Something completely out of the blue happened to us about a month ago. While at a YM activity Juan was approached by a member of the Stake Presidency and asked if he and I could meet with him. Having not received any inkling as to what the reason could be, we entered the room filled with intrigue and a little nervousness.. And then suddenly life changed. Juan was called as the second counsellor in the ward Bishopric. What a surprise!
The call actually couldn't have come at a better time, as my dad was able to ordain him as a High Priest, and they were here for the Sunday he was set apart. Very special. :-)
Juan is excited and looking forward to the experiences he will have as a bishopric member. I think his years of being in YM have helped him prepare for the constant meetings he has every week. But it hasn't been too busy these past few weeks which has been a great blessing because his uni assignments have taken a lot of his time.
Although his schedule hasn't differed too much from his Stake YM Presidency calling, my 'single-mum' experiences have definitely increased. Juan has often had to travel and train in other wards on Sundays so I was slowly getting used to him not sitting with us in Sacrament meetings, but EVERY week is a whole new deal altogether! Looking after three toddlers is no picnic anyway, but then add a quiet room where daddy is in eye-view but completely untouchable, and it's just plain cruel.
My first thought at dealing with this was to sit with Alisha and her family. I tested it out on the first Sunday and realised quickly that it was more of a hindrance than a help, as our kids more more less competed to see who could be the most rebellious... results = not good.
I knew there was only one thing to do. Sit in the back. So every week we take our seat close to the back row where people can't see us sliding in and out with baby feeds and naughty time outs, and I hope they can't see me bribing my kids with lollies to keep them quiet and every activity under the sun to keep them occupied!
It has been a real struggle for me with Anabel as she does not like to be carried by anyone else. Even Juan can't settle her with or without me in the room half the time (just last night I had to leave a R.S activity 15 mins into it because she was screaming uncontrollably for poor Juan alone at home, no joke! Thankfully she fell straight to sleep in my arms and we went back to the activity together :-)
Having said this, I honestly believe that Heavenly Father blesses me every week thus far with angels who offer to hold her and she actually stays with them! On week two, she even fell asleep in someone elses arms!! She has never even done that with her daddy!! I was shocked but so relieved, and consider it a blessing from heaven.
As every mother with young kids understands, church goes from being a peaceful enjoyable day relishing in the spirit of the Gospel and friends to, without a doubt, THE most stressful day of the week. If you're not threatening or bribing your kids to just be QUIET for what is now the LONGEST hour of your entire life, then you are bargaining and begging your two year old to STAY in the nursery room without screaming the place down. That is, if you're not holding a 20lb six month old in one arm while corristering the Primary through I Am a Child of God, or standing in the corner of the Bishop's office secretly feeding your baby while everyone has their eyes closed, just so she will stop crying while your husband is being set apart! -- No exaggeration.
Even though Anabel still cries when others hold her and Eadie still whines during sacrament and Tori still complains she's hungry, I can honestly say that I have felt calmer, happier, and more at peace during the last three Sundays since Juan has received his call then I have in months. A total blessing.
But having said this, I have a talk coming up in 2 weeks, so watch this space...