I had a moment the other day when I was driving into work. This is what happened: I was driving down the longest leg of my back-road journey to work, rockin' the mini-van, blasting some Katy Perry, or maybe Pink (don't remember) and I was thinking about my family. I was thinking about how I had just spent the hour before I left the house cleaning up the toothbrush holder that holds 4 different toothbrushes, lining up 4 pairs of OTHER people's shoes in the closet, hanging up 3 different pint-sized coats on 3 different pint-sized hangers and putting away laundry in 4 different bedrooms in our house. It was right after the laundry thought that the reality of 4 extra lives hit me like a wrecking ball straight in the heart. 4 other pairs of shoes? That's a lot...when did this happen? How do I belong to 4 different people in 4 separate ways and how do these 4 so equally belong to me? I realized that for the past 7 years of my life, when I began my family, when 1 became 2, then 3, 4 and 5, I have simply felt like I've been playing house. I feel like I'm still that same girl, fresh out of high school, madly in love and ready to start playing life's real version of house. In that moment of reality, I was so emotionally affected. I could feel my heart as a separate entity with 4 different rooms that were occupied by 4 different people. And what occurred to me after this quick journey through my heart was that I am so blessed to have had my heart double in size each time a new person has entered effortlessly into our family.
Spiritual health is so important to me. I know without a doubt, when I am spiritually fortified and strengthened, I am a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend... and the list goes on. To me it just makes sense. It's really easy to understand how physical health might affect my ability to be the best wife and mother I can be, so why would neglecting my spiritual health do anything but hinder my ability to successfully accomplish the many tasks these roles entail?
So I am seriously taking heed to the counsel we have received through the leaders of the LDS Church. Writing this down will only help to keep me accountable to this promise: I promise each day to make time at least once to... seek spiritual health through scripture study, read a book that lifts and edifies, listen to talks from the leaders of the Church, play one of those favourite songs we all have that touch our souls, and of course pray.
I pray all the time. I like the quiet of prayer, but I often forget to pray specifically and individually for each of my family members. And quite frankly, I find myself overwhelmed with the thought of how much time praying for each of my family member's individual needs would consume. But I am starting to realize that praying for the needs of my family is more than just kneeling and bowing my head in silence. Praying for my children comes in tightly squeezed hugs goodbye, when I leave them in the care of another and ultimately under His watchful eye. Prayers come when I'm at work and I reach mindlessly into my purse to find my hand cream and instead pull out half a package of soggy crackers and a 1/4 of a box of raisins. Prayers for my husband come effortlessly when the majority of my stories to others begin with "my husband Mike" or "The other day my husband". My family is never far from my thoughts and always held tightly in my heart and Heavenly Father hears that prayer as loud and as clear as when I find the time to kneel down. When we love something or someone with our whole heart, we are praying in the clearest of all languages. We are praying through pure love and God understands love more than we could ever imagine. I realize that this love I feel for my family may just be the tiniest glimpse into the endless responsibility, love and compassion Heavenly Father must feel for each and every one of our lives. This thought is extremely humbling to me. To think of the anxiety I feel when faced with a seemingly overwhelming responsibility to pray for 4 others individually, compared to the endless responsibility God has to each of us, is definitely an exercise in perspective.
I do not know how He does it, when He finds time to think about each of us individually, why His love is so all encompassing, where He is loving and caring for us from, but I DO know that He loves us. He loves my family and as a wife and mother, this is a comfort beyond belief. I love my Heavenly Father, I love our Saviour Jesus Christ and I love the gift and guidance of the Holy Ghost.
We were able to spend some time this Easter season with the majority of our families. We spent Good Friday and Saturday with Mike's parents, grandparents, and sisters and their spouses. We spent Sunday with my parents, grandparents and sisters, and as I enjoyed the company of these wonderful, vastly different and talented people we have been blessed to belong with, my thoughts often turned to the Saviour. How thankful I am that He laid down His life so that we might live. So that we might know the joy of family and the eternal importance behind these relationships that were hand selected with specific purpose for each of us. I really hope that each of you enjoyed Easter with loved ones or at the very least, with the fondest memories of the ones you love.
On a completely separate note, Noah attends his first 'kindergarten orientation' day tomorrow at school. It is almost two hours long and he will be meeting his teacher, seeing his classroom and participating in other 'preparatory introductions' within the school (library, gym etc.) He is so excited. He's been asking me daily if "tomorrow's the day?". The original plan was that Mike would go with him because I don't have vacation days as a contract worker at Toyota. Then two weeks ago Mike started a new job. Bigger and better things are happening for him, and I am so proud of him, but this unfortunately meant that he wouldn't be able to ask for this day off that he had already scheduled. So our next plan was that I would take half a day off. Half a day, half a pay, but it would allow me the chance to still make some money and get to be with my little man on his big day. But then Toyota announced a reduction of hours, so I am now working 4 day weeks with an additional full week off in May. All this without pay. So we decided that however tempting, it wasn't the best option for our family for me to only work 3.5 days this week. So now Grandpa Craig is going to be taking our little man to school on his big day. It breaks my heart to miss this opportunity, but at the same time I'm calmed knowing that Noah will be well taken care of by a man who loves him in such excess all the time. I will try to blog about his day once it has come and passed. He is so cute to watch as he has been starting to psyche himself up for this day. He keeps asking small nervous questions about it like "Grandpa's going to stay with me right?" and "Do I have to share my very own school supplies that I get that are my very own school supplies?". (He got an invitation that outlined his day and the 'supplies' he would receive for attending his orientation, and ever since he is very concerned with what Abigail will and will not get to use from his bag of very own school supplies). I am so nervous and excited for him, and in complete shock that our second oldest is almost ready to start school. What will tomorrow bring in the land of Noah? Stay tuned to find out!
Pictures from Easter: