Thursday, November 12, 2009

People Who Don't Understand and People Who Do

I have verbally told this story twice now, and each time I get choked up and have a difficult time finishing. Therefore, I am going to write it, so when I want to share it with someone, I can just tell them to go read my blog, thus avoiding embarrassing tears, which are allowed because I'm pregnant, but even so.

Some of you have read in my recent posts that I struggle with disorganization, leading to stress, chaos, even the lack of planning and preparing nutritious meals. Last night was going to be different.

Last night was to be an event called Young Women in Excellence. It is a yearly event our church does, put on the the young women ages 12 through 18. At this event, the young women share their values, inspirational messages, beautiful music and tables set up with their accomplishments for the year. The parents of the young women are, of course, invited, and it is something they prepare for for many weeks in advance.

I knew this would be a difficult evening, as I would have no available babysitter for the 5 littlest children. All of the young women would be at this meeting and the young men also had a separate, unrelated meeting at the same time, thus, all six of us, including the 5 nine and under, would be attending. (John was out of town on business.)

This time, however, I wasn't going to be caught unorganized. I had decided the day before that instead of trying to make dinner, we would go out to eat in the big town where the meeting was to be held, thus avoiding the dinner prep and clean-up process. We would leave in a timely manner, giving us the opportunity to enjoy a leisurely meal before the meeting and the kids wouldn't need to snack during the presentation because their tummies would be full.

Because it's a 30-minute drive to the big town, I knew the twins would fall asleep on the way home, so this time, I would bring extra diapers and sleepers, we would change them at the church before driving home, and upon arriving home, we would carefully carry them to their cribs where they would stay asleep for the night.

I would bring their favorite books to the meeting and prepare to cuddle with them as need be to keep them entertained during the hour-long presentation.

I could do this!

As the evening approached, I timed everything perfectly. Because we had to leave at 5:45 in order to enjoy our leisurely dinner, I would shower at 4:45, have the kids help me get the 3 three and under ready, and we would leave at the exact moment planned.

This is when things began to unravel. What I didn't realize was that the 14-year-old girl would be at basketball practice (as the practices seem to come and go) and the 13-year-old boy would be at basketball try-outs. This was okay, though. The 17-year-old boy was home and he could help with the dressing of the 3 three and under.

As I entered into the kitchen to ask for his help, however, he, before I could open my mouth, quickly walked up to me and asked if I had any Febreeze and if I knew where the vacuum was because he was cleaning out the car. He was cleaning out the car? I had not asked him to clean out the car. What was going on here? Regardless of his motivation, I knew I couldn't squelch this rare initiation on his part and I wasn't about to ask him to stop what he was going to help get the babies dressed.

So, I was left with the 9-year-old boy...

Thus, we left 15 minutes later than originally planned, despite my most strenuous efforts to do otherwise.

It was on the drive to the event that the 14-year-old girl announced that she thought they would be serving dinner there. Because of this new revelation, I decided that we would simply get a snack before the meeting, then enjoy the dinner afterwards. Since she wasn't sure of this fact, however, we drove by the church, I dropped her off to run in and ask, she did, in Spanish, and confirmed that dinner would indeed be served after the presentation.

After spending 20 minutes at our favorite paleta (popsicle) stand eating nachos and paletas, we were ready to enter the church for the program. We arrived 5 minutes early, which I thought was just right, until, of course, I remembered about MST (Mormon Standard Time). Everything starts 15 minutes later than it is scheduled to. Thus, I sat with the 5 children for 20 minutes on the pew before the program even began.

By the time it started, the twins had already tired of their books, the 3-year-old had decided that standing up on the pew was the best way to see, and the 9-year-old boy thought it would be entertaining to try to make the 3-year-old boy laugh as much as possible.

I did my best to keep them quiet during the young women's recitation of scriptures, values, and sacred music, but many of the members of the audience looked back at our family to see who was shuffling programs, thumping books in the hymnal holders, stifling laughs, and angrily hissing "SHHHHHH!"

One man, in particular, looked back repeatedly, unlike the others, who only looked once to see who it was. He had three older children, was probably about ten years older than myself, and must have turned back to look at us more than 15 times. Some of those times I caught his eye, but this didn't deter him. As the music went on, and more and more people turned to look at us, I began to feel completely humiliated and my eyes began to sting and hot tears started to roll down my face, completely wetting my cheeks. They just wouldn't stop. I finally told myself that if this man looked back at me one more time, I was going to leave. He did. And I did, but not before grabbing the 9-year-old boy's arm and whispering to him that he and his sister were to stay in the chapel for the rest of the program while I took the 3 three and under out to the lobby. I scooped up the twins, motioned for the 3-year-old to follow me, squeezed between the man and the pew on the outer edge of the bench and quickly walked out the back exit.

The moment the door closed behind me, it was opened again by a gentleman asking me, in Spanish, if I would like to go to a room where the program was being broadcast by speakers. I politely declined, stating in my own broken Spanish that I could barely understand anyway, and it would be even more difficult to comprehend through speakers.

So, I sat in the lobby, while the 3 three and under literally ran in circles on the slippery tile in front of me. Not a minute had passed however, when another gentleman walked out of the chapel towards me. This man was the husband of the woman running the program. He and his wife have 7 children, of whom 6 live on their own, and they are pillars of strength and righteousness in our community. Although this man had rarely had occasion to interact with me or my children, he walked up to me and asked if he could take one or more of the babies so I could go back in. I discreetly turned my face away from him, hoping he wouldn't see the tears, and wet cheeks and red nose, and said "thank you, but they won't go to anyone but me". He politely said okay, then walked back into the meeting.

This made me cry even more, but these were tears of gratitude, gratitude that this man would be so thoughtful as to offer his help, knowing I had come to see my daughter and not sit out in the lobby.

As these tears fell, these tears of gratitude, others began to fall with them in a stream of hormonal emotion, tears of confusion, doubt, and hopelessness. Questions went through my mind such as....

-Why do I even try to attend events such as these with all these little children? It seems as though all I end up doing is either sitting out in the lobby or leaving the event in tears (see THIS post).

-With John's work schedule the way it is, him being out of town most days of the week, should I continue to have more children, bringing them into this situation where I can't possibly meet all of their needs all the time? I had always wanted God to plan our family, but was this really the best thing?

-What right did I have to feel so sorry for myself, when a 16-year-old boy who was accompanying the young women on the clarinet had a younger brother who had only awakened from a coma two days earlier, after falling out of the bed of a pick-up, and who, this very day, also has an older brother who is going under the knife for brain surgery to try to remove a deadly tumor? How selfish could I be?

I eventually stopped crying and pulled out my compact mirror to see how bad I looked. Yes, my nose was bright red, my eyes were bloodshot and my lipstick was smeared where one of the twins repeated grabbed my mouth to get my attention as he wanted to show me a painting of Jesus. I reapplied my lipstick, but that is about all I could do to improve my appearance.

Almost the moment after I put my compact back in my purse, this same man, the husband of the woman in charge, walked up to me again, looked down at me as I sat on the couch in the lobby and said, "The girls from our ward are about to sing. Are you sure you wouldn't like me to sit here with your boys while you go in and listen?" (Even as I write this, again, tears of gratitude are beginning to fill my eyes.) By this time, the 3 three and under were down the hallway, and I knew they wouldn't see me if I sneaked in to hear my daughter and her peers sing. So I accepted his offer. He directed me to his empty chair in the back, as all of the pews were filled, and walked towards my boys as the chapel door closed behind him.

Hearing my daughter and her friends sing the beautiful praises to The Lord was what completely opened the flood gates. I sat there, alone, but next to the man who had offered to show me where I could go to hear the program, and sobbed silently and marveled at the beauty of the music. I watched my daughter sing, and move her head and her body in rhythm to the strains of music. She was doing what she loves to do best, and because of this man, I was allowed to witness it.

After her group sang, I went out to the lobby again, meekly thanked him, as I was again embarrassed for him to see my tears, and sat down with my babies, who looked very concerned, but had dealt well with being watched over by someone they didn't know.

The events of the evening have since caused me to reflect on a few things. First of all, we never know what effect our actions will have on someone, whether they be thoughtless gestures, or a random act of kindness. Being the recipient of both of these types of acts during the course of the night made me want to be a better person. It made me want to look for ways to help and serve others in the hopes that I can make someone's day a little brighter, the way this man did mine.

I also had cause to reflect about the man who seemingly didn't understand or consider my situation. As I thought more about him, a realization struck me. This man was not a member of our faith. This was significant for this reason; as most of you know, Mormons usually have large families, and our children go with us to most of our church meetings. Therefore, Mormon services are sometimes a tad, um, shall we say, more boisterous than your average church service. This event was probably one of the only Mormon functions he had ever attended, and perhaps he was just shocked to see that there was any level of noise tolerated at all, as in other churches, there would be more of a quiet atmosphere as the children would be in the nurseries.

Thinking about this man in this manner helped me to understand where he might have been coming from and helped to melt away my anger towards him. And for that, I am grateful.

The rest of the evening did not go as planned, as well, but I won't go into that now. Suffice it to say that the 14-year-old girl had misunderstood the meal plans, post-presentation, and instead of a dinner, we received a slice of vanilla cake. Thus, despite my best efforts, our children consumed chips, paletas, and cake for dinner. Ce la vie!

44 comments:

alessandra said...

This story moved me a lot, I feel the same when somebody is unexpectedly extremely kind with me, and I know perfectly well how you feel when you cannot cope with small children and you can't count on anybody.
Therefore is hard for me to understand how a person would want to persist in such situations (see keep having children and/or attend such events) but evidently I haven't your faith.
And obviously having children gives you more joys than "pain" :-)
I mean, with maximum respect and great affection towards you.
P.s.: did you checked "every" possible babysitter?

Lydia said...

I will forever be grateful to a branch president who left the stand to sit with me and my 4 1/2 little ones one Sunday while my husband was in Iraq.

thank you for the reminder to be understanding/helpful of/to others.

thereallifehome said...

Oh, dear mama! What a beautiful story. Thank you for the encouragement to BE the kind of person that man was to you.

Kami said...

Jen, please don't ever let your many children get you down. I only have ONE who is three and under, and he is handful enough that I might as well have three! You are an amazing woman and nobody in their right mind has any right to chastise you for having more children. I'm proud of you for the family you have - I'm proud of you for pressing on through the difficult circumstances that you have already been through - and I'm proud of you for sticking to the plan through (what feels like at the time) the most embarrassing, stressful situations. When you have a lot of children, things are bound to be chaotic. You are doing a phenomenal job - please don't ever forget that!

I love this story. It's the kindness of people like this that make the little things in life seem so very very big. :)

Rachel said...

I just discovered my fourth is on its way, and I currently have three under three, and like you I am often overwhelmed wondering at what the future holds and how we'll manage another blessing. Know that I admire you! You manage to blog about nutritious recipes, mentor young mothers like me (love blogging world) and you have a family with older and younger children. Thank you for being an example to me. Thanks for sharing your heart and tears!

Rachel said...

oh, we have something marvelous called goop that I use to entertain my kids during church services. It is like playdough but doesn't leave a residue, so there's no clean up. It keeps mine entertained and quiet, well, for the most part.

Here's the recipe:
http://quirkymomma.com/2009/diy-silly-putty/

Tom and Julie Tyra said...

What a sweet man, there are angels among us. God will bless you for your efforts with all of your children. You are an inspiration to many. Enjoy you blog very much. I am a new convert of about 5 years ago, my kids were already grown. But if I were to do it over again I hope I would do it like you. God bless.

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Okay, your guy's comments are making me cry all over again!

Cheryl @ On the Old Path said...

My husband works shift work which often leaves me alone with our littles. I have had looks on more than one occasion and I have often thought how is that suppose to help me? I am trying here. As for bringing more little ones into the world, I think you and your husband are doing a lot to provide a stable loving home. The truth is whether you have 1 or 12 'normal' little folks wiggle and giggle and sometimes cry at the most inappropriate times, but all too quickly they grow up. Yes it is chaotic and crazy but as you already know the blessings far out way the dirty looks and the exhaustion at the end of the day.
I am glad that man was there to offer help and that you got to hear your daughter sing. Be encouraged, your doing a good job.

Lisa Curcio said...

I am sorry that man upset you. I have a few less children than you, but I know that feeling. It took me a while to overcome feelings like that, but I just had to tell myself that it is their problem and not mine, that I am a good mother and kids will be kids.

When my Heart Baby was born, we were getting gas cards and gift cards to grocery stores, cards with cash from strangers...it was an overwhelming about of random acts of kindness. I would come home from the hospital late and night and see a stack of cards from strangers and cry in amazement at their generosity. Those are the people I like to think about, and I try to forget about those who don't understand.

Hang in there!

Cheryl B. said...

Hi Jen :-}

Thanks for sharing this story!!! I can relate to it in oh so many ways. While Brain did work his jobs in town, he always worked at least two jobs, always equaling around 80 hour weeks. Thus if I went anywhere, did anything, I had all of our sons with me; whether it be grocery shopping, a Dr.'s or E.R. visit, or a school program. For church functions, Brain was the sound guy ... yeah. We usually only had one car, so we'd get there super early, and often be the last ones to leave. So I can totally relate to so many of the situations you encounter!! I also want to make it clear that that is why I am so quick to offer up suggestions. In NO WAY am I 'judging' you!!! Just trying to encourage and help a fellow mom.

We have always told our boys that you can learn from everyone. Yes, every one. You either learn or reaffirm lessons on ways you should be, or you learn ways you shouldn't be and why - how it affects others. You had prime examples of both last night, didn't you? I would encourage you to print off this posting and send it with a card simply reading 'thank-you' addressed to the planners husband. It will make his day!

I am proud of you for putting so much fore thought and planning into this outing! Bravo!! The irony is, that as so often is the case - 'LIFE' happened. {I use to (actually, still do) get so tired of the people that would turn around and tell me that obviously I needed to 'plan better', as though I could possibly forsee every evential possibility 8-/. You plan according to the known, and wing the rest the best you can.}

I agree - you applaud the unprompted 'clean the van' efforts of your son!!! Most definetly!!!

And if the daughters sports team does not follow a rugular schedule of practices, there isin't a thing you can do about it (besides try to encourage the manager ... but that is in their hands).

And sports teams do not allow make-up sessions for try-outs. So since you had other 'plans' do you tell him he can't try out? Not hardly.

I am glad you DID get to hear other daughters singing. God blessed! Both you and her. You by actaully witnessing it. Her, by you bravely leaving the younger ones to be able to see her.

continued ...

Cheryl B. said...

page two -

As far as the ? about whether you should have more kids. I'll share another personal story. (I hope you don't mind me always doing this.)

The Bible talks about having a 'quiver full'. That is not a definite number. That is something which must be decided by each individual couple, based on many factors.

In my youth I had decided I wanted lots of kids. In-fact, I had decided and let it be known that I wanted eight kids. We had six pregancies in six and a half years time, all of which we had planned against (we are very literal when we state they are "God's kids"!), out of which we have four sons. My body did not handle pregancy well. While in the delivery room after birth #4, the doctor had looked at my husband and stated that he was pretty darn sure I could deliver another son for him, but that he wasn't so sure he would be able to send the wife home with the baby. Due to how my body was, and reacts, he would need to wait two months and readmit me to the hospital to 'fix' me .. Brain took care of it instead.

The four sons we did have often (actually, most often) made me quiver!!! Three were HIGH ADHD's, two were O.D.D., three are dislexic .... and most of this was effidant from the get-go, long before I knew there was a 'label' to apply.

One Wed. night at church, while attempting to round our sons up from the boys group, a friend called out, "Hey Cheryl, I thought you had wanted 8 kids?!" chuckle chuckle. I crinched. I was trying so-o darn hard!!! Then she had laughed harder and said, "I think the four you got equals w-a-y more than 8!!" While in my mind I had always thought so too , I also always thought that I was the only one who looked at it that way, or could see that.

What number is YOUR quiver full? You have to decide that. And you have to base it on what you can handle - financially, mentally, emotionally, phscologically, and realisitly. You must consider what is best overall for the ones you already have, plus being able to meet the needs of any additions. May God guide you as you decide this.

p.s. - the other day, when I had said "what number pregancy?!" I had meant it as a retorical question. I knew the answer. I had meant it as 'you've been pregant 9 other times and you've only 'popped' h-o-w much so far?!!' Sorry I wasn't clearer.

Cassie said...

What a wonderful story. Children are hard pressed to understand the solemnity of services. Mine are always fidgeting and asking questions in not so quiet whispers. Thank God for the kindness of strangers. I bet you are happy with your big family and even with the chaos most of the time. When I was growing up the oldest of 10, we spent a lot of time helping out with the younger ones and din't get as much one on one time with mom and dad but it made us a very close knit group of siblings and I still count my sisters and brother as my best friends.

Jessica said...

I think that our actions towards others are always important to consider. Even those actions we think others don't see or know about, like getting angry at other drivers while driving.
I am glad you had a few good men who understood and offered to help. I believe we should never ignore the promptings of the spirit, and I bet at least one of those men felt that prompting.
Hugs to you!

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Cheryl, okay, yes, I remember the question about my pregnancy. Sometimes I think I'm just going on autopilot here!

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Alessandra, I think next time I WILL check every possible babysitter!

blogging and bliss~ said...

Thank you for that story. I think a lot of people... Ok me. Have a hard time accepting help from others. I always say I am fine and then sit there and wish someone would save me from myself. What a kind man to try and offer support not just once but twice! I hope that I can be the kind of person to see another's need. I am grateful for your story on how to be accepting of that service as well.

RhondaLue said...

Jen,

I have felt like you many times before. Sometimes you get all dressed up to walk the halls and get baby boogers on your shoulders and you miss the whole event, service, etc. The only reason I continued to go during those times was so that the Lord would know who's side I'm on. I may not get a darn thing out of church certain weeks but the Lord knows I was there, my family knows I was there and I can feel good knowing I was obedient.

Jed's calling takes him to other wards and meetings sometimes during our Sacrament service so I'm with all 6 kids flyin' solo. Some think that having older kids makes it easier but it. does. not. Not usually, anyway because they pick on eachother or this one touches that one, or they are making eachother laugh really loud. bleh!

God Bless those that understand and don't judge. I could never peer at someone judgingly instead of offering to help so I just don't get those kinds of people but like you said, if that man was new to that situation he was probably surprised.

There is an old woman in our ward that I recently found out has made nearly every mother cry at one time or another because she's so bothered by the noise kids make and makes a point to let the mom know how annoyed she is. But coming from the same person that hits people with her cane at the humanitarian center...well, she won't get any tears from me!

Do all the ward women have YW? Maybe one could sit with your kids on those special occasions at home?

And I know this is long but don't let others make you feel that your family size isn't ok. You do what you're inspired to do with regard to that and vent away!

BarbaraJo said...

Jen, that is when you call ME and leave 3 of the 5 little ones behind to play. I am always here if you ever need me! Glad you had a happy ending.

Keeley said...

Oh I cried my eyes out reading this. I remembered the times when I have felt judged, and how very painful that was. I remember the times when I, oblivious in my pride, judged others, and how awful they must have felt. I feel so terrible every time I remember that.

Thank the Lord for that kind and generous man, supporting you and helping you. =)

God bless you as you raise your beautiful children. Don't feel bad about bringing more beautiful children into the world. They will rise up and call you blessed. Your youngest love you so very much they're concerned when anyone else watches them....that speaks volumes.

Hugs to you! =)

Rudy Rukus said...

Jen you are so sweet. I completely feel your pain on a much smaller scale! I only have three little ones but due to my husbands job I attend church by myself with them. Lucky for me I get no looks because we have such a young ward that everyone is consumed with their own children being noisy! I also am a nursery leader so I wrestle with my three then go wrestle other people's little ones for two more hours. Church is more exhausting than restful but I still have many opportunities to feel the spirit which usually surprises me!

Richard & Natalie said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. I have felt this way many times at functions with my family of 4 children and a husband that is gone more for work than I care to think about. I am always embarrased when people offer help and feel like because they are offering help I have failed. Thanks for giving me some perspective.
Long time reader, 1st time commenting.

Midwest Mom said...

You know, I've always listened to the sound of young ones in church and thought that the Lord is smiling to hear them. That's how He made little children to be -- full of energy and life.

Managing the needs of such a 'crowd' would be tough on any two parents, much less one Mom on her own. So, be gentle on yourself.

I have never heard of a woman who made such an effort to put her children's needs first like you do.

Now, about the questions and having more kids.... Keep in mind that your family structure is teaching your children to minister to the needs of others instead of thinking that the world revolves around each one alone. There are benefits to that. They will know what is required to be an excellent parent and partner and friend.

With that said, you are only human and it is okay if you sometimes need a moment to yourself. Hopefully, you and your husband can work things out so that you have a little time -- even only once a month -- to recharge.

I will pray for you, darlin. I'm so glad the Lord sent you someone who understood what you needed. The gentleman who helped you was listening when he was called.

- Julia at Midwest Moms

Derrick + Laurice. said...

I often feel amazed by people’s small acts of kindness that are nothing small to a mother. This post inspired me to try harder to find things I can do to help.

Small House said...

My...I had to take a breath after reading this post. Made me so tired. Overwhelmed is what you are. BUT....I can tell your heart is in the right place. And I'm certain that taking small children to church activities will pay off in the end. They will always know where they belong.

As for people that turn around and eyeball parents with small children, it just gets under my skin. They just forget what it was like to have small children of their own.
Hope you have a good day.
Sandra

layne said...

What a touching story. I'm glad you got to hear your daughter sing! The kindness of strangers.

I got the apron today and LOVE it. I don't even want to wait the two weeks until my mom's birthday to give it to her. And honestly, I don't even want to give it to her! I want it!

Catherine said...

Oh, Jen. As integral to motherhood as labor pains when your pregnancy time come to an end. All of us with children have had such days.

If it is advice you want, as an older mom of 5 boys, who has just read a little of your absolutely fascinating world, family, life, I can give you some of my thoughts.

You are fortunate enough to be in Mexico, yet unfortunate as this was a big move for you and your kids. A lot of changes in the last 5 years for all of you. I would suggest that you get a housekeeper since that is something available to you. I have a neighbor who felt it was God's hand extending help when her husband was transferred to Mexico after she had twins within a year after her first child. She would have never been able to get the household and baby help here in the US, but there, it was doable.

Having a maid or housekeeper does not mean your kids or you do not still have to clean up after yourselves or have work to do. It's just that you can focus on what you best want done for you and your family, and what you choose to do yourselves. On days such as yours, you would have had another set of hands to help get the kids ready, get and keep the house clean, and be with your children at the services.

Also, though it is wonderful when your children come up with ideas to help, it is also important that they learn to prioritize and you can tell them what you prefer to get done so you can get out in time. My kids hate to be late for anything, and will hop to it when I tell them what I need in help.

You are in a unique position as an American to be able to have a large family and still not be "living in a shoe". Do get some help as your husband is not able to be home as much as some. It will reduce family stress levels a lot.

Becky said...

I appreciated this story very much. I only have 4 kids, but my oldest was 19 months when I had my twins. When they were 2 and 3, at the end of sacrament meeting one day, a youngish married lady in front of us (with no children yet) turned around and said, "My, you have very energetic children!" (and they were actually being great that day!) My thoughts weren't as charitable as yours, though. More along the lines of "Just you wait..."
I am so glad you were able to hear your daughter sing. And I am grateful for kind and observant people who lightened your burden that night.

Kristi said...

My husband isn't a member and doesn't go to church with me. When my 3rd was being blessed, my 3 and 4 year olds were crawling under the benches, one laughing, the other crying. I was horrified, and nobody offered to help. I certainly wasn't expecting anyone too-I was all but inactive and really didn't know anyone. I ended up in the foyer crying, the older two in tow, then finally went home.

I couldn't talk to my husband about it, because I was afraid that a bad experience would turn him off of me going to church at all. (I'm over that now!)

For about a year, I'd show up in time to take the boys to primary, sit in the mother's lounge with my daughter, and cry until RS, wondering why I was even bothering.
When I finally got brave enough to try Sacrament Meeting again, I was terrified the whole time. Snacks, books, stickers, toys...the works. And we still had to go out into the hall. The thought it hit me that I had to keep trying, and one day it would work. And know what? It finally did.
I don't have a houseful of kids like I always wanted, and I never will, but I have to remind myself that the Lord's plan is better than mine, and He knows what I need before I do. And I'm at peace with the size of my little family, finally. We are just the right size...for us!

Everybody has different trials, but PLEASE don't think yours aren't as important as someone else's. Being a mom is hard and the Lord knows what you are going thru, and most importantly that you can handle it! :)

I came from a big family, and it was constant chaos. But you know what I remember the most? My parents loved me. My dad was gone a lot trying to support the family so that my mom could stay at home with us. My mom always had an ear for me, even if she was cooking dinner, changing a diaper, and nursing all at the same time. Who knows? She may not have been listening but she acted like she was! And she's the first person I call when I want to talk to a girlfriend!
Sorry it's such a long post!
And if I lived by you, I'd take your kids in a heartbeat so you could go! :)

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Kristi, your post had special meaning to me because my first husband was also inactive and I took all of the kids, until there were six of them, to church alone each week for 16 years. I spent many, many Sundays crying also, but I knew I was teaching them good habits and it has paid off in the long run! Still, though, sometimes you just have those days where you wonder why you even try?

I'm so glad I shared these feelings because all of you have been so encouraging and I know thinking back on these comments will be a strength to me when I have to face this again! So thank you!

Carrie and Karl said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets frustrated keeping my kids quiet and/or still during church. Thanks for sharing.
Carrie

Linda said...

Don't feel bad. I understand what you went through. Regardless, sometimes you just have to laugh it off. My family and I were asked to leave a stake wide Christmas program because not only were my two youngest a tad loud, my older son kept taking them in and out of the gym and apparently that was to much. I actually got up before that and decided to sit in the foyer but told my older boy to tell the rest of my kids that I was going to wait outside. Well, that last in was the the last straw, and we were told that maybe we should just leave. Hmm...So we did.
Sigh..anyway, it will get better..((hugs)))

FarmHand said...

Wow!! You get the badge of courage and humility for sharing your heartfelt story with the whole world wide web.

Read Mosiah 24:13-14.

I have felt that way for many. many years as I dealt with one baby or the next in the hallways of churches while missing out on meetings.

The feelings of missing out...they go away. Keep your chin up.

IT GETS EASIER. Promise.

I love reading your blog!

-Mom of 10

Amanda B. said...

I actually really appreciate these types of posts because it makes me feel so much more human. I struggle with a lot of these same kinds of things. I really really do- I won't go into details- but this really helps. I think you are awesome!

And, don't worry about not checking "every possible babysitter"- it is natural in our faith to keep the children with you anyway (so, except for that one guy- you probably didn't really bother anybody) and babysitting is really darn expensive- I know we can't afford it...

Melinda said...

WOW Jen what great comments. You made me cry while reading this. I feel for you. I am glad this kind man helped you out. How thoughtful of him. You are doing the best you can and thats what is important. Keep on keeping on Jen. You are doing a great job.

stitchin' girl said...

Your post made me cry. I have been in this situation (in different places) so many times when my kids were younger (and even now sometimes). We only have five kids, but even the best laid plans do not always work out :o). Thank goodness for those people who understand and try to help and for those that don't, I think you have hit the nail on the head, they just don't really have the perspective of what it entails to have so many young ones together in a situation such as yours to be supportive.

Christine said...

My favorite story about Uncle Neil (Aunt Amanda's husband) - we were sitting in Sacrament Meeting and John John (three or four at the time) hollered during the Sacrament "You hurt my feelings!" I was so embarrassed. After Sacrament Meeting, Uncle Neil, who had been sitting behind us said, "Christine, I know you think that us old folks wish you would 'control' your child during the Sacrament, but really... we wouldn't know what to do about it either."

I have laughed about that many times and thought about it a lot. It's true - if they knew how to help, they probably would!

Kristina Petrella said...

I so needed to read this today!

Mom2my9 @ 11th Heaven said...

Christine, that is awesome! Love the wisdom of old men!

Emily said...

I have three babies 3 and under too (my boy turned 3 on Saturday and I have twin girls who are 15 months). We are also LDS. I can relate! Sacrament yesterday was a nightmare when the 3 year old got there and discovered nanny wasn't there he lost the plot and the twins were over tired and wanted to be held but only if I was standing up. My husband and I spent the entire meeting juggling three kids between us while I felt bad about the people sitting near us and how much we were disturbing them especially as during the sacrament prayers the boy kept on saying very loudly "WAKE UP MUMMY". Then there was the trip the boy took to the stand to join in the Primary Presentation...

At least I was were the Lord wanted me and my family to be and that is all that matters!

ajwhet10 said...

Jen, thanks for reminding us so beautifully to "judge not" and to try to find ways lift each other when we can. We are all overwhelmed sometimes. It is as much of a blessing to be prompted to be an angel as it is to receive angelic assistance. And BTW, your blog goes the extra mile and lifts those who read it on a regular basis! :)

thorney said...

Jen, I feel so sad that this man couldn't accept that your children are in fact children and God loves children. Children should be heard in the pews, that is the way it should be.

Blessings.

DroolyDays said...

I really, really liked your story. I liked how you describe all of your emotions that take place. I was crying with you, and I am not even pregnant. I liked how you were also able to resolve your hurt with the man that offended you. That is hard. We live in Denmark and we have been offended a lot, but I think most of it is cultural thing. Also, I can relate to hearing church in a different language. It is hard and wires can get crossed. I also like that you were able to see your daughter sing. It was even sweeter with the kindness of others. Also, everything in life has a season. Right now your season is to have a little ones and to be busy. This will not be forever. The other day I wish I could go back in time and be with my 3 year old when she was a baby. She was a hard baby, and I was tired a lot. But I wish I could go back and just hold her. I wish in some ironic way that I could have appreciated it more.

Kayla said...

Ok this made me tear up too. I am already thinking about why I am going to go to church services when I will be feeding and quieting the whole time with two little ones and no husband. Beautiful, inspiring ending.