Never Forget

Never Forget

The time Ellen found my ink pad while I was putting an Etsy order on the porch to be picked up by the mailman.
The time Ellen found my ink pad when I stepped outside to leave a package to be picked up by the mailman.

Our front yard has been our third child this last year and we’ve dumped a significant amount of money and more importantly time into it. One evening, Noel and I were out watering our yard’s newest acquisition, a nice patch of Buffalo Grass. As we looked at the yard we talked about how great it was looking and how excited we were to see things continue to improve. One of the old ladies in the neighborhood hurried over while we were out and we greeted her with a friendly hello to which she replied, “It looks like you’re finally landscaping!” (Apparently a year’s worth of weeding and planting plants didn’t count.) The conversation only got worse as she insinuated that we were dragging down the property value of the neighborhood and then finished by telling us it was such a shame we’d killed the tree in our front yard. (We’re still a bit confused on that one since it’s growing leaves . . .)  Noel optimistically said he thought the tree could rally with a good pruning and I forced all the politeness I could muster into saying, “We’re getting there, but you know money and time are hard to come by.” She shook her head at us and headed back home. Noel and I fumed in silence for a little bit and then he said, “I should have told her, ‘If that tree is the only causality of our yard makeover it will be a miracle; we’ll be lucky if our children survive it!'” We both doubled over laughing.

The time Ellen dumped 5 lbs of sugar on the floor while I was doing laundry.
The time Ellen dumped 5 lbs of sugar on the floor while I was doing laundry.

Every time I find myself offended or going through a really hard time, I tell myself to remember how hard this is or how much it hurts. Not because I have crazy plots for revenge or because I want to dwell, but quite the opposite. I never want to forget how miserable those last weeks of pregnancy are, how humiliating it is to be asked to leave a church meeting because your baby is babbling, or how difficult it is to work in your yard when your kids are trampling plants and running into the street because I never want to lose my empathy and I especially never want to be the one causing hurt feelings. Instead, I want to be the one offering an encouraging word or a helping hand. Thankfully, I’ve also been blessed to brush shoulders with those that do remember. Fragile, little old ladies have offered to hold my babies if my arms get tired, moms of older kids have stepped in to help when I was about ready to give my kids up for adoption, and complete strangers have helped me on and off planes the few times I’ve flown alone with the kids. These are also moments that I never want to forget because I want to remember how meaningful small gestures can be.

The kids helping themselves to a snack while I pulled dandelions out of the lawn.
The kids helping themselves to a snack while I pulled dandelions out of the lawn.

Don’t think I’m fooled into thinking life will be easy when my kids are out of diapers or even out of the house. I know that there’s always some sort of challenge around the corner, that’s just life, but I also don’t want to be one of those people that says, “Oh well you think this is hard, wait until . . .”  I really think there isn’t a more depressing thing a person could say to someone who is struggling. While facing adversity (both big and small) helps refine us into better people, I think we also go through tough times so we can help other people. And really, isn’t a better person someone who helps others?

Cooper begging to be pushed on the swing while I was digging up a hated weed bush.
Cooper begging to be pushed on the swing while I was digging up a hated weed bush.

Someday I’m going to be the little old lady on the block and a young family will move in and hopefully I’ll still remember the challenges of those days. Instead of criticizing them for not mowing their lawn the second it gets shaggy, I hope I’ll encouragingly call out “Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime.” And maybe, I’ll even offer to let those kids come play on the awesome swing set in my backyard (which we’ll hopefully have by then) so their mom can get something done.

And in case you were wondering, me typing this blog post is a close duplicate of the "What I really do." From
Me typing this blog post is a close duplicate of the “What I really do” photo. From

8 thoughts on “Never Forget

  1. I hear ya. I like all the pictures of what your kids do while you try to get things done. I think the only way to accomplish anything with toddlers is to let something else get distroyed. My house is currently infested by pieces of styrofome that the girls like shredding to bits – but the kitchen is clean and the laundry is put away.

    Sorry about people at church. I’ve been having a rough few weeks (months) because I feel like all I have been doing is hosting a three ring circus during sacrament meeting and then wandering the halls with Derrick during the rest of church. I keep telling myself that one day I’m going to remember this time and really reach out to the mom’s of pre-nursery kids. it’s such an isolating time.

    Oh and to make this comment even longer I want to tell you this story. i I think you’ll like it.

    There is a teenage boy that sits behind us at church sometimes. He takes it upon himself to shush my kids and to tell them to put their toys away. It drives me crazy. On Sunday he even had the gall to hand me the little carpet strip that Charlotte was playing with and tell me that I should “put it back now.” I was so mad that I hissed, “WE CAN WAIT TO CLEAN UP” at him.

    Later his mom tried to explain that he has OCD and so things like that bug him. All I could say was a snarky, “Well, let’s hope he never has a toddler!” Seriously, if we drive him so crazy why do they keep sitting behind our spot?

    Anyway, Carry On Warrior (have you read her book? It’s on my list of things to one day read)

    1. Thankfully the time I was asked to leave church was a while back in a different place (although with the quieter of my two kids). It cut pretty deep and while I forgave, I’m so grateful to be in a different congregation with my louder toddler 🙂 I didn’t know there was a book, I’ll have to add it to my reading list.

  2. Audrey, I really, really enjoyed this post and the one that you linked to. I guess I’m really out of that toddler stage because I think your kids are adorable and can do no harm. 😉 Bring them over any time!

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