Sunday, October 19, 2008

Observations of a Sunday

Just read a blog over at a new find about expectations. My #1 Article of Desperation is as follows: We Believe in Lowering Any and All Expectations During Sacrament Meeting. It is just not reasonable to expect my recovering-from-bronchitis-two-year-old to behave for an hour and ten minute meeting. In an overcrowded, stuffy room. Right before lunchtime. On a Daylight Savings day. (We sprung forward!)

We had to sit in time-out THREE TIMES in the Valiant A classroom. Luckily they have cute decorations to distract me as I frantically hummed "I'm Trying to be Like Jesus" to calm myself down. It completely broke my heart to see my sweet, unfailingly cheerful towhead SAD. Ouro Branco doesn't merely jut out his lower lip - he pouts his entire chin. In the words of the great Napoleon Dynamite, he didn't FEEL GOOOOOD.

I struggle with myself. I know it's asking too much for him to sit with arms folded and contemplate the Atonement. In his mood today, it was too much for him to just sit. He was throwing toys, hitting, screaming, the whole shebang. I can't ALLOW it, but somehow I felt bad punishing him when I knew he couldn't possibly be obedient. It's like putting a crying 6-month-old in time out. There's no point. He was past learning today. I learned later that he didn't even go to nursery. Sat on My Man's lap while he did priesthood interviews.

For the past, oh, four years since I've received my Mommy License, I've pined for an uplifting sacrament meeting. One where I can sing all the hymn's verses without dictating whose turn it is for the red Hot Wheels car. Pray with my eyes shut. Listen to speakers - and maybe even take notes. Take the sacrament with my thoughts centered on Christ - not the wet willy Little Prince is giving me.

But I've decided to change my perspective on things. If I don't EXPECT to be uplifted, I won't be disappointed when it doesn't happen, right? I will no longer refer to sacrament meeting as such. It will henceforth be known as Principles of Mommydom. I will use that hour to teach my children reverence - even if the lesson takes place on the hard chairs of the Valiant A classroom.

We had three baptisms yesterday. (Three last week and THIRTEEN the week before.) Guess who got baptized? Mini-Felicity's parents. They also got married yesterday.

Sidenote: Almost no one gets married in this blessed country o' mine. It's too expensive and getting a divorce is double the price - and takes months to do. Most people just live together, though they call each other husband and wife. I've seen couples be together for twenty years and have four or five kids before getting married.

So anywhoo, mini-Felicity's parents got hitched yesterday. And Steve and I were their "padrinhos" - essentially maid-of-honor and best man. You HAVE to read the link to understand why this is thoroughly, hilariously ironic.

I love my young women. I have 22 girls and 4 investigators who come to everything.

I have girls who have been raped - one by her father. I have girls who have been horribly abused by their parents - physically and emotionally. I have girls who've done drugs, drank, smoked, and one who lost her virginity at thirteen. I have girls who have cut themselves in depression. Run away. Girls with drunk fathers or prostitute mothers. I have a girl whose step-father tried to commit suicide. (I helped clean up the blood afterwards.) Fifteen year olds whose mothers are 29.

But the gospel really - truly - changes people. I have the most beautiful girls in the world. Their spirits shine out their eyes, giving me faith in the changing, cleansing power of the Atonement and hope in the rising generation. I am a witness to the fact that they are Chosen in every sense of the word.


Becky said...

Oh, this is so true! I'm not planning on expecting an uplifting Sacrament meeting for many, many years. On the plus side, whenever I DO get any sort of spiritual nudging, it makes my whole week!

My heart ached to read about your girls. I'm the Miamaid adviser in our ward and I'm still learning what it means to love and really be there for the girls. You are an inspiration!

And by the way, yes, I know I'm in for it when someone calls me Rebecca. :)

Abra said...

Yay! For mini-Felicity's parents :)

I taught a CTR class one year. IT was the most excruciating fun I've ever had.
My lessons on obedience and reverence were often interrupted with stories of the tooth fairy, and you know, I learned an AWFUL lot about the kids parents too :)

I used this tactic: My friend's mom used to do it with her classes (even the older guys)

Get little containers (enough for every kid in the class) I would label with the kids names.
As they were coming into the room, I wouldn't say anything but I would start putting candies in each cup (like 10 in each)
Then, if one talked out of turn or was being disrupted, whomever the culprit was, I wouldn't say anything but I'd pause my lesson, study the cups, and reach into the said class disrupter's cup, and eat a candy.
Eat a candy right there in class, right in front of them.
At the end of the lesson, I'd give them all the candies left in their cups.
It took a couple of weeks, but I had the best behaved CTR 7 class EVER!

(I'm not above bribing at all...)

*MARY* said...

It's eye opening to realize there's a whole world outside of Utah.
When I hear about your girls it makes me not want to complain about being the nursery lady, I have it too easy.

heidizinha said...

i was thinking about you all during relief society and how you've overcome every trial and obstacle that's ever come your way. and about how you're my hero. seriously, one of my only heros. and about how i used to think i wanted trials like you so i could be strong like you. and about how i realize that i'd never make it.

i love you!

JustRandi said...

You're amazing.
I can't imagine working with the challenges you have. ...Young Women-wise I mean. The mommy challenges I can definitely imagine.

Can I say that I think you're SO SMART to do the time-out thing? Lots of parents in our ward either don't understand the positive reinforcement thing, or they just don't care, because our foyer is a free-for-all of kids and toys during sacrament meeting. I just don't know how those kids will learn to sit still in the meeting if the foyer is so much more fun!

Pezlady Jana said...

I feel your pain. Someday I will also be able to listen at church. Hopefully before I am dead.

I'll bet you are the best YW leader ever! Those girls are lucky to have you care so much for them.

Jan said...

Oh my goodness girl. You simply rock my world. I love it. You are so faithful and such a great caring person. I love that spirit of yours. Truly loved it. Those girls need you so badly and here you are just loving them unconditionally. That is the bottom line of what the Lord is asking of you right now in their lives. So grateful to you for being there for them. I just want to hug hug you for that.

About the time out thing, you are right on girl or momma I should say.

West Family said...

Thank you for this post it's wonderful. So, I meant to ask you when will you be comming back to the US?? Let me know - email me ok :)

Sarah said...

Hi Becky!
I'm so stoked that I discovered your blog!
When you come home will it be to Michigan? Cause that would be awesome, there is never enough time to even get to talk to you when you come back to visit.
And, uh, this Brazilian floor cleaning thing...a broom really? You'll have to explain it a bit more for me.

Kimberly said...

Oh wow...I can't even imagine. What an amazing experience it must be to see those kind of transformations!