If I had to give the opening Sacrament prayer on Mother’s Day, I would ask for a blessing on the mothers among us today who are dedicated to their family’s exaltation. That I am especially grateful for the physical superiority of mothers to physically wrestle their children into Sunday clothing, lock them in a car and keep them (humanely) restrained in the pew for the inevitable boredom of a 70-minute meeting early on a Sunday morning.
The next time you are at church observing the sacred ordinance of Sacrament (or the equivalent at your place of worship) and you notice a spirited child, ask for a blessing on the mother. As I reflect on the miraculous transformation of my youngest daughter from spirited 18-month old in nursery to model 5 year old in Sunday School, I remember the trials every Sunday morning like milestones on my motherhood journey…
Like the time when lil C decided she no longer liked her brand new gold sparkle shoes and pulled them off. A few minutes later, in quick succession like a pint-sized Katniss in the Hunger Games, she flung them at a newly appointed deacon offering the sacrament water at the end of the pew.
Or when, during the Bishop’s moving testimony, she held up her Barbie and started swaying it back and forth like a lighter at a rock concert.
Which reminds me of when we were listening to a talk from the Stake High Council leader and she scrawled a “9” on a piece of paper then held it up like an Olympic Ice Skating Judge. I asked why only a 9 and she said she didn’t like his tie.
One Sunday morning, I gave her my necklace to play with, which she promptly flung it like bolas, wrapping it around the neck of an unsuspecting Melchezidek priesthood holder who had to stifle his surprise while simultaneously choking from the impact.
Or, while sitting on her father’s lap, she found a pen in his jacket pocket that had a laser pointer on the end. She then started aiming the red light at the backs of the heads of people in the pews in front of us like a little Mormon assassin.
Then there was the morning when, after rushing to church only to arrive late yet again, we slid into our pew only to have Lil C kick up her feet, using the hymnal rack like her own private footrest. During the sacrament prayer, the most sacred moment of Sunday service, our hymnal rack came crashing down followed by the loud, “it wasn’t me” protestation of innocence from my youngest daughter.
Or when we were singing the opening hymn, “Love At Home” and I was personally wondering, with a pang of guilt, whether I was worthy to partake the sacrament afterwards, Lil C not only removed her shoes and tights, but I caught her flipping the dress over her head as she complained, ‘the tights were itchy and I’m hot.’
Another morning, she dropped the holy water as she insisted on passing the tray, well ahead of her hand-eye coordination abilities. She then called, “Waiter! Bring us more water!” to the deacon at the end of our pew, who was caught like a deer in headlights.
Another time, during a fast and testimony Sunday, she played tug-of-war with the deacon (waiter) over seconds with the bread tray, as she exclaimed, “I AM HUNGRY!”. The resulting sacrament bread flew across the people in front of us.
One of my favorite memories with the sacrament was when she clinked her sacrament cup against mine, loudly crying, “CHEERS!” then tossing the water behind her left shoulder, giving a faceful of water to the Relief Society President in the pew behind us.
Or the time she drank her sacrament water only to spit it out and say, “It doesn’t taste like Mommy’s Diet Coke!”
She has also been known to use her sacrament bread to feed her My Little Ponies and Littlest Pet Shops.
Lil C once went up on the stand and stood next to the speaker, demonstrating her own version of sign language, like the man who was translating for the prior speaker.
Another morning, she was pilfering through our snack pack, found a cheese sandwich, opened it up, decided she didn’t want the bread, so she ate the cheese and used the bread as ammunition that she suddenly catapulted in the general direction of the Bishopric on the stand.
During one Primary music program, she found a comb in her pocket and decided to comb the hair of the boy in front of her through the entire program. He seemed to enjoy it.
Escaping from nursery and primary class was one of her favorite events during the 3-hour long block of meetings every Sunday morning. She often found her father in Elder’s Quorum where the priesthood would play ‘amuse the toddler’ (and, according to her father, it would quickly become evident which men have children and who does not). One morning she was carried back to nursery by her father and she blew kisses, calling out over his shoulder to the entire Elder’s Quorum: “Bye-bye Boys!”
On another particularly challenging day, she managed to evade her sunbeam teacher and the entire primary presidency to make 3 full circuits around the whole Stake Center without being captured, the highlight being when she ran across the chapel during the another Ward’s sacrament meeting. Twice.
Then there was the time Lil C was booted out of nursery and handed to her father while he had to teach an Elder’s Quorum lesson on fatherhood.
Or when people from the ward would see me in the halls, rather than greet me, they would helpfully point out the direction my youngest daughter was last seen headed.
And during a Stake Conference when she angelically answered the Stake President’s rhetorical question from the very back row of a packed chapel as loud as she possibly could with her answer, “YES! Hallelujah Brother!!!”
But I think my favorite memory was the morning when she clearly was feeling very proud of her singing abilities and rather than sing, “I Believe in Christ” as the entire congregation prepared to take the sacrament, she decided to sing, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” instead. Loudly.
Bless all these mothers this morning that they might feel something of the Holy Spirit today and return again next week and do it all again. Amen.