Today was certainly an adventure, start to finish.
Nathan woke sacrifice-early, getting his shower done and being all dressed before waking me, just so that I could sleep that extra half hour. Then he woke me and I showered and dressed, just in time for the children to start waking. He went up to eat breakfast, which was gluten free waffles and strawberries made by our friend Lisa. This helped motivate the kids to get ready quickly, since they were all about waffles and strawberries! They didn’t even complain about having to dress-up (casually) for General Conference today! I will need to keep strawberries on my list of motivators!
Nathan and I drove the van back to the trailer, and then rode the Trax into Temple Square. I was so glad we had that easy answer for how to get there and what to do with the van for parking. I was even more grateful later, when the trailer was right there for a nap!
We met my missionary after the morning conference, and all I could do was squeal and cry. I am so grateful for him! I was a mess back then, even more than now, and fought so hard against it. He just kept teaching me, and had a solution for every block I put up against it. My life changed when I got baptized six years ago, and I am so very grateful.
When the afternoon session finished, Nathan walked me back to the Trax and got me on the right train and was a lovely gentleman about it. This was super funny later, after Priesthood session, when he got on the wrong train, and we had to go find him downtown!
I am sick now, with some kind of infection that I am probably not supposed to have, and wanted nothing more after the sessions than to go back to the trailer and just sleep. But the whole day of talks was about motherhood, and parenting, and how nothing else is more important. There were so many pieces about parenting in the talks, and that was one of the things for which I was pleading for help. I figured, then, that maybe attempting a tiny bit of parenting would be better than just going back to sleep.
Besides, Lisa and her adult children had our kids all day, and I knew they needed relief.
Sure enough, they had pretty much destroyed the house and were running around loud and wild.
It baffles me, this shift in who they are when we are not around, and it confuses me about who they are if they are so very different when we are not around. It also tells me we need some paradigm shifts in parenting if they cannot hold the transference long enough to consistently be themselves and make good choices generally when we are not around. How do you build ego strength in such little ones?
This is where I was the one who got home-schooled, today in conference.
There was such much about parenting!
There was so much goodness that I really needed.
In the morning session, President Uchtdorf said that we do not need to make discipleship complicated. The gospel is simple and pure, and we need to devote our time and energy to the things that truly matter. Living the gospel doesn’t have to be complicated.
Elder Ballard straight up prophesied, declaring a renewal to this warning given in the Family Proclamation twenty years ago:
We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
Elder Maynes talked about having joy even now as we live the gospel, and it reminded me of the blessing about this year being a year of rejoicing. He prompted us to be perfectly centered in Christ, and talked about how small errors or distractions can really get us off track. He urged us to keep the commandments with exactness, and promised that if we did then we will have great joy despite our incredible hardships. I needed a promise like that.
It was pondering all this that got me ready for Sister Marriott’s talk, where she posed some critical questions. What diminishes my progress? This was huge for me to think about, and prepared me for the talk that came after hers. She promised, though, that Heavenly Father takes us as we are, and we don’t need to just keep trying on our own. I so needed that!
Elder Lawrence proposed a similar question: What’s keeping me from progressing? What do I need to chance? How can I improve? What is the Spirit prompting me to fix right now? He said the Holy Spirit will tell us things no one else knows about ourselves, and will have the courage to say what no one else will tell us.
Elder Vinas encouraged us, saying that adversity and afflictions last only a small moment, compared to the glories of the eternities. Elder Cook spoke about using our agency, and how we must choose between the impulses of now and the happiness of eternity.
In the afternoon session, Elder Hales also opened with the question asking what the Spirit tells us we need to change. Elder Holland then connected all this to motherhood, saying the two pillars are the gospel and our families. He even is the one who went so far as to say, “you are doing better than you think you are.” That made me snort. I am trying so hard, but it is all such a disaster! Elder Foster also talked about parenting, specifically reminding us about intentional parenting.
All these parenting challenges really caused Nathan and me to think about what changes are needed in our parenting. One piece of that, we felt, was that it was more important to be home with the kids than it is to be away from them just so we can go to conference. It’s more important than we are together, and that they learn, than it is for us to have a sweet date away from them. So that’s our new plan, to skip the rest of Conference, and watch it with them instead. Maybe it’s a small piece, but it’s one of the clear pieces we got, and so we will try to be obedient to that counsel.
That’s why I didn’t take a nap after the second session, while Nathan was away for priesthood. Instead, I came home and ate with the children and tucked them into bed and sang all their favorite songs as they fell asleep. Then I went to pick up Nathan, and did our laundry, and now am finally getting ready for bed. The good news is that we can sleep a little later since we are not going to conference, and I can nap when the kids do between sessions.
Nathan is working on scripts, though, trying to finish his work for today before the Sabbath, working so hard to care for our family, and so I don’t know how much sleep he will get.
But it was a big day, and we are exhausted. I am grateful for our little room and its beds to stretch out on, and this cozy place to stay while we have church meetings this week. And I am grateful for bread that stays down, friends who are kind to my children regardless, and a warm bed to stretch out in during the night.