Tonight was a hectic one. James is out of town and I found myself suddenly "overbooked". The girls needed supplies for tonight's Young Women activity, dinner needed to be cooked, Kyle needed help with a paper that is a day overdue. I also had visiting teaching at 6:30 as well as a Court of Honor AND a soccer banquet to attend, both of which started at 7:00 p.m.
So which child do I choose? Brandon who had earned two rank advancements? Not something that happens everyday, plus he worked pretty darn hard to earn those little badges. Or Kyle? My senior, my starting varsity player, who claimed it was no big deal if I didn't come, he didn't care anyway.
Surprisingly, I was able to go to both. No, I didn't split myself into two mommas, although there have been many a day I certainly wished I could do that. Especially during the toddler years.
First up was running to the store for a bottle of Sprite and some "decorative" candy with Mikenzie. It wasn't a very long ride nor was it a big shopping trip. But we sure enjoyed one another's company. Some alone time, which my kids are lucky to get these days. We talked about her friends, Spanish and Algebra classes. Her little sister, her big brothers. Christmas gifts, moving to California eventually. It's amazing how much you can get in during one 20 minute errand.
Next was dinner which I prepared with a sink full of dishes and limited counter space while trying to read Kyle's paper on a laptop. Lecturing myself the entire time about keeping a cleaner kitchen, I was able to cook up a nice pot of Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo with garlic bread. ( Full of fat and carbs... I know. Nary a veggie was to be found in tonight's meal ) A quick prayer was said and the kids each grabbed a bowl and headed to the family room to watch Chopped: Grandma vs Grandma. Silently cursing myself for not having a beautiful, healthy meal prepared 30 minutes earlier and served around the family table ( because it was loaded with freshly folded laundry and I didn't have time to order kids to put everything away) I ran out the door to go visit a sister in our ward at 6:30 on the dot.
I kept my visit brief and excused myself at 7:00 to run up to the church. Court's of Honor always have a flag ceremony, prayer, announcements, blah, blah, blah. Nothing too terribly important, right?? Arriving at 7:10, I slipped into the back row just in time to hear scouts listing things they are thankful for like "needed necessities and stuff ". After that enlightening exercise that only 12-16 year old boys can provide, we were on to the awards. I stopped myself from requesting Brandon go first and waited patiently for "our turn". Luckily, he was 3rd in line and he moved along quickly. With two mother's pins on my shirt, a picture and a hug from my now favorite Boy Scout, I excused myself and drove quickly to the high school.
I arrived just in time for the final round of ice cream sundaes and before the real ceremony began. I caught Kyle's eye and a subtle but sweet look of relief swept over his face. My tough teenage boy really did care that his mom was there. We all listened patiently as coach after coach thanked the parents for their dedication, the players for their character and explained post season training in detail.
Finally the individual teams were given a round of applause and it was all over. That's it, the senior year of soccer has officially ended. Part of Kyle's identity, a big part of his identity, as well as something that he is incredibly proud of, has dissipated overnight. As we walked out we talked about future plans and all that life has in store for him. I was grateful I could have that brief discussion with him as we drove home together. It is hard to lay down one treasure for another, but in a year from now, he will be somewhere in the world serving The Lord and that is the greatest treasure anyone could ask for.
As soon as we arrived home, the overwhelming mess of kitchen hit me. Kyle quickly reminded me we needed to work on his paper. The girls wanted to say family prayers and go to bed. I cracked open Preach My Gospel and read part of Chapter 8 ( as advised by the G.A. that I listened to earlier today on The Mormon Channel while I was cleaning the house ). I asked each child what they had learned and quickly got " it's good to set goals..." Good enough! Onto family prayers with the obligatory play time with Tucker until he isn't so cute anymore and everyone is ornery. That's right, no official scripture study. But at least it was a church publication... we will do better tomorrow night.
Kyle and I dug into his paper. It needed a lot of "work". I edited, cut and pasted, discussed, encouraged until we got that 7 page paper done by 10:30. I sent a very tired Kyle to bed with his very bloodshot eyes. Wondering if I "helped" too much, I re-read the final draft and hoped he would get a good grade on our... ah hemm...his paper.
As I tipped toed upstairs to turn the ceiling vents on so I could clean the kitchen while my kiddos drifted off to sleep, I checked each room and then started downstairs to do the dishes.
My grandmother's oft recited saying came to my head:
My grandmother's oft recited saying came to my head:
" Can't sleep a wink with dishes in the sink!"
bounced around my head along with the constant whisperings about my failure as a mother because my oldest still isn't ready to serve a mission. That little voice NEVER goes to bed. It is always ringing in the back of my head. Can you say "eternal failure"? Am I failure? Is he? As I washed the pots and pans I thought of the many mornings I would very loudly wash these same pots and pans, dropping baskets of laundry on the floor, all while the radio was blaring so said child would not feel comfortable in a warm, cozy bed and sleep through seminary. Do I regret "making" him graduate from seminary? Not letting him quit 6 weeks before graduation? Was I wrong? Was I right?? Will I ever know if I did anything right with that child? Does it matter, he is who he is, right?? Have I only lost a battle or have I lost the entire war?? Will I ever know??
As I again reflected on the evening I was pretty darn proud of all that I accomplished. I did a lot, on my own. Seriously, I was almost, literally, in two places at once tonight! I wondered if my kids saw the stress in my eyes or heard it in the tone of my voice when they need one last hug before they went to bed. Or if they will even remember Court's of Honor or soccer banquets? I hope they remember their mom was always there for them. Especially for the big stuff. Including seminary!
Maybe they didn't eat a meal around the table tonight, but they sure enjoyed watching Chopped: Grandma vs Grandma together and were all cheering for "Alma" to win as I ran out the door off to visit teach. Maybe they will remember their mom was dedicated to her church and beliefs. Maybe they will laugh and tell their children " My mom was so crazy... unorganized... awesome... supportive..." Or maybe tonight will just blend into the hundreds of other crazy nights we have had as a family.
One thing I know for sure is, this Supermom has truly been blessed with great kids!