Wednesday, when I was pulling out of our driveway do my carpool duties, a young woman flagged me down. Rolling down my window, I looked at her quizzically. “Will you take me home,” she said tearfully, “My boyfriend punched me so I got out of the car and now I need a ride home.”
Children are so good. The boys—Josh, Dason, and Miles—accepted the presence of a smoke-smelling, Hispanic stranger in the car without question and chatted with her freely. After taking Josh and Dason to Dason’s house, I delivered Destiny to her West Ogden home.
On the way back to Roy I told Miles why Destiny was in our car. “Why would a man do that?” he asked. I told him there were a variety of reasons, none of them good. “I hope I never do that,” he said.
“Son,” said I, “that is not something you hope for; that is something you decide. You decide you will never hit your girlfriend or wife and then you simply never do it.”
“Okay,” he said easily. “I will never do it.”
Chick has never hit his girlfriend or wife. Of course, Chick has never had a girlfriend or wife. He had not even had a traditional date…..until this weekend. [Lance and I drove him and the young lady he took on his only other date,
which is certainly not traditional.] He cleaned the bathroom and did dishes for Grace to get her theater ticket, he traded the
Wal-Mart gift cards he earned referee-ing soccer games to get cash for dinner, he cleaned out Lance’s car to make room for a passenger, and then he called Jessica. Three hang-ups and “I’ll call back in a minute”’s later, he had a date. He did not say a lot but he bounced around the house a lot. It was obvious to all of us that he was pretty pleased.
The best news is that he was still pretty pleased after the date. Apparently they had a great time. “Mom, we talked for three
hours!” Talking about anything (except Dr. Who) for longer than three minutes is great for Chick. I was pretty pleased
too. [For the record, they did talk about Dr. Who but not the whole time.]
I was also pleased about parent/teacher conferences this week…which is good since I had many of them.
At school’s beginning Apple (name changed) and I had some problems. During an outdoor field trip, he did something so disobedient, disrespectful, and defiant that I was left speechless. Shocked and angry, I had to stop the field trip and take everyone back to the classroom; I really could not say anything. I need to mention at this point that Apple was also very disruptive in class and had not completed any of his assignments.
A few days later we had a meeting for those interested in going to Havasupai. Students hoping to go on the field trip have to complete an application. There is a place on the application that requires the students to get a signature from each
of their teachers, indicating that they are in good academic standing in the class and are approved to go. Apple attended the meeting and picked up an application. Later that day, he asked me to sign the application. I told him that I could not sign it at that time and would have to think about it.
I thought about it all weekend. He worked on his application all weekend.
The applications were due Monday. He came in Monday at lunch, his essay written, the required research done, and all the teacher’s signatures present—except mine. “Will you sign this?” he asked.
“Sit down,” said I. “We need to talk.”
I am a “yes” person. I really am. Unless the request deals with watching T.V. or playing computer games, I generally say “yes”; it is really hard for me to say no, especially when it comes to life-is-the-stories-you-can-tell experiences.
I told Apple that what he had done on the field trip earlier had completely destroyed the trust between us. He could build
that trust back up—and I hoped that he would—but it would take some time to build that trust back up. There simply was not enough time between the incident and the Havasupai field trip for him to restore the trust.
“Does this mean that I cannot go?” he asked.
“That is right,” I said, as gently as I could. “You cannot go with us to Havasupai.”
A couple tears rolled down his brown cheeks as I told him about our spring, southern Utah trip. I expressed my desires to take him on that trip and my confidence that he could earn my trust back by then. And then I let him go.
Oh baby! It was SO hard.
Apple turned over a new leaf. He stopped pesting others and started doing his classwork. At mid-term he is earning an A….which brings me back to parent/teacher conferences.
Apple and his tattoo-ed, truck driving dad sat down at my table. “I don’t know if Apple told you,” I started, “but he and I had a little trouble at the beginning of the year….” Instead of disclosing details, I told the father how proud I was of his son; that Apple had taken responsibility for the incident and had used it as a stepping stone to ramp up his school achievement. I bragged about Apple for a few minutes. Dad Apple was a bit taken back. “I’m not used to hearing those kinds of things about my son,” he said. “We’ve struggled in the past.” As I re-affirmed the positive things I’d said about the son, the father’s
grin widened. I ended by telling Dad Apple about our southern Utah field trip, expressing my hope that his son would come with me. “Do you let parents come?” the dad asked. Smiling, I invited him and told him the trip dates. As he wrote them down he said, “I am telling my boss someone else will have to drive that week. I will be with you.”
On the first day of school Apricot (name changed) told me that he was new to OPA, having transferred to Ogden from England. In a mild English accent, he told me that he liked it here. Over the next five weeks I referred to his English past several times in class and he urged me to visit Britain. At the end of his parent/teacher conference, searching for something to say as the mother filled out a form, I said, “So I understand that you moved here from England….” The mother’s head shot up as Apricot’s face turned as red as a Latino face can. “England?” questioned the mother at the same time as Apricot sputtered “….uh….I was going to tell you……” Turns out, they are from 36th Street….in Ogden. Apricot tried to apologize but I would not let him; I was laughing too hard. He totally got me, “hook, line, and sinker” as the saying goes.
When I sat down in front of Mr. Peer at Roy High’s parent/teacher conference, he made “I’m not worthy” signs
to me. ????? “Let me tell you about your children, starting with Chick.” He proceeded to tell me that Chick’s intellect and example has raised the level of the entire comparative government class. After lauding Chick he leaned forward and told me how amazing Tanah is in his debate class. He went on about Tanah for several minutes as well.
“I don’t know what you are doing at home but, please, keep doing it. Your children are incredible.”
W OW! Though I really cannot claim much credit for either of their accomplishments, it was a moment of glory for me.
I was reminded of a scripture I read recently in 3 Nephi 11:11. Christ said, “I have….glorified the Father..” Christ’s actions glorified his Father. In a similar way, though on a much diminished scale, my children’s actions glorify me. When I think of the intense joy I felt when glorified by my children, I imagine the joy our Heavenly Father must feel when we do things to glorify Him and I am inspired to act in a way that will bring Him glory….and joy. Hallelujah!
“Hallelujah, Hallelujah” is the chorus to one of the songs we will be singing in Conference next Saturday. WOW! What an experience it has been already. Yesterday (Saturday) morning we rehearsed in the Conference Center. Sitting in the Tabernacle Choir loft and looking out over 21,000 seats wasn’t as intimidating as I feared it would be. (Of course the seats
were empty at the time. It may be a whole different story when they are full….) The seats seem very far away. When we
focus on Sister Felstead, which is what we should be doing, it actually seems rather intimate.
We are seated in families which makes things a bit trickier. For one thing, we cannot stand to sing because if we do, the children will be hidden. Family sitting also means that we are not grouped by the parts we sing. I sit between two basses
(which Lance says makes me a shortstop…two bases….baseball pun…) and there is a wall behind me. I cannot hear anyone singing the soprano part….except myself and I don’t have a lot of faith in me. Yet I know that the chance of my hitting the notes are better if I sing out strong so I sing with confidence and faith, praying that I will hit the notes correctly. I know God will help us. We have done our part, He will do His. I am really quite excited to hear what He does with my voice next Saturday.
“A long time ago in a beautiful place,
Children were gathered round Jesus.
He blessed and taught as they felt of His love.
Each saw the tears on His face.
The love that He felt for His little ones,
I know He feels from me.
I did not touch Him or sit on His knee,
But Jesus is real to me.
I know He lives!
I will follow faithfully.
My heart I give to Him.
I know that my Savior loves me!”
What an incredible opportunity to sing out my testimony. I have not touched Him or sat on his knee but Jesus IS real to me. I KNOW He lives. And I KNOW that my Savior loves me.
He loves you too!