I marched him out into the misty morning, knowing it would be uncomfortable but that he was safe in his heavy footie pajamas, and just fumed to myself about not getting to sleep.
But anything was worth him not waking up that baby.
I walked and walked, letting him follow along behind, knowing he knew I was furious, and just letting him have his consequence of being miserable instead of being cozy in his sleeping bag.
Excepting that’s when I heard the tiny voice pipe up, “Oh, Mama! This is so much fun! I love walking outside with you and God. And did you hear that train?! That train was so cool, mama!”
And I stopped in my tracks, realizing I was the only miserable one, and turned around and scooped him up and started laughing.
Sometimes I am more aware than others that the children are here to teach me, rather than me being here to teach them.
We got the trailer cleaned up after that, sorting and straightening and putting away. We brought so much, with eight of us and specific activities that require different things, and different seasons as we drive across the country. I will pack differently on the way back, though, than we did coming out because I better understand how trailer life works. We had help, though, getting packed up to go, so it was hard and confusing to know where our things were when someone else put them away. We are learning, though, and will have it figured out better on the way back, I think, even if we still have so much stuff. They used every single thing I packed for the trip out, though, plus some, so I am glad we had what we needed.
After our lunch outing, we came to settle in the home where we are staying this week. It is a friend whose daughter has PRS like our baby, except she is grown and our hero just for being alive. We are excited to get to know them, and grateful for their help. They also already have all that we need for the baby, which is so helpful, and understand well how to care for her. The trailer is nearby downtown when we need things there. I wonder at this special soul I just got to meet, who gives me hope for the baby surviving, and what power there is in in the sacred interaction of her meeting this baby. It is something like the mirrors in the sealing room at the temple, with one of them looking back to see what her babyhood was like, and one of them looking forward to see what life will be like if she can just keep fighting, and what God will teach them both about living without the fighting, and just the living part. They will be special friends always, in some way, and I am so glad they have each other. We already had our first little spat, though, when she brought the baby a special toy to show someone is thinking of her and praying for her, and the baby promptly tried to eat it. So rude! She puts everything in her mouth these days, and so really it was a token of honor, despite the drool.
While I unpacked our things and tried to get re-organized, Nathan ran the first graders out to his sister’s house. They are so excited to meet Aunt Clarissa, and they have heard all about her toys and goats and animals and cats, and were vibrating with excitement to go visit her. We hope to visit her tonight when we pick them up, and later this week, but I am glad they get to stay there awhile tonight to play. Anber and Barrett stayed with me and the baby, for desperately needed naps, and Barrett was asleep before I even got to the room where he was staying to tuck him in to his little cot. Anber is the opposite, too anxious to sleep and just staring at me while I type and crawling on the keyboard to try and type herself.
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When I asked her what it said, she told me that it was a story about a rabbit and a carrot and a pioneer frog who hopped through the snow even when he was hungry, so Heavenly Father sent the frog a family to be adopted in the temple and then eat some pie.
I don’t think we have had pie at our house since Thanksgiving. Silly girl.
Nathan is one his way back now, and he will bring down the kids’ suitcases for me so that I can put those away, and then it will be time for us to get ready for our couple’s interview tonight. There is nothing we can do to prepare or get ready, and I only have an idea of some of the questions we will be asked because of previous interviews. Things about our finances, our parents, our support system, our faith, our faith practice, and our children. I will tell them how teams of angels got us here, how hard the last few years have been, and what promises we know are still to come. We will then receive counsel, and try our best to go and do as we have thus far, even when we are exhausted or tired or don’t understand or feel a little overwhelmed and a whole lot weak.
Mostly I am hungry for the covenant renewal that comes from this weekend of hearing the prophet and apostles speak, and the comfort and hope that comes from the challenges they will offer, the repentance the talks will bring, the guidance they will give, and the conviction and powerful testimony the Spirit will confirm.
If there was ever a time we needed these blessings, it is now.