My husband took our children (except the baby) to the store on Saturday. But before leaving, he knocked on the bedroom door that I was behind, and said, “You have free reign of the home for a little while, just wanted to let you know.”
I came out cautiously, looking both ways to be sure they were gone before emerging from my place of refuge. As I wondered what, of all things, I wanted to do with my next precious two hours, I headed to the other side of the house and realized that had I made no hesitation as to which route to take to get there. I hadn’t paid all that much attention to the fact that I regularly chose my paths to avoid a child that would immediately say “Mom…” as I rounded the next corner. I would typically look through a doorway and see one child, look down the hallway and see a different one; sometimes I would dart across the front entry hoping nobody would see me so that perhaps I could accomplish something on my task list without the inevitable interruption.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my children, and I love that I am a stay at home mom. I laugh at the cute things they say and delight in their progression. Nothing brings me greater joy than my family. But once in a while, I too, have one of those days. Or weeks. This time it probably had something to do with the revered monthly blessing of hormonal fluctuations, but at any rate, my own bucket was empty; I was all used up, and I wanted no more to hear “Mom.” It would have been more tolerable if my family had chosen to call me by my first name, just to give me a psychological break from the constant whining and demands that always seem to follow that title of “Mom”. You’ve heard of Pavlov’s dogs? I have been trained to feel weary at just the first word, without a single complaint or request after it. Dad could even be around, and yet it is rarely “Dad” that they choose to need.
During those two hours of quiet, I felt a new love for my home, the house itself. I realized that when I need a break, my husband usually sends me out. This time, I was able to enjoy my own domain. I realized that I might even be able to get some serious housework done without anything else becoming undone at the same time. The two hours went by too quickly. I didn’t feel refreshed enough to have my bucket full. I mentioned to my husband that I would like to get out the summer calendar and find a weekend where he could take the kids to go see grandma. Then I could plan ahead and make the most out of some time alone. Funny, he didn’t seem nearly as excited about the idea as I was.
They all came home, we had dinner, and then I took the baby into the spare bedroom to have some peace. I just didn’t feel like hearing “Mom” quite yet. Of course, all my efforts are always in vain, there is no escaping it. At one moment my daughter came crying to my door. “MAW-OM!” “What’s wrong,” I said flatly. My patience was thin. “Dad made me sad!” “Why.” “Because he said not to bother you!”
I came out, stroked her face, and decided to make myself clean up the kitchen. As I did, this thought came to me, and I rejoiced at the idea of it:
Why don’t we know much about a Mother in Heaven? Because Heavenly Father told us not to bother Her. We don’t pray to her, we pray to the Father. I think He honors her by keeping Her name sacred. I wonder if She is sometimes off in a spare Celestial bedroom somewhere taking care of the infant spirits that haven’t learned to complain yet. Can you imagine how many people on this earth at any one given moment are sincerely crying out to the Father for supplication? And yet He glories in attending to each of them. I think it is meant to be our greatest joy to learn how to suffer our children to come unto us, and in patience, hear and address their every cry. If we can pass this test, I know our reward in the next life will be great. I would think Her bucket is full, wouldn’t you? I can let myself look forward to a sphere where the “father” of the family hears it all first. I think I can endure (and learn to cherish) it for just this little while. I could even learn to miss it when it doesn’t happen. And if we were to live worthy enough to become like our Heavenly Parents, my husband would get to do there what I do here: namely, being first to hear the complaints of our children. And yet, he would handle it perfectly, and great would be his joy.
This father’s day, let’s honor all of the fathers for the responsibility that would be theirs in the next life! One thing is certain; I know we all have a long way to go before we could deal with such a responsibility. I only have five children. I am grateful to my husband for trying to buffer the demands that are placed on me. Heavenly Father has billions of children. I am pleased that He would protect His companion from the disrespect that mortals would surely show Her. And, I am grateful to Him for hearing my complaints and sending me the comfort I need when I think I have nothing left to give. Doctrine or not, it helped me change my outlook and attend cheerfully to my little ones once again.