Monday, August 3, 2009


During last October's General Conference for the LDS Church, the prophet, Thomas S. Monson, gave a talk about finding joy in the journey of life. Here is one thought he shared that I heard with disbelief:

"If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly."

When I heard that, I thought, "I hope that's true, but it really doesn't sound like me." When people ask me what I'll do when all my kids are in school full time, I answer, "Clean the house." Seriously, it hasn't been clean to my liking since I was pregnant with #5 almost four years ago. So when President Monson warned that I would miss that, I thought, "Not likely."

Last week my kids were playing with their cousin who is visiting from England. They wanted to "paint" with shaving cream on the windows, and since I am trying to say yes to my children as much as possible (within reason), I let them go ahead. When they were done, I saw the window and immediately thought of the prophet's words. I still can't appreciate the constant mess of five young children, but it does blow my mind that I have no babies anymore and that #1 is giving our phone number to boys she meets at the pool. (Fortunately, Kent and I are screening their persistent phone calls so they don't get to talk to her much.)

I know I will have regrets as an empty-nester some day, but I hope to use the time I have my children in my home to enjoy them as people and pass along some wisdom too.

If you want to read the full talk, click here It's one of those that I've read a few times and always lifts my spirits and puts things in perspective.


Kent White said...

A prophet is only a prophet when you like what he says. Good luck with your house, I wish I could help!

VickieG said...

Wait a minute Kent; that's your house too.
Also, there are so many handprints that I am thinking the photo was staged.
And although I love my grandchildren, I usually can't wait to get rid of the prints on the glass door. Sorry. That's just the way I am.

Charlotte said...

I'm trying hard to enjoy the kids while they're young. Funny thing- when we lived a couple months with my grandma, Elise (not quite 1.5 years old) made a huge print on her glass. She kept that print6 years at least and cried when someone, trying to help out, washed it off.

Mary said...

I promise the photo wasn't staged, except that they had my permission to play with shaving cream on the window. They mostly spread it around and drew pictures in it. I think they did the handprints just before coming inside to wash off.

Rory and Andi said...

Good thing it's shaving cream. You can use it to clean your mirrors, water faucets, carpet stains, jewelry, etc.

Debra said...

So we're supposed to say "yes" sometimes? I mean other than to the question "can I go play at a friend's house"? Uh-oh.
: )

Mindy S. (Ogden) said...

Hello! All you have to do is teach your children how to clean glass! It's just that simple. They clean their own hand prints off. I swear, parents do EVERYTHING for their children. Remember the good ol' days (back in the 1800's) when the children HAD to help to keep the house running or else . . . death. Those were the days. No pampered kids then, they actually worked.

BTW:(Best glass cleaner - 1 part water, 1 part rubbing alcohol. Mix in spray bottle and wah lah.)

Mary said...

One of the reasons I agreed to the shaving cream is because I know it's basically soap, though I had to go over the windows twice to get it all off. It's surprising how difficult dried soap is to remove.

I have taught my children to help around the house. They get chores starting at age three. The problem is me. I'm rather particular about what a finished chore looks like. So while I don't mind how the dishes are arranged in the dishwasher, I do mind seeing streaks on "clean" windows or towels folded in fourths instead of thirds. I realized I was too picky when the other adult in the household helped around the house and I felt like I needed to redo his chores. So I've tried to let that go a little and just appreciate that everyone at least accepts responsibility for the household and does what they can to help. I just have to be selective about which chores I keep to myself. :)