Monthly Archives: February 2020

The rainbow comes after the storm

We have a handsome, intelligent, persistent, opinionated, resourceful wonderful young man in our home. A teenage man. I’ve read recently in a book hilariously titled “The Grown-Up Guide to Teenage Humans” that these teenage humans really, really need a few important things: belonging, fun, and control. In fact, they want these things so much that they will go out of their way to do the opposite of what their parents want just to assert their autonomy. Scott and I are learning about this delicate dance. I’m not going to lie–it’s a struggle sometimes figuring out how to be parents with rules and expectations while also allowing freedom to grow and choose. It’s extra hard for a set of oldest-child, somewhat type-A perfectionist parents. We are learning, I daresay, as much as our children as we go through this journey.

We expect a lot of our kids and we have a few things we insist on–family dinner, family scripture and prayer, a family date on Saturday, and church on Sunday are where we hold the line. Sometimes it’s pulling teeth to get everyone together. Regularly our cute teenage Zach says “Can we be done with now?” or “No, I’m not coming.” Or “I don’t want to go see Frozen 2 with you.” Or “I don’t feel like going to church–it’s boring.” We keep insisting. “Yep, come on up.” “Yep, it’s time to go.” Or “Yep, we’re going to give it a try.” It can be exhausting. Every once in a while I just want to cave and say “Fine, never mind. Do what you want.”

Last night it was a Sunday and we had gotten some good scripture time in during the day at church, and we said our evening prayer at the dinner table after a quick family council. It was late and I figured we could call it good. I had already gotten our super-social five year old, Sam, in bed and was walking toward the girls’ room down the hall with a hymn book to sing them a song as they were getting in to bed. Sam heard me mention something about a song and came running out of his room. “We need to do scriptures!” he said. I laughed and said, “Well we went to church today… but ok let’s do it.” Then Zach came in and climbed up to hang with his little sister on her bunk bed.

I read a quick scripture to them and sang a verse of one of my favorite hymns, “The Spirit of God.” I invited them to sing with me if they knew the words. No one knew the first verse, but during the chorus, Zach joined in singing with me. “We’ll sing, and we’ll shout, with the armies of heaven. Hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb.” He wanted to sing! My heart was full already. But then, I said goodnight and asked Zach to come on down and go to bed. Then he said, “But mom, we haven’t prayed yet.” I was stunned. “OK great, let’s pray.”

We never know when all the little things we are encouraging are settling in and becoming habits that our kids actually love and want. To me, last night, was a little rainbow after getting through some rain. I know this doesn’t mean the battles are over and we have officially arrived. In fact, as Zach was leaving for his carpool this morning I said “See you after school!” and he looked back and said, “Don’t be late again” and walked off. I called out, “Want to say ‘Bye Mom?'” And he half-smiled and called back, “Bye Mom” and got in the car. We continue the dance. But I’ve had a glimpse that the efforts are worth every reminder, every invitation, every insistence. We’ll get our rainbows here and there, and they are beautiful.

Image result for rainbow in a storm

A Broken Bow Moment

Last week the kids and I were reading about Nephi’s broken bow. Everyone in this scripture account other than Nephi was complaining. I can imagine it. They are far from home, they are tired, they are hungry. And the last bow just broke. “This is awful!” they probably said. “It’s not fair! How could you have let this happen? Why me?” Not Nephi though. Nephi simply went to find some wood and made himself a new bow. Then he went to his father with the Liahona and asked, “Father, which way should I go?” Everyone has broken bow moments. It’s when things go wrong. We can either whine and complain and toss ourselves on the bed, or we can be like Nephi.

Two nights ago I brought Scott up to Tollgate Canyon near Park City for a surprise, romantic getaway in a rustic cabin in the middle of nowhere. I was following the directions up these long stretches of abandoned roads, and the snow was getting deeper and deeper. Suddenly it was too deep. Our tires were spinning. The car was stuck. I had been told by the cabin manager that I would need four wheel drive (which we had) but what I didn’t know is that four wheel drive wouldn’t cut it in the wet snow from that day. We needed chains or snow tires, which we didn’t have. Scott and I got out of the car and dug the snow out around the tires. We took turns pushing the car. Nothing.

Luckily, a few minutes after we had decided this challenge was beyond us, one of the few neighbors on the mountain came driving up the road. She had tow ropes. Then another neighbor came by with a truck and snow plow, and he was able to pull us out. It was getting pretty late at that point. The light was leaving and the snow was falling. We had to decide what to do. I was cold and wet and frustrated. But I really wanted to stay at this romantic cabin. I looked at Scott–“What should we do?” He didn’t hesitate. “Let’s go get some chains!” he said.

We drove to the Walmart in Park City and walked to their chain section. We searched through all the options for a good 30 minutes. They didn’t have our size. By now it was 7:30 p.m. We hadn’t had dinner and it was officially dark. “Should we just throw in the towel and go stay at some other hotel?” I said. But Scott wasn’t ready to give up. He knew I had worked hard to plan this weekend. He jumped on the phone and called an auto parts store in Salt Lake, 30 minutes away, and asked if they had chains that were the right size for our car. They did. “Let’s call it an adventure,” he said. Like Nephi, he just figured out what needed to be done and pointed us in that direction.

By 9:30 p.m., we were back at the beginning of the snowy trail laying out chains behind our tires. The air was freezing, snow was falling, and we could barely see. I held my phone flashlight toward the tires while Scott studied the directions for how to put chains on the car. Thirty minutes later, we were ready to take another shot at the mountain road.

The chains worked! We drove through the snow and made it to one of the most beautiful, romantic, rustic, cozy log cabins I’ve ever stayed in. We spent yesterday reading by the fire, playing a card game, snow shoeing, making meals, and soaking in a hot tub. Mostly, we’ve just enjoyed the reward of being together. Now I am writing this with a blazing fire in front of me and a beautiful sparkling snowy hillside out the window.

I’m so grateful that Scott didn’t give up at our broken bow moment. He had the confidence and courage and patience to keep moving forward, even though at each tricky, cold, frustrating challenge we didn’t know if we would succeed.

I figure life is like that. Things will go wrong. Probably at least once a day I am faced with something I didn’t expect or some problem I wish wasn’t there. I hope that the next time one of those moments comes along, I’ll remember to just point myself in the right direction and get going.