I knew last night's Family Home Evening was going to be a doozy before we even started.
As we gathered everyone, I took a deep breath and said to Sam something like, "Here we go...this is going to be rough."
But even I underestimated how challenging it would be.
Benson had been crying for much of the evening, and his cries continued to punctuate the songs and scriptures.
One boy was taking ten minutes to complete the simple task of putting his pajamas on, so we ended up starting without him.
When he joined the group, tormenting immediately began amidst the brothers.
I separated them and, when I told Lincoln where to sit, Maxwell ran over and took the spot before Lincoln could claim it.
We had to re-start our family theme about three times before we could all say the right words together.
Maxwell ran over to the piano and yanked one of the handles out of the lid.
In an effort to keep Maxwell and Benson quiet, I had a bag of Craisins out and I supplied them each with a steady stream. But then, just as I was beginning my lesson on the Holy Ghost, Benson (who had jammed way too many Craisins into his mouth) climbed up on the living room table and, standing upright, spit slobbery Craisins out one at a time until his mouth was empty and the living room was sufficiently stickified.
After we cleaned up that mess, I continued my lesson as Maxwell climbed up to the kitchen table and tried to play with all the props I had set out to use for my lesson.
After we got him down and back into the living room, I got perhaps another minute of teaching in when I glanced at Maxwell and saw that blood was suddenly dripping from his nose and was quickly covering his hands! I stopped in shock and he looked at his hands, saying, "Look! I got strawberries!"
Sam quickly scooped him up to wash him off. Maxwell chose that precise moment to exhale hard through his nose, which splattered blood all over his and Sam's white Sunday shirts.
At that point I paused the lesson, sent the boys up to get ready for bed, and put Benson to bed.
Finally, Maxwell's bloody nose was under control, Benson was asleep, the bloody shirts were changed, and the boys were ready for bed so we once again gathered everyone. I got a bit grumpy when the boys wanted to keep playing for just a little longer and, after I delivered my mini-lecture about how the Sabbath was for learning about Jesus and that should be a much higher priority than toys, Talmage said, "Okay, but next time can you tell me that without saying, 'No' so many times?"
We wrapped up the lesson and I tried to bring the Spirit as I told them about different experiences I had had in my life with the Holy Ghost leading me and guiding me.
That's just the way things go at our house sometimes.
This story has no real point, but I want to remember what being a mom of five little kids is like--the good times and the harder times.
I have a tendency to delete bad memories and look at the past through rose-colored glasses.
While this can often be a useful trait,
I've learned that there is also great value in remembering our struggles.
Even if sometimes the struggle is as silly as soggy Craisins, a bloody nose, and irreverent kids.