Sunday, June 5, 2011

What I learned today

Today was one of those days.
I hadn't set an alarm when I went to bed last night.  Partly because I was so tired I couldn't think straight, but also because today was a special stake conference for church, which allowed us an additional hour to get ready in the morning (10:00 a.m. instead of 9:00).  And honestly, when do we sleep in anymore?
So it was no small miracle accident when it was 8:30 before we got out of bed.  A bit of a late start, but manageable.
Things were moving along.  I bathed E.  Dave bathed W.  And then...the morning started to nosedive.
W insisted on a bath instead of shower.  But no time.  Dave had to take W with him early to the church to finish setting up chairs (or something).  Cue W's meltdown.  Parents - 0.  Children - 1.
After E was bathed, I tried to get ready.  Keep in mind, my beauty regimen these days consists of mascara, brushing teeth, and a quick straighten of my hair.  Add in getting dressed, ten minutes tops.  Well, E wasn't up for waiting around this morning.  Cue her meltdown....which lasted until it was time to leave for church.  Parents - 0.  Children - 2.
Sunday mornings have been a little nutty these days anyway, so I wasn't too worried.  Whatever.  Just get to church, right?  Just get there.
I arrived with E (remember, W went with Dave) with a couple of minutes to spare.  Yet due to the conference factor of today's church, lots of lots of people were there, which meant no parking.  So I parked in the neighborhood next door and tromped over to the church carrying E in her lead weight car seat.  Did I mention it was already 85 degrees outside.  Parents - losing big time.
The meeting would follow the typical agenda:  announcements, music, prayer, speakers, music, speakers, prayer, go home.  Shouldn't be longer than two hours.
The opening hymn wasn't even over before E blew a gasket and needed to be changed.  Like, changed immediately.  So out I went.
Then I returned to our seats.
Only minutes had passed following my return and W was saying, "Pee, pee.  Pee pee."
So out I went again.
Mind you, I have to walk up the center aisle, in front of the projector (remember, lots of people), across the front of the overflow seating and out the side door.
And remember, it's hot outside.  And now it's blistering hot inside, too.  You see where this is going.
W's potty alert was a false alarm.  So we walked back to our seats for the rest of the meeting.
After raisins dumped out, Skittles tossed in the aisle, several outbursts of "Go!" and "Pee pee!", Dave taking W out a second time, sweltering, stagnant air, and W head butting me (I don't know where that came from):  I was worn out.  Parents -- failed.  Children -- failing.
The final 15 minutes were just the icing on the cake.  W was quickly losing it, and my friend who was holding E reported that she (E, not my friend) had blown out.  Yes really.  Blow.  Out.  You cringed, too?
I was literally sweating bullets.  Not sure if that was from the heat, from wrestling W, or from the anxiety of having to carrying a baby laden in poop out the door after walking in front of the entire congregation for the 10,000th time.
Please just let me go home!
And in this moment, I also realized I honestly hadn't heard a thing of what had been said in the 90+ minutes I'd been there.  My mind and extremities were reached across our seats trying to manage two children, which left little room for really listening.  As I headed for the door -- again! -- I felt gypped.  
Thankfully, I made it to the mother's room and discovered the blowout wasn't all that bad (there's my blessing for attending church today).  I was able to feed her quickly, offer an extra diaper to another mom struggling to diaper her own child, and put my mind on pause for just a minute.
All I could think of was why in the world I even came to church today.  In two hours, my notes would have consisted of about five sentences.  However, something a friend told me, who has certainly had this kind of day, came to mind:

  • I attend church now so that my children will want to attend church later.
  • I attend church now not just out of habit, because I know that's where I should be.  
  • I attend church now because the Spirit can always teach, even if I'm not able to listen to every lesson or speaker.

So I sat in the mother's room for the tail end of the final speaker.  And I was taught.  I was able to sort of listen as Elder Hallstrom discussed being active in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints vs. being active in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Yes, activity in the church is a positive thing.  However, it's activity in the gospel that provides the growth, strength, foundation and ability to save.  It's a simple principle, really, and obviously one I needed to learn/re-learn.  Especially now as my kids' attention spans are shot by the time we walk from the car into church, I need to remember to be just as active in the gospel as I am in the church, if not more.  It's my testimony of and activity in the gospel that will benefit my children most.
So I did learn something today.  Two things, actually.

  1. Activity in the gospel of Jesus Chris is critical, and will help elevate me to become more like God.
  2. Upon arriving to church, head straight for the mother's room.  I might actually get something out of church that day.     


Lizbeth said...

oh...i can only imagine. So funny! Sounds like you left on a positive note, right?

Sherry said...

What a great post - we struggle every single week with the kids during mass and I often think "why bother?" Your thoughts reminded me why it's important to make the effort.

Beck n' Ben said...

Thanks for sharing. As always.