Boy, have I given myself a spot of drama this time. But, let me set this up for you.
As you may know, Sam works. All the time. Okay, not all the time, but sometimes all the time. In the past 10 years he has worked here, he has been covering shifts for others nearly as much as working his own scheduled shifts. Sometimes he worked both and sometimes he just covers and sometimes what he is doing changes 3 times in a day. It has been very confusing and tiring and I freely admit that in the past year I have grown entirely sick and tired of never having a consistent schedule. Before you ask, no, it isn't like this for every officer here. Sure, they all cover something occasionally, but none of them are always the first to be told to pick up shifts or go home early to prevent overtime because of picking up shifts. I won't lie, it really steams me when I hear the other families complain because their husband had to work a wonky schedule for a few days once every few months. We have never had more than a week go by that the schedule didn't change on us between call outs and call in sicks and surprise trainings and whatnot for the past decade.
So, start with that piece of information. Sam's schedule is currently not following what it was supposed to be this year and I am just exhausted with that. I've run out of all my understanding and pulling together for the team feelings and I am just plain tired. Now, add it to the fact that this year Sam was going to actually have Sundays off. That was going to be huge for us. You see, Sam likes church. He misses church. He wants to be there. I want him to be there and I need him to be there because going every darn week with 5 kids is hard. Really hard. Add in that I have a role playing the piano for 2 of the three hours of every week (and I do love doing that). Now add a 1 year old who has naptime during church. Now add a 3 year old who is the youngest Sunbeam in the primary and who really does NOT want to be there. Now add the 6 and 8 year old who are occasionally (weekly) not the best behaved and finally, add a dash of an 11 year old who just wants to graduate from primary, probably partially because she is stuck helping me hold the baby and wrangle the 3 year old every week. It isn't an easy three hours. Every week I have to pluck up my courage to try and brave church on my own again. It isn't relaxing and it isn't fun. I wish Sam could just be there to help, but, well, that isn't how things are going right now.
(Now, before you bash on people at church, know that they help when they can. Someone always holds the baby, and Ozzy's teachers are trying to help with him, but he is the youngest kid in the class and he is pulling out all the stops on not wanting to be there. But, we'll get to that. Just know people have helped me, it is just hard to help someone with 5 kids sometimes when you have your own kids. It is also hard for me to accept help and I do need to work on that.)
Let me set up the scene for yesterday. I was singing a solo in church. Then we had the usual hours of piano playing. Sam had to work of course, but he was going to try to stick his head in to help with the kids and see me sing. That didn't happen, it was just too busy at work. As for myself and the kids, we barely got to church on time (and if you know me, you know that means I felt like I was basically late, ugh). Henry was working hard at not staying in our pew and that was fun and Oz was just being unruly, but semi-manageable. I got up to sing and one of my friends helped Belle with the littles, so that went better than it could have. Of course, right after it, Henry decided it was time to screech, so I packed up the kids (like I do every week) to keep the noise for others to a minimum and we fell back to the primary room.
Sigh. Maybe one day I will sit through a full meeting again.
We get in the primary room and the big kids wait impatiently for class and bail the second they can. A friend grabs Henry for me so I can play and Oz gets right to not behaving. Just a sampling of his hijinks: Climbing on top of the piano to say, ¨hi mama¨ while I am playing the frickin' reverent song, rolling around on the floor, laying in front of a door so no one can get in or out easily, being loud, refusing to sit, fighting his teacher when he is trying to help him sit (and that kid is all about brawling)... then he managed to break away, shove open a door and run halfway down the hall before a teacher caught him. He also stood on my piano bench and threw a fit, both when I was in the room and out (I leave during non music times in the hopes he will behave better and it works sometimes). Then in class he cried, yelled, stood on chairs and finally started taking off his clothes so he was deposited back to me where Belle had to take care of him because I was playing piano.
It was rough. It is always rough.
I have been getting more and more discouraged by this. Every week I am hoping Ozzy will improve in primary and he just keeps digging deeper with the whole hating primary thing. Yesterday, I was nearly in tears when they brought him in. In moments like that, I have two main choices:
1. Ugly cry
I decided to laugh. I had been joking with someone that every year there is one Sunbeam who just will not tow the line and this year it is my Ozzy. I said we should get him a crown and a sash that said ¨Worst Sunbeam¨. It was funny. When Oz came in all mad, he just scowled and said, ¨no!¨ So, I had an idea for a funny picture. I wrote ¨I'm the worst Sunbeam ever¨ on a notebook. Then I told Oz to show me how he feels about primary and he made this super sad face which was also so funny. So, I handed him the sign and took the picture, thinking all about one day I would tell him all about this wretched day and we would laugh at the picture and his naughtiness and then I would make him mow my lawn.
The mistake was made when I decided to share it with some friends online. I thought they would be amused at yet another week of kids who don't behave. I really wanted to get a laugh out of some people because I was so frustrated and I wanted to keep looking on the bright side.
Well, that went a little sideways.
Most of my friends saw the funny and laughed with me. (By the way, Oz saw the picture. He loves making faces for pictures so the second I took it, he said, ¨me, me¨ and I showed him and he went, ¨oooh, cool.¨) But, then someone decided the picture was some sort of social commentary. His son suddenly wanted to be my facebook friend, obviously so he could see what I posted. The ¨friend¨ told me I was terrible and then made up some story about how the church teachers were bullying this poor child and then he posted this to his ward's facebook page. I didn't friend his son because it was pretty obvious what was going on. I got pretty heated, mostly because the poor teachers were treated badly for something I did and nothing makes me crankier than getting people in trouble for something they didn't do. I was also angry that someone who is much older than me would act like a gossipy teen.
Of course, then I had to really think about it. In the end, the fault was of course mine for assuming people would get the joke. They didn't. Some jokes are best kept in the family. I was given a great refresher course on how the internet works and why you only post things you are okay with going everywhere and with people coming to their own conclusions about. I don't want those teachers to be forever accused of something they didn't do. Finally, I was reminded of the true nature of most people. Most people will take a situation and judge it and/or a person without a second thought. This person, who I thought was a friend, didn't take a moment to ask my permission or ask if I needed help. He just saw something that would up his online viewership and he grabbed it. That doubles as a reminder for choosing friends more wisely too.
On the other side, I had a lot of friends reach out yesterday. People stopped by, texted and messaged me. A few people I didn't know even contacted me and apologized for their quick judgement and sympathized with how hard it is to go to church alone all the time. Because, what this really was for me was a way to let off steam after another hard Sunday with 5 kids on my own. It was me trying to laugh so I wouldn't give up and never go back until the kids were teens.
Want to know the last thing I said to anyone when I left church? I said, ¨this is why mothers stop going to church. It is too hard to do this every week.¨
It is. It is so embarrassing to see your 3 year old acting like a crazy person and not being able to do anything because you are playing the piano. If I were not doing my job I would be making sure that kid behaved (while juggling Henry of course). It is mortifying when your 8 year old jumps up and down and even when repeatedly told, forgets to raise his hand before calling out answers. It makes me sad when my 6 year old talks and talks and never sings a note because he wants to visit. I feel like my kids are the worst in church and I feel like I am the worst mom because of it. It is hard. Most weeks I choose between tears and giggles. I've mostly gone for giggles, but, well, you see how that worked this time.
Don't think people aren't trying to help. They are. But, my little Sunbeam is really difficult right now. He really is the worst Sunbeam at this moment. But, here is the deal. I've seen a lot of ¨worst¨ Sunbeams over the years. They grow out of it... eventually. They become vibrant, hilarious kids. This is why I love my worst Sunbeam. We can only go up from where we are at and one day when I tell this story about the worst Sunbeam to him again, he is going to laugh and then go do something amazing because that is the kind of kid he is.
In the meantime, well, church is hard. So hard. I'm discouraged. I'm tired. I want Sam to be able to come to church with me and help. Next week he may actually get to (but I won't hold my breath). I want to do my job at church and I want to have kids who all behave. I don't want to ask for help all the time because it really isn't something I like to do. I feel very uncomfortable asking someone to hold my baby for 2 hours and I hate asking people to help me with my 3 year old and with my big kids.
But, sometimes we have to do hard things.
Sometimes we try to make the best of a situation and our best goes sideways and turns into a bigger mess.
Sometimes people aren't our friends after all and they judge something they shouldn't.
Sometimes we see a moment in time in someone else's life and we make up a story that is completely false.
Sometimes we just are dumb.
I've done all of that, some of it in the past 24 hours. So, now I have some choices to make. I could be upset for a bit longer I guess. I could beat myself up more or get angry and the ¨friend¨ who probably won't let it go (and I get that, I have done the same thing instead of just owning a mistake. Human nature).
Or, I could laugh.
How dumb was I?
How bad was yesterday?
Glad it is over and I am ready to make mistakes in a new and exciting way.
Oh, and I know what you are thinking. You want to see the picture.
Promise you won't accuse anyone of being evil? He really was amused and I really find it adorably funny after all the crazy stuff he did. I swear, if you could flunk Sunbeams, he probably would.
Okay, here you go.
By the way, Osbourne is sitting on my lap watching me write all this. He likes to look at his picture. He loves pictures of himself, little stinker.
There you go, another lesson for you to learn through watching my mishaps. To sum up what I learned:
Never forget the internet is watching you.
People love to find the worst in something... make sure to avoid such people.
It is okay to laugh rather than cry, but maybe don't always share the joke if you have a weird sense of humor.
Church with little kids is hard. Don't be afraid to help a mom or dad out and please make sure to encourage the ones who are struggling.
Alright, that is all. From the Worst Sunbeam's Mother Ever, have a good week.