My alarm woke me up this morning at 5:15. I laid in bed for another 15 minutes before I made the trek up the stairs to wake my not so happy teenagers for Seminary. I was greeted by my sleepy but sweet sunshine Baylie who was almost all ready and happy as usual. I skipped Kyle's door as we have a no-knock policy until 5:40. That extra 5 minutes of sleep can totally determine one's entire day. Not really, but it can determine how pleasant said teenager will be for the next 15 minutes of my morning.
I then traveled downstairs to find Mikenzie half awake and trying to roll out of bed. I made sure she was awake. I then crawled back into my bed for another 10 minutes before I made my final attempt to awaken the beast. I checked the weather for the day, the bank account and Facebook and then made the trek once again up the stairs. I knocked, no response... I knocked again... no response. Third, much louder knock... still no sign of life. I then pulled out my handy dandy paper clip, unfolded it and inserted into a locked door. Popping the door open, I told Kyle to get up. No response. Called his name again... no response. I finally grabbed a foot a shook it firmly until I finally got a sleepy... debating how ornery should I be... oh, it's my mom... I better be polite... response.
I headed back down to the main floor of our home and wandered around for a minute. I chatted with Baylie who was how wondering how Kyle will ever succeed in life if he can't wake himself up every day?? I just smiled and thought of the mission he will soon be serving and breathed a sigh of relief that yes, one day he will indeed grow up and wake himself up.
After a few more minutes it became evident that Kyle and Kenz were nowhere near ready and would make Baylie late, again. She asked for a ride to the church so she could arrive at at reasonable time. I was more than happy to accommodate her so off we went. As I drove home through the quiet dark streets I wondered to myself and to my Heavenly Father... why can't they ALL be as easy as Baylie
( and Jeremy, who was just a pleasant and easy to raise )?? I then thanked my Heavenly Father and my lucky stars that I was blessed with two "easy" kids.
As I thought about my two or three " easy " kids ( depending on the day, Mikenzie is mostly easy ) and my three more challenging children ( who are on a constant sliding scale between independence to down right rebellion, but never anywhere near the side of complete compliance ) along with a discussion I had with my husband last night, the guilt rushed over me. I wondered why these fierce spirits seem so content to ride on the coattails of my testimony instead of building their own? Why does everything from Home Teaching to Missionary Prep class to Seminary have to be a battle? Why do we argue over so many petty things? It just wears a Momma down. How firm of a line should we draw? Am I too demanding? Do I not demand enough?
Every morning as I clean up the residual mess that accompanies getting four kids off to school I wander around picking up dirty socks, empty dishes, discarded homework and sometimes downright bizarre findings. I mean really, who in the world finds the need or the time for that matter to stick 100 toothpicks into a stick of butter?? I think of all the perfect Mommy bloggers out there who never have to pick up one stray item as their children happily march to a positive beat all while staying neat, clean, prepared and organized. Why can't I be that organized??
As I battle one last year with Kyle over seminary, telling him you WILL graduate from Seminary... you WILL go to Missionary Prep class... you WILL go to church each Sunday... you WILL watch General Conference... you WILL participate in family scripture study.... I think of all the perfect Mormon bloggers who have children who run gleefully into Family Home Evening and drink fully from the cup of gospel teachings. Why aren't I that spiritual? Where is my leadership?
Where is the line between allowing free agency and being a "goodly parent"? Where do my teachings and desires to raise good, strong adults who add to society and not take away from it overtake my children's personal responsibilities and choices? How do I raise children who WANT to serve missions and WANT to serve The Lord? So many people have said " Well, you can't force them to go on a mission" Um... have you MET my children?? I couldn't "force" them to walk across the street if my life depended on it let alone force them to fill out mission papers and serve for two years! My children ooze independence, maybe a little too much, but that is who I raised them to be. No helicopter mother here.
I then thought to myself it would be SOOO much easier if they would ALL just do what I want! If they would just obey me and not question my impeccable judgement. If they would just comply more than they complain! Can't they just be happy, compliant little soldiers??
No, they can't! That is not the plan... you know...the great, eternal Plan of Happiness. I honestly can see Satan's side of things every once in awhile. Seriously, I could save my children from so much heartache and myself from so many unnecessary headaches if we all just obeyed! Life would be so much easier. But what would we learn? How would we grow? Who would we become? Not the people our Heavenly Father wants us to be. Not the eternal, sanctified, righteous saints we are striving to become while we travel through this veil of tears.
So as my children stream back home after seminary and begin making their sack lunches for the day, as they play and laugh with our puppy and Baylie stands in awe of a beautiful sunrise ( because that's just who she is, sweet, easy and grateful ) I take in a deep breath and enjoy the fleeting moments of raising teenagers. Teenagers who will soon be leaving my home to start out on their own at college or on a mission. Teenagers who despite their constant stretching and growing and rebelling and exercising of independence still somehow melt my heart as they fill our home with energy and laughter.
I don't have the answers, even after writing this long post. I probably never will. I just do my best, each day. One child, one challenge at a time. I hope for a better than average outcome. I pray for my children each day. I pray for myself as a mother. And then I get off of my knees and go to work.