We had a very good morning.
We got work done, and the kids got schoolwork done, and the day was going calmly and peacefully.
That’s when Barrett threw up everywhere, all over everything.
And then the girls got in a scuffle, one hitting with a stick and the other scratching back.
And then the older boys got soaked in the neighbor’s sprinkler… which was classic boy and perfect child delight, so they were not in trouble, but it was mud and grass all over the wood floors!
Our family has – all of us have – been working very hard on not screaming and not hitting and not being mean. We have come a long way in our family, and we absolutely have a testimony of the atonement, and forgiveness, and increased capacity to love, and the way relationships are strengthened through service. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t a battle every day, just to learn to be kind, and gentle, and careful with each other.
Tonight was a night we wanted to call it quits, send everyone to bed early without supper, and just hide from how hard mortality can be.
But that’s why we are here: for some hard.
We are here to progress through experiences, and the only way to progress is not to quit and to keep trying and to repent and help each other repent and do better tomorrow.
It feels impossible, sometimes, with so many little ones all at once.
But even in this we are not alone, and the power we have even to help ourselves is given us through the Savior – and His priesthood, which, in our family, is Nathan.
Tonight when he was as exhausted and fed up as I was, he got down on his knees in front of the children, and said a prayer that included each of them.
It was amazing.
Then it was dark, and he fished around for a minute, but instead of turning on the lights, he talked to the children about choosing darkness or choosing light. Then he pulled out glow sticks, and talked about how darkness can never chase away light but light always chases away darkness. He gave one to Kirk and one to Alex (who was shocked and thrilled to be on the good list), and told them to wave them around. This made even more light! Then he lit candles to show them how much light we could make if all of us chose light.
It was kind of amazing.
A softening came over them, and over us, and we were united and covered in peace. We were strengthened. We were even able to reinstate family time plans we thought they had forfeited.
I love them so much. I know we cannot choose for them, and I know they will break our hearts in their own learning to choose, and I know we break their hearts as we wrestle with learning to be parents. But the love is bigger, and the light is brighter, and the Savior’s atonement is real.
Even when the spirit-heavy air lasts a whole three minutes before the girls squabble again.
That was three minutes we fought for, and three minutes He won.
Even when the house is picked up but not spotless, while parents help with laundry again.
Because that’s help from angels, even if from this side of the veil.
Even when I am too fatigued with too much pain to get out of my chair, and Nathan leaves the lights off for me so my eyes can rest, but leans over through the shadows of his candles to kiss me on the head and whisper, Don’t leave me yet.
Because we hate cancer, that’s why.
Because we have plenty of battles to fight against the adversary, and there’s no time for that one.
But even then, even when you wipe away hot tears you promised not to cry, even then Heavenly Father is real as anything, the Savior still loves, and the Spirit promises comfort.
They promise morning will come, and that morning will be better.
Because Light always chases darkness.