Sunday, November 4, 2007

Stake "Torture" Conference

Our Stake Conference was today. Also known as the dreaded day without Primary or nursery for those of you who speak in LDS terms. It was a double whammy for me because Derek was out of town until this afternoon, so I was going to have to brave it alone.
Imagine it if you will. Let's put it into one of those movie preview voices. You imagine the music in the background while I narrate:
Hold onto your scriptures because here it is, the most anticipated spectacle of the year! One woman...(dramatic music inserted here and flash my face without the stress zit that popped up on my chin the other day) two children under the age of five (more dramatic music and pictures of my kids running)...face the daunting task of: Stake Conference!
They said it couldn't be done... (show pictures of people mocking) this woman barely out of her youth (I'm adding that phrase to make me feel younger here, just go with it okay.) handling these two children during a conference where adults speak for TWO FULL HOURS without stopping!!! (flashes of speakers at the pulpit).
She'd have only one opening hymn, a couple of releases and sustainings and a rest hymn to help her survive (more dramatic music). Was she up to the challenge? Who would come of conquerer--the young mother or her two, fatherless children? Coming to a theater near you!
Well, I'm happy to say that we survived the entire conference and I actually did feel the Spirit while I was there. Our stake president reminds me a lot of my last stake president in his down to earth, let's be real approach which I really like. I was really blessed to have some friends of mine, who don't have any children, come in and sit right behind me and the wife pretty much served as my nanny during the whole thing.
I really do have to wonder about the whole stake conference idea...I think it's a great idea for all of us to come together as a stake, but it's really, really difficult to have your children endure that much sitting for that long. I realize Ryanna is old enough to do okay with a fair amount of coloring books and Benadryl injected straight to her veins. Owen is not able to do it (I can't seem to get the dosage right yet...) and I am not alone in this either as I saw zillions of other parents roaming the halls with their brood trying to keep them quiet. (Before someone turns me into child protective services, I am totally joking about drugging my kids up okay?)
Even harder is the Saturday night session which my husband and I have never attended since we've lived in Arizona. In our last ward, all of our friends had small children like we do, so it wasn't fair to ask them to miss stake conference so we could go. For those with family nearby, it's was no big deal. Frankly, after serving in Young Women's in the prior ward, I don't know that I would've trusted many of the youth to watch our kids.
Seriously, can you imagine the day before microphones? Can't you just see the families? Here's a probable pioneer family discussion in preparation for attending stake conference:

Mother: June!!! Do you have the gunney sack full of treats for young Henry and Eliza?

June: Indeed I do mother. I have packed some of our tastiest smoked jerky and a whole jar of raspberry preserves with a loaf of that wonderful bread that Sis. Pierce brought us a fortnight ago. (I knew I could get the word fortnight in an entry if I wrote enough of these blog things!)

Mother: Bless you June. I think you may also want to grab some sticks and rocks that they can throw at each other to keep them entertained as well.

June: I already thought of that mother. (you'll notice in corny books written in this day and age, the children always say "mother" instead of "mom.")

Mother: I do appreciate your help with all of this. I can only hope that we don't sit next to that noisy Petersen family. They are what I'd call a lively group.

June: Yes, and have you heard? The town's all a flutter with news that her husband has left her to study abroad for a time and she'll have to care for the young things all by herself.

Mother: Well, we can only hope to set a good example for young Sis. Petersen. She does try her hardest after all.

I am still thinking of creating a petition to begin an even earlier nursery than currently exists. You know how they have CTR A and CTR B or they used to anyway. It would be Nursery A. My guidelines would be:
1. Child must be mobile ('cause before that you just have to deal with them--sorry!)
2. No biting allowed (one bite and you're gone, no fair to make other parents hate your kid)
3. Run by responsible married couples without kids (this will serve two purposes: give the parents of the child a break and make the married couple running the nursery realize how much they want a baby or how they are not yet ready to be parents--bonus either way)
All joking aside, I love church even if it is difficult with kids. I know that the only way they will be able to learn to sit quietly is if I keep giving them opportunities to do it. It's just fun to poke a little fun at my own struggle to deal with it. I am grateful though that I have my husband by my side to help out. There are special blessings for all you women that have husbands sitting on the stand.


Crazymamaof6 said...

holy cow! funny perspective here! fabulous writing as always! but i call stake conference free Sunday for a reason, and no hubby there would definitely make it so! you are a saint! way to go on that ! and glad it went well for you! I'm sure you will be blessed for your efforts!

Lara said...

We had stake conference today too. We almsot didn't go because we had an extremely late night last night striking the play.

But, we went (1/2 hour late in spite of the fact that Daylight Savings ended today)and it was one of the broadcast ones to all of southern Utah. Pres. Hinckley spoke and it was wonderful, even though I was out in the hall with Sophie for most of it.

And....well, I guess I'm just saying it's hard, but it's always worth it (as you obviously know!).

DONNA said...

I'm dreading stake conference (it's this coming weekend) only because when the phone rang, Sherm answered and said that I would be more than happy to do two huge floral arrangements for the front. What do I know about floral arrangements (other than I get roses every Sept for my anniversary)?

So, yes, I would have watched your children for two hours (even though I went through it all with three children of my own and a non-member husband)if you'll do the flowers.

Stake conference is such a great time to be spiritually edified and to see those folks that you wouldn't normally get to see. The geographic boundary for our stake takes about 1.5 hours to cross in a car going 55 mph.

I thought your blog was very well written...I feel the pain!!

Minharos said...

I love it! We had stake conference last week and I had the exact same thoughts. My 6 year old and almost 2 year old were so loud and wiggly while the family in front of me had 6 kids ranging from about 10 down to newborn twins who were all silent. It was terrible. Every time I stood up to take Atticus out I tripped over all of our stuff. We were also late and had to walk up to the front of the high school auditorium where it was held in front of our new stake presidency and Elder Dixon of the 70s who Levy knew from his mission. The whole thing was embarassing! I can't imagine doing it without Levy (I think it's rough if he helps pass the sacrament and I'm alone for he first 20 minutes of church!)Also, after serving in young womens with you (even if it was only 3 months) I can echo your fears of babysitters!

Kelli said...

Confessions of a bad Mormon wife time! Our new ward was recently split, it needed it in the worst way! Before the split we had between 500 and 600 people. Now we have between 400 and 500 people with 5 nurseries. So, when stake conference rolls around Jarom and I stay home. Our one ward takes up the chapel, over flow, and most of the cultural hall, I can't imagine stake conference, it would be a huge mess(plus I don't want to get there an hour early so I can get a padded seat, that's three hours of torture for the kids!!)! During the last stake conference I sent Jarom because they were talking about splitting the wards and I needed some info. He said that with all the kids there was such a low rumble if you sat in the back you couldn't hear anything!

You are a brave woman! If Jarom would have been out of town my internal dialog would have gone like this, "So, today is stake conference. How brave are you feeling? Oh, not very, I don't blame you. How about we stay home and make treats instead, okay!"

Lacey said...

I can't believe you braved it alone! Bravo to you!

Kjirsti said...

I like your new layout. And as always enjoyed the pictures. We had a crazy halloween in some ways too. We had bought two bags of candy thinking that would be sufficient in our little nieghborhood. But I guess I forget that Halloween is the "get as much candy as you can" night and that people go to Every neighborhood, not just their own. Anyway. We ran out in 15 minutes. So Tom, who had stopped by Costco on his way home decided to buy a bag. But by the time he got home the trick or treaters had finished with our neighborhood, so we just got a few stragglers and now we have a HUGE costco sized bag of candy bars. Shucks!

SHERI said...

I am so impressed that you went. I had an inner battle about it Sunday morning. I knew when Chris didn't go to bed until 1:30 am he wasn't gettin' up for Stake Conference. I could either fight all three of them to get up and get dressed or I could quietly get myself ready and slip out the door before anyone woke up and could stop me. I chose the later. So I actually enjoyed it. I am not sure if I would have gone by myself with my 2 kids. Good for you!

Jack and Annie said...

LOL I loved the pioneer perspective! As far as the parents in the hallways with kids...I call it "church of the hallways" and I am an avid member!LOL!

Zim Family said...

Well written and Amen. Seriously, the leaders wonder why no one comes to a Saturday night session. It always amazes me. Maybe if they provided some source of babysitting, the attendance would sky rocket. And maybe if my baby could go to some form of nursery I could actually feel there was a point in me going to church every Sunday....well, I mean, there is always a point to me going to church, but you get the idea. Regardless, you crack me up and you are so dang right!!

DONNA said...

You know, Audrey, with the Writers Guild strike going on (and probably for a while) you may have a future in some sit-com!!! Can you say, "Jay Leno, here I come!" Awesome!

SGottfredson said...

We had stake conference on Sunday and can I say I was grateful Sadie was a tad bit under the weather, so I could stay home with her. We barely make it through sacrament meeting let along an extra hour. No quiet book out there will keep her entertained. Loved your post!