Last night we took the kids to Manti, UT to see the Mormon Miracle Pageant.
It's a big re-enactment staged on the hillside of the totally beautiful LDS Manti temple. The sky was crisp and clear and just glittered--we kept seeing falling stars. The weather was perfect.
The show was a little corny in some places, but pretty powerful in others, and overall worth it. When they quoted the scripture James 1:5 "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him, " little K looked up at me with big, earnest eyes and said, "Mommy, I lack wisdom!"
My heart was so touched! "Oh, me too!" I answered. "I'm so glad we can always pray for help!"
Then she asked in a whisper, "Is that a naughty word? Lack wisdom?" Which made me think that the Lord was speaking to me through her, and then she didn't understand what she even said.
Little Caboose was a total ding-bat. She was bouncing around, and wouldn't let anyone hold her. Nothing like a sugared-up toddler with a second wind at an outdoor program.
At one point, the show portrayed the Savior's visit to the people living in the Americas after His resurrection. The Spirit was so strong, and Caboose climbed up on my lap and started whispering about Jesus and clapping her hands. Little children are so close to Heaven.
Like so many other truths, this is also tempered with a little controversy, as later demonstrated on the ride home a couple of hours later. (Think 11 passengers in a van, at midnight. We took my brother and his wife with us, so it was a little crowded. Luckily Mr. Cool was able to catch a ride home with a friend that we bumped into. He was the only one to enjoy any peace on the road.)
About the time we were finally able to leave the parking-lot-we-call-Manti, the two littlest criers had settled down and were finally asleep. Cue Little P. She had been on the brink of a tantrum for the better part of the day, and I'm sure my brother and his wife thought that we were spoiling her to death as we catered to her every whim on the way to the show. What they didn't know, but would soon experience, was that sometimes whatever it takes to hold the storm at bay is more than worth it to pacify the demon.
Anyway, Little P, which for all intents and purposes could stand for "Piercing" decided to wake up and demand that we throw 'Lil Mama out of the van, so she (Little P) could stretch out. As we deemed that a little unreasonable...let's just skip some of the agonizing details and get to the part where she had been tantruming for about an hour or more. Most of the ride we had to restrain her. As we pulled into the driveway, she decided that she was going to drive herself back to where we started so that she could do the trip the right way.
When we wouldn't hand over the keys, she locked herself into the van and started honking the horn. It was 2:00 am. We dragged her into the house, kicking and screaming.
We decided to see if a little healthy food would help her to calm down. She wasn't about to try anything we suggested, but kept asking for things like candy and ice cream. NO WAY! Then she tried to ask for hot cocoa, but it came out, "I want some hot coffee!"
We all just looked at her. She stopped, grinned, and then added, "And a cigarette, please."
That was the end of the tantrum. She always stops on a dime and switches moods, but never if we're trying to distract her. No winding down, no residual gasps or hiccups. Stinker.
Then she pretty much skipped off to bed, leaving me to stew the rest of the night about my lack of parenting skills.
(My inspired Mother gave me some really good ideas to try, and I think she has hit on the answer to this whole tantrum situation. Please don't flood me with helpful ideas. If it works, I'll write about it. If this new strategy doesn't work, then I'll issue a call for assistance. I'm too emotionally fragile to deal with anything but step 1 right now.) And, yes, I've been praying for humility...why else would this be going on? Sheesh!
If nothing else, this motherhood thing gives me chance after chance to develop patience and humility. I should be picking up some of these virtues any minute, now. Wait for it, wait for it...nope.
One more irony--I just read, "Heaven is Here" by Stephanie Nielson. Absolutely beautiful book about a mom who was severely burned in a plane crash. I highly recommend it. Anyway, she related an incident when one of her girls asked her to help her button a shirt, and she couldn't do it. It was a painful part to read and made me appreciate the simple things that I take for granted every day.
At the pageant, I noticed that Little P's shirt buttons were undone in the back, and I lovingly buttoned them for her and thanked God that I could, and for all that I was able to do with and for my little ones each day. I was so thankful to be with them, and honored to serve as a mother.
Just before Little P went to bed, she stomped out angrily and cussed me out for buttoning her shirt, as it had gotten caught on her head as she tried to yank it off. Afraid that she was about to launch into another full-fledged tantrum, I told her I was sorry, and asked her what she wanted me to do about it, as she was now in her PJs. I was banished from the house at 2:30 am by a snotty 6 year-old for buttoning with my functional hands.
I've never been happier to take a time-out on the porch swing. I'm still thankful that my hands can button, though I'll think twice before I use them for that purpose again.
I'm also glad to know that the Lord isn't through with any of us, yet. I'm a work in progress...or a piece of work...whatever.