My kids sang in a pub last night, which is not our usual Sabbath preparation.
Nathan was contacted about a month or so ago, and told that a theater wanted to do a fundraiser for Kyrie. They would take care of everything, and all we needed to do was to show up. How kind is that?
There was some scheduling confusion, with the date changed several times, and Nathan played MEME anyway because he really likes designing them. The little pictures he makes are always so funny, and are really well done, so that was easy to spread the news about the event through the fan page. The kids were super excited for their first Karaoke party, and we were hoping Kyrie would breathe well enough to be able to make her appearance.
Besides football games already scheduled for the rescheduled date they gave us for the event, our biggest attendance competitor was bedtime. It was a late night to be an hour from home and just ordering dinner before ever even getting on stage. Our kids are usually asleep before seven, so trying to stay up so late was quite a feat.
What helped, though, was letting them listen to the book for the first time. We have almost half of the book recorded for the audiobook file, and needed to give a final listen to be sure all the edits were okay and we didn’t have any repeated sections. I popped it on for the drive up to Dewey, and the kids went berserk. I had been worried what they might think, or how they might respond, even though we talked with each of them about what parts of their stories were included in the book, but I was not prepared for them to love the book as much as they did. They cried at the hard parts, laughed at the funny parts, and quoted along for their favorite punchlines.
Then, when we got to the chapter that talks about the poop involved in foster care, they roared with laughter until tears were rolling down their face. They thought it was so funny to hear me reading a whole paragraph about poop!
This was sufficient to keep them geared up and excited for the event as we drove, so that they were still awake when we got there. Kyrie had an extra long nap, so she was still on schedule, as she goes to bed differently than the others. All of them were so excited to see Nathan’s parents and even a friend from school.
They loved to see Nathan’s dad get up and sing, and they were delighted as always with Nathan playing his violin for them, and they mostly did not get into any fist fights over who had the microphone. They got up on stage so many times! Even Anber, who until her new school rarely spoke outside the home, even she got up on stage with a microphone and sang! We were so proud of her!
This was all preparatory, of course, for her doing the opening prayer in primary this morning.
And having a late night and still needing to function the next morning is a thing that happens as they get older, so it was a good trial run for that, as well. Mary’s activity days program on Wednesday nights, now that she turned 8, doesn’t start until 7 at our new ward. I don’t know how she will be able to do it, but she is older and excited, and I think will be just fine, even if tired on Thursdays. We will see, but it’s just another example of that unfolding shift that happens as they grow up before my eyes.
Like how they were so good in church this morning that the missionaries gave them suckers, but then they all turned them into me as if I were a librarian, knowing that they couldn’t take candy into primary classes.
Who are these children, so well-behaved and grown up?
Even Kyrie, who is half-way into the terrible twos, which means there is a light at the end of the tunnel, at least long enough for us to fall in love with her again before she turns three. Oh, those 18 months to 24 months are rough! She does not like me talking to anyone else, does not like being told no, and will pinch or hit or scratch if she has to hold her own. It’s that spitfire that has kept her alive through so much, with just enough attitude (and temper) to prove she is Anber’s half-sister!
We have a funeral this afternoon, for a friend in the Deaf community, so it’s an important cultural experience for the children as well as the exposure to the life-death-life cycle. These hard things are a part of life, and we even let the second graders listen for the first time to the chapter about the death of my mother. They are growing up, and asking questions, and it’s time to let them hold more pieces of the story. Even at school they had to go through “school shooter training”, and Nathan and I were in awe that these are the latter-days our children must grow up in, when that is even a thing. Then when you think it’s a peaceful Sabbath, to at least shelter them and give them respite from living in a rough world so dark, and it turns out to be 9/11 day and there is that story to tell them, too.
I tell them that all of us know where we were that day, and I tell them how that event called me home to live closer to my family. Remembering this gives me visions of where I was when each of my children were born, too, even though I hadn’t met them yet. Except Anber, who I saw in the clouds, but that’s another story.
It makes sense that in church today we would sing:
In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me.
As he died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on.
I told the children that it was my father’s favorite song, and we talk about what “patriotism” means and why it matters.
We talk about the second verse, where it talks about the “trumpet sounding”, and I want to cry for joy when they recognize these words as the same visual symbol we see atop our temples.
This is a call to families, I think.
And I see us, in the mess that we are, as a family, at peace in our temple home, even on the days that remind us how very mortal we are and how difficult mortality can be and how very limited our time together is for now – but how much love we have for each other, and what hope it gives us for eternal lives together beyond the constraints of time.
So this morning, my children sang in a pew, their little hands flying to words that testify of these things, and I was amazed.