Wednesday, September 26, 2012


We've had a good morning around here.  Had some yummy breakfast, ran Doug's cell phone to work (I was cleaning up the breakfast dishes and heard Sons of the San Joaquin all of a sudden, and turned to find Keira holding Doug's iPhone and dancing), played Operation (Keira is annoyed by the tweezers, and her fingers are small enough that she's actually able to retrieve a few things with them), played Go Fish (Kylie is starting to get her numerals down pretty well),  and had a visit from my new visiting teachers.

Sister Hogge asked why I left Relief Society on Sunday, and, motioning to Keira, said, "Was she sick?"  I explained that there had been no Nursery leader there, so Keira had already gone to Sunday School with me and was getting wiggly and noisy, so I took her out.  Then I told her that since the nursery was empty, I took Keira up there and sat there with her myself.  We played with puppets (did you know that ducks growl and bark?!), drove some cars, and she made it clear when it was time for snack. She made sure I got a paper towel to put her snack on, and bossily showed me where to put her chair.  When I picked up the Nursery lesson manual, she saw it and sat down and folded her arms, ready for a lesson.

As I was telling this story, I remembered a thought that was shared at Enrichment several months back, that some of our best (and most important) parenting happens during life's interruptions.  I love having a toddler who loves to go to Nursery, so that I can enjoy Relief Society and Sunday School in peace.  If the nursery leader had been there, or if Keira had been quietly sitting still in Relief Society, I never would've spent that delightful hour in the nursery with her.

Because she's the youngest of four, I don't spent a lot of time with just Keira.  And a lot of my scheduling and organizing revolves around trying to meet the needs of my older children and their schedules.  So my plan was interrupted, and I had this hour to focus my attention entirely on my 18-month-old, on her funny, delightful self.  I had almost forgotten how very much fun it is to hang out with a small toddler.

Raising a house full of children in busy, challenging work, and I really feel that some good structure, scheduling and organizing is important, both to teach certain lessons and to keep everyone (especially mom) sane.  But often with lots of children and all the ups and downs of life, things don't go according to plan.  Life gets interrupted here and there, and when it does we can choose to be frustrated or flustered or overwhelmed, or we can embrace the opportunities that those interruptions so often present us with, whether our kids are 2 or 25.

My mom has, in my memory, always been quite good at embracing life's interruptions.  When I was about Kylie's age, my dad was trying to get some work done around the house (home-improvement type projects) and, like most dads, my dad had a hard time both focusing on the work and being patient with lots of very unhelpful little hands and feet.  So mom loaded us up and treated us to a night in an inexpensive hotel in Missoula.  I still remember how delighted Michael and I were about that little trip.  About 20 year later, I was in Utah for an in-law's wedding, and I really wanted to see my mom, but couldn't afford the gas money or the time to drive one more day north to visit.  She was chaperoning a youth conference in Kalispel, and had about two days at home before she had to drive to a professional conference in Helena.  She took those days, and drove 8 hours down to Bountiful to meet me at my aunt's house, and spent the evening and most of the next day with my kids and I, before taking off and driving 9 or 10 hours to her next conference.  I'm always delighted to have an opportunity to see my mom, but I'd had a very difficult and stressful week, and just her presence put me more at ease, and the sacrifice in both time and money she had made to make that very quick trip made me feel so very loved at a moment when I really needed it.

We can, and ought to, plan and schedule a lot of our lives--organize, budget, prioritize--but when your kids spills a cup of juice down the front of their shirt just before you get in the car, don't yell and curse about how you're going to be late.  Teach your kids that accidents happen but don't have to derail us, as you patiently help them change their clothes--you're going to be late either way, so what does the patience cost? When you've got a thousand things to do, but your two-year-old will just not put down that book and leave you alone, take the 5 minutes to read the book.  What have you really lost?  More importantly, in embracing the interruption, what have you gained?

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