Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Mom...that was a really loooong story!"

(Noah is in this stage where he wants to stick his tongue out in every...single...picture---it is driving me crazy!!  We sometimes have to re-take a picture a dozen times before I can capture one with his tongue in his mouth...Argh!!)

"There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. The choice is different and unique for each mother and each family. Many are able to be “full-time moms,” at least during the most formative years of their children’s lives, and many others would like to be. Some may have to work part-or full-time; some may work at home; some may divide their lives into periods of home and family and work. What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else." 
M. Russell Ballard, “Daughters of God,” Ensign, May 2008, 108–10

I read this quote this week and it has been on my mind as I have gone about my daily routine these past few days.  I have pondered it and tried to reflect on my own role as a mother.  Motherhood truly is a unique calling in that we all do it differently.  Some times I get a little discouraged when I am in the trenches of motherhood...especially when I feel that what I'm doing isn't working like I had hoped, i.e. the behavior chart, the time outs, the reminders to pick up the toys, to use good manners and so forth.  Often times, I feel this way the most though on Sunday mornings when I am sitting with my dear son on the church pew--just the two of us.

On Sundays, in our faith, our church meetings last 3 hours.  The first hour (admittedly) is the hardest for little kids to sit through.  Especially for our little man.  He struggles every--single--Sunday to sit still through the first hour, a meeting that we fondly and reverently refer to as the Sacrament meeting.  Families sit together during this hour (even the youngest of children), we feel it is an important time for the family to be together, share in taking the sacrament and listen to the special spiritual messages being shared.  A wonderful way truly to grow together spiritually as a family.  I have fond memories of sitting together with my brothers and parents when we were kids.  I always felt closer with my family on Sundays than any other day of the week.  Now that's not to say my parents didn't have their own struggles in getting us to sit still and quiet for an entire hour.  Having 3 boys so close in age, I'm sure it was a nightmare on many a Sunday for my mom.  My Dad often time had a church calling and wasn't able to sit with us.  I remember we got many a "mommy glares" from the end of church pew, or maybe a little pinch under the arm "a froggie" when we were giggling too loud --and yes, she even had to resort to taking one of the boys out for a little spanky-spank on the bottom while I the big sister stayed inside to watch the other 2 boys----but overall, it was a bonding exercise for us to sit together as a family during the Sunday Sacrament meetings.  And thankfully, as we got older, we became more still, quiet and reverent for the entire hour.   I'm sure that was a huge relief for my poor mother!

I will be the first to admit that it can get loud having all the young children in the chapel for an hour.  I don't mind the noise really--but as a member of the congregation, it can be a little difficult to listen and contemplate the messages shared from the pulpit when you are wrangling with your children to sit still for an hour.  It can be a little more stressful when you have to do it by yourself without your spouse there to tag-team it with you.  With Jody's calling at our church as Bishop, he has to sit up on the stand during this church meeting and so Noah and I sit together without him. I try to always sit on the very front row so Jody can see us and well, be close enough to give Noah the "evil eye" when he is getting really out of hand.  This usually begins to happen about 20 minutes into the meeting after our little man has already become bored with every toy, coloring book and storybook I've packed in my arsenol tote bag of things to keep him occupied.  There are many Sundays I feel a little discouraged about this whole experience and question why I even go to Sacrament.  I don't feel like I or Noah get much out of it, but I know in my heart it's important to be there--for both of us, so I try my best to commit to this every Sunday despite our inevitable struggles to be reverent during the entire hour of Sacrament meeting.  I mean, in all seriousness--I can't really blame him, he's a 5 year old boy and even I, the adult, at times struggle with sitting still for an entire hour.   :-)

Today during our Sacrament meeting, Noah and I had a funny moment together.  The first speaker gave her 15 minute talk and it was wonderful.  But about 5 minutes into it, Noah started to show signs of boredom and restlessness.  By about the 9 minute mark, he was starting to really act out, raise his voice and so after a few warnings, he and I headed to the bathroom for a "serious" conversation.  :-)  That straightened him out and then we headed back into to the chapel with our arms folded, sat down and listened to the last 5 minutes of this speaker's talk.  As she closed her talk and we all said, "Amen" -- Noah leaned over and said to me (rather loudly) "Whew!  Mom...that was a really looooong story!"  It took everything I had not to bust out laughing.  He meant it in all seriousness, but it was just so funny to me that he associated her talk with "a story"--no wonder he thought it was long.  A lady sitting on the pew behind us heard him and started laughing.  Jody just looked over at us from the stand with this funny look-  he knew I was fighting back a big 'ole laugh, but didn't know what had happened.   But I'm sure he knew it must have been something his son had said.  

Then, later on at church during the second hour, Jody was asked to teach Noah's primary (a/k/a Sunday school) class.  They were talking about family--and Jody asked the kids to raise their hands if they had any brothers and sisters.  Almost immediately, before the rest of the kids (who actually have siblings) had a chance to raise their hands, Noah jumps up with his hand held high and blurted out really fast,  "I have a little sister, her name is Lola and she is my kitty-cat!"  Jody said it was the cutest thing and that Noah was smiling from ear to ear.

All in all, moments like we had today are ones that I waited so long to have as a mother. I some times have to sit back and remind myself of that when I get frustrated with my little man when he is not being the most cooperative kid.   The good, the bad and yes...some times the ugly moments are just all part of this mothering gig.  I know in my heart that as hard as some days can feel as a mother--days where you feel that you've given everything of yourself and there's nothing else to give--they will all too soon be over.  And then, I think I will miss those difficult days--I will want to wish them back.  My dear, young son will one day grow up and leave our little nest--that makes me sad to even think about, but I know it's just a reality of life.

It is important to take the tougher moments of being a mother in stride and instead focus our thoughts and energies on those moments that warm your heart.  Maybe it's something funny your child said to you, or when you are building a fort with your child, or tickling them on the den floor while listening to their belly laughs, or those precious moments when you are feeding your newborn child and they look into your eyes so deeply and sincerely--and at that moment, you feel your might heart explode with love.  Those singular moments in your day (however short they may be) where you literally feel this amazing and heartfelt bond with your child--these moments are truly priceless.  They are what carry us through the more challenging days.  What an amazing honor and blessing it is to be a mother.

Today, I could have stewed over the fact that Noah just couldn't sit still--but instead, I reminded myself that it is going to take time.  It is going to require more patience on my part and to not worry so much about what everyone around me is may be thinking about my rather irreverent 5 year old.  We will continue to trudge forward--teaching (re-teaching) and training him why it's important to be reverent at church.  Getting him to sit still at 5 years old will not happen over night and will most definitely require continued effort on my part (and Jody's) to help him learn how to do this.  But in the mean time, what I hope to always cherish about this Sunday (and many more to come in his childhood) are the precious moments like what we shared together today after a certain lady told "a really loooong story". 


1 comment:

  1. too cute.
    great post!
    you know, way back, the puritans always began services with three hours of prayer. THEN sermons. i think it's great to spend TIME with others in worship and reflection, i mean, i spend loads of time blog reading, football cheering, game playing, recipe exploring...why not on sunday. with HIM. the giver of all of my time.



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