It is true that in my sleepy state so early this morning, sitting in the heated car on a cold morning before the sunrise, that maybe the Anne-part of my imagination got the best of me as I sent Nathan off with the tornado cleanup teams. I know it was nothing as awful and scary as the ladies sending their men out with the mormon battalion, and Nathan pointed out he didn’t have malaria or anything, but it was my first experience of being the wife with six babies while sending out the man of the house in response to a call for men to organize themselves, leave home, and go to labor as assigned.
Women were invited, too, in this case, but helpers need to be over age 12 for safety reasons, so I stayed home to watch General Conference with the children.
It will be my first General Conference without Nathan since we got married.
The plan is for them to work hard today, so that they can finish in time for the men to get cleaned up for priesthood session.
They will sleep through priesthood session, exhausted, maybe.
I couldn’t help remember my own turn at emergency relief after so many storms and critical incidents, more in rescue and recovery than cleanup, and I know today will be intense and hard work for them.
I told my friend, though, that I would rather have Nathan out there helping clear fallen trees for the day than experience those long nights of pulling body parts out of the trees in Joplin.
I thought of these things while packing his little backpack for lunch. They were to bring their own lunches, and his really was in a little backpack. I think it is a first grade backpack, but it was the right size and better than sending him off with a purple lunchbox. Somehow, it seemed, a purple lunchbox might ruin his big manly moment.
He did get in a car with all the choir people, though, so I am glad he found his home boys.
In my imagination, the mormon batallion ladies sent their men with fried chicken and stale biscuits. There is zero evidence of this, and no reason I think it, except that the children and I are on season three of Little House on the Prairie. My husband is allergic to all that, though, so I had to get creative. I knew he would need both comfort and energy food, so I tried to think along those lines. I put in different flavors of grilled chicken with different sauces, some grain chips, and a dozen different organic and gluten-free energy and snack bars. I threw in some nuts and dried fruit, and picked out some nice flavors of water without getting too fancy for the New York boy now sent off to the hills to carry logs. I felt prompted to pack extra for him to share, and so did that, and also for his comfort added a zip lock for leftovers, a trash bag for the tiny bit of packaging or anything else, some wipes to clean his hands, band-aids just in case, and some lotion to soothe the hands he better protect for violin playing or else hear from both me and his mother.
The last thing I added was our little red book, now halfway full. We started it when we were first married, upon the counsel of the couple who taught our marriage class (Ahlborns). It’s full of notes back and forth, heart things we share as we endure experiences apart as life happens around us. We are very spoiled to have us much time together as we have, both of us working so much from home as we can, so a Saturday apart feels like a big deal to us even if we are not newlyweds anymore.
He has made it safely to work with his crew, while the children are almost awake enough for breakfast. I made the a special cheese danish for breakfast, as a treat to get General Conference started, though my hunger is for the words that will replenish and refresh us today. I hope I am prepared enough to receive, though it is different now with so many active little ones. We have tried, though, both of us, as have the children, and I know our even little efforts will be blessed. It is a special, private weekend, where we get to be home together without interruption and with a special focus on receiving our assignments as a family and as individuals for the next six months, directly from the prophet today as in days of old. I am grateful, and in need of the counsel.
The children are excited and ready as they can be, with our favorite Conference games and activities, with practice of who is who to notice the speakers, and with their own prayers for revelation and help. I was worried how today would be after visits last night, but the visit really went extraordinarily well. All the bio-families were good and well-behaved and modeling appropriate behavior and using manners and all good things for first graders and preKers, while the kids themselves were also very good, did not regress very much this time, and transitioned well afterward. I was really proud of all of them, and it is maybe the best visit we have had thus far. I know everyone tries so hard, just so that we can keep having them.
But this guy? I am going to miss him all day!