Yesterday was a crazy day. In fact, by the end of most days lately I feel frazzled and think, “Aaah, I had a crazy day.” My new baby is now almost seven months old, my three-year-old son keeps telling me he’s a big little kid, and tomorrow my oldest daughter starts kindergarten.
So yesterday, I substituted an enthusiastic primary class of six-year-olds with my nursing baby in tow, wrestled my son from slithering under the pews at church while my husband conducted the Sacrament meeting music, then trudged up the hill home only to have him leave immediately for the rest of the afternoon. The missionaries and some friends were coming for dinner. We’ve had houseguests since Thursday (and we don’t live in a house, but a two-bedroom apartment, so that means someone sleeping in our living room, sharing our one bathroom) and we had stuff going all day on Saturday, so I didn’t feel that the “house” was missionary dinner ready. I enlisted the help of my big kids to clean up the living room . . . are you chuckling now? Yeah, my big three and five year olds had the assignment to put away all their stuff with no help from me. And though I’ve been training them to do this and there have been times they succeed, yesterday wasn’t one of those times. The baby was crying to be nursed, my kids were whining for help with their clean-up and I was crabbily lecturing them from the kitchen cutting board about being capable and just doing it when the phone rang. “Hi. What are you doing?” my friend asked. Hmmm, gotta be honest here, “Fighting with my kids.” I said. She laughed and I wanted to cry. Not in a sad way, just in a, “Pull it together and be a better parent way.” I told her I was going to say a prayer and try to have an attitude adjustment before she and the missionaries arrived.
Dinner turned out fine, the kids were wild and rowdy, but the missionaries did bring the spirit. After I prayed it must have been inspiration because I was reminded of Elder Ballard’s conference talk Daughters of God. Here are a couple of highlights that came to mind. I looked them up today so I could share them with you:
“First, recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.”
“Author Anna Quindlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments. She said: “The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. … I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less” (Loud and Clear , 10–11).”
Last night after the bedtime preparation was finished, jammies on, scripture story read, teeth brushed, prayer said, I was ready to get it done. But my son came out of his bedroom and said, “Mom, you said I could sit on your lap. Can I sit on your lap now?” He was right. I had told him while I rushed around cleaning up and cooking before everyone showed up, “I can’t hold you right now, but you can sit on my lap later.” So I looked at him with his surfer-boy blond hair that curls up around his ears when he sweats, his sleepy round brown eyes, his body that is stretching out of chubby toddler into big little kid that just fits into his Peter Pan pajamas, and picked him up. I held him tight on my lap and thought, “Enjoy the doing. Enjoy these moments.”
(Also read, Cream of Wheat from our current issue. How do you successfully enjoy the moments of motherhood? What helps you remember? Survive? Prioritze?)