Have they handed out Mother-of-the-Year awards yet?

So there's still time for me to throw my hat in the ring?


Questions will be asked, inquires made of my qualifications for Mother-of-the-Year.

I'm sure there will be a vetting process of sorts - I've prepared for this my whole life.

I can imagine the interview would go something like this:

*I walk into an almost empty auditorium, empty except for the long white table at the back

*behind the table sits a panel of accomplished Mother-of-the-Year judges. 

*they motion me forward

*I walk gracefully towards them, rubbing the lipstick off my teeth

*I stand in front of them dressed in my best "mom jeans" and quilted vest. 

*They greet me, indicating that they've read over my application and are impressed

*someone asks me: "sooo would your kids agree that you are Mother-of-the year?" 

*I refrain from shouting "ha! they better agree...those little punks!"

*Instead, I stay composed and offer that there are plenty of evidences available 
that I am truly Mother-of-the-Year...

At least six:

EXHIBIT A: A little while back when Brett was out on a date/dance at the High school, I got a text from him asking me to run him some deodorant. And so I did, for the sake of everyone standing near him...I did (I threw in some breath mints and a mirror too)
When he wouldn't answer my texts, I thought about walking into the dance and finding Brett to hand him the deodorant directly......buuuuut I thought against it when I remembered this: "Stalker Mom" 

Instead I placed his grooming supplies in a strategic place just outside of the dance, 
and texted him the info. 

  See! I am a good mom. 

EXHIBIT B: I allowed River to get her ears pierced one year ahead of the master plan. I even convinced Dean to the idea promising him that River would remain our darling, innocent little girl.

Yep, no diva here.   See! I am a good mom.

EXHIBIT C: For once I actually remembered Pajama dress up day at the school.
 (Even if it was a day early)

But hey, I obliged Kal by running him some normal pants to the school 
(after several desperate phone calls from the poor kid) 
The point is, the haircut I gave him looked good and that's all that mattered. 
See! I am a good mom. 

EXHIBIT D: I color coordinate all the candy filled Easter eggs and baskets and hide them according to age and difficulty on Easter morning...I also wrap all the little tubes of Chapstick, pencils, and packs of gum for the stocking stuffers on Christmas.
All done with my sanity mostly, somewhat, kinda, hardly partially in tact.
See! I am a good mom.

EXHIBIT E: I recently stood on the roof of our house taking individual pictures of Lauren and waited (on the roof and waving to the passerby's) in between her outfit changes to take a series of pictures for Lauren's student council poster.

Yep, nothing extremely creepy about this at all!   See! I am a good mom.

EXHIBIT F: Brett called during the first snow storm of the year to say that he had a flat tire... and he ran out of gas and he pulled over into a huge snow bank and he was stuck and he ran the battery down listening to music while he waited for us to come and help . . . . .

I convinced Dean NOT to send Brett off to boarding school.   See! I'm a good mom.

*And then I will pause...stare off distantly...lost in thought 

*the judges will watch and wait while elevator music plays softy somewhere overhead 

My thoughts are of Christmas.
Christmas 2013

I have thought about this Christmas for a long time - 

I have wanted this Christmas to be perfect.

This Christmas was likely going to be Brett's last christmas of his youth.
Next year at this time he will be somewhere else -  

After graduation, Brett plans to serve a 2 year LDS MISSION

This year seemed to be my last chance, one more shot at greatness.

At the beginning of the month, I asked Brett to tell me some of his favorite things about Christmas, (secretly vowing to fulfill every item.) 

I haven't cared before...but for some reason this year I care.

Brett mentioned a few favorites;
*Christmas lights hung up around the house
*family parties and Nativity 
*he said he wanted a real tree, not fake one this year
*a visit to Temple Square as a family
*and he wished for snow - 
And then he said "...oh yeah Mom, make sure the Elf on a Shelf, Winki shows up again this year-
that was a lot of fun for the kids last year!" 

We got right into the Christmas season with all intentions in the world of making this 
the best Christmas ever! 

We found a cut-yer-own Christmas tree place and dedicated an entire day to walking around, looking for that perfect tree...

...and getting on each-other's nerves and ruining school shoes and arguing and complaining...
and really connecting together as a family.

We let Brett pick the tree. Because we wanted things to be "perfect."

he did good!

This is me closing my eyes and pointing to a random tree and saying 
"just pick one right now! I'm so sick of all of you already!"

Christmas tree = check! 

(a quick string of lights around the roof of the house and...)
 = check!

(SNOW! thanks to Mother nature and reverse Global warming) 
= check! 

Cozy winter nights reading Christmas books, but mostly just for the photo-op
= check! 

A family party and Nativity complete with the appearance of the "three wise guys"
 = check!  

And that was 'bout it - I tried, really I did. 

December flew by leaving me feeling desperate.
Between sports and school and church and shopping there was just not enough hours in the day.

Brett reminded me daily about the Elf on the Shelf.
Each night before he went to bed saying; "mom is Winki going to show up tomorrow?"

He never did.

And soon we found ourselves on Christmas Eve, not having spent much time together as a family talking about the important things, or enjoying each other without a deadline to meet or a place to be.

A quick last minute Christmas Eve run to Wal-mart with all the kids and hubby certified that I had indeed failed this Christmas.  

The Christmas Eve fairies must've been shining on us, as we somehow got the
whole fam into see the  sold out movie "Frozen" -
but I spent the whole movie texting Brett telling him to stop snapchatting.

We redeemed the night with our traditional candle light Jerusalem feast.

Costco appetizers are the usual fare in old Jerusalem, right?  

I hated to hurry things along, but I had a long night ahead of me. 

Christmas Eve they all slept together crammed in Lauren's room. 
And I wish I had enough self-confidence to post the picture I took of all my sleeping children sprawled out on each other at 4:00 a.m. in my teenage daughter's messy room.  But I don't.

Dean and I stayed up all night, literally.
And as I unplugged the tree just before going to bed, I felt blessed and overwhelmed and humbled.  

I left a note at the bottom of the stairs insuring Dean and I 
at least two hours of sleep... hoping they would obey. 

Christmas morning was great as it always is. 

The stress and worry seem to melt away. 

The kids were happy and content, for a few hours at least. 

Christmas this year looked a lot like this...
and this...

With a little bit of this...

And a whole lot of this...

and eventually this happened...

Wade took one for the team as the designated "sickie" on Christmas night. 

And at the end of the night things looked like this...

but I couldn't help but think that...

Next year - things will probably look a lot like this...                                           

So I ask myself,

Was this year enough?

Has eighteen years of Christmas mornings been enough?

And my heart is heavy, because I know the answer.

*Still deep in thought, I recall my most favorite Christmas morning of my youth;
It ironically was the Christmas before my older brother Wes left on his mission. 

I grew up in a family of seven children. Just like my own. 

My parents had planned that year for us to go to Disneyland for Christmas.

Not a five day hopper pass, with fast passes and 3D this or that. 
Nope, just one day, one park - Disneyland old school. 
A big deal for sure! 

We left late from Spanish Fork - driving in our Chevy van loaded up with kids and provisions from home, and arrived in Las Vegas late Christmas Eve.

My parents got us settled in some cheap hotel just off the strip. 

We were told that our Christmas present that year would only be the Dland-trip,
and we were all just fine with that. 

None of us had a single expectation for Christmas morning.
I can't remember all the details, but do remember falling asleep Christmas Eve 1989 in the tiny hotel room, sharing the bed with at least five other siblings and wondering what Christmas in a hotel room would be like. 

I woke then next morning pleasantly surprised to see a few small gifts and our Christmas stockings nicely placed next to the bolted down TV on the dresser. 

My Dad started handing out the meager gifts.

"here you go Wes" - - we watched as he opened a pack of Vienna sausages
"and to you Brookie" - - her own box of cereal
"to Johnny" - - a bag of oranges
"and for you Hil" - - a small jar of pickles

Ha! a jar of pickles?! 
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

A quirky, silly gift.

I was a tiny bit dismayed, yet at the same time strangely thrilled.

I even remember trading goods with my brothers on our way to So Cal.

"Hey Hil, I'll give you two of my ketchup packets for one of your pickles"

I'm sure I received a few other gifts that morning, 
but I'll never forget owning my own jar of pickles.

*Why was that year spent in a hotel room, away from home, 
with nothing perfect about it - why was it... so... perfect? 

This year was far from perfect.

The problem is explained in this simple equation:
expectations + reality = disappointment

~ ~ ~

*I snap back to the auditorium, remembering that I'm standing in front of the judges.

*one judge speaks into the microphone - 
"Mrs. Roberts, it all looks very promising, we just have one more question..."

*feeling confident I say, "yes go ahead!"

*"this year...did your...Elf on a Shelf...visit your children...each morning?"


*more silence

*the judge taps the microphone, "Mrs. Roberts we need your answer -"

*my voice shakes as I respond " - I didn't-"

*a random cough from the back of the room does little to ease the tension

*the judge:"uh pardon? please speak into the microphone"

*I clear my throat, "I...uh... didn't have time"

*hushed whispers and stern glances in my direction

*the judge speaks again:
"Mrs. Roberts thank you - we have nothing further..."

* I walk out of the interview, my head low, my Mother-of-the Year chances shot -

*I undo the top button on my mom jeans, and rub off my dollar store lip stick. 

*If only, I say to myself - 
If only...

*fist in the air,  DARN YOU ELF ON THE SHELF!!

well, I guess there's always next year...  oh wait - 
"...and disappointment to all and to all a goodnight!" 


Catherine Faux said…
I love following your blog. Your posts are hilarious and the photos great!
Laraine H. said…
I must say I think your Christmas looked fabulous. Expectations can really get in the way, don't you think. NO worries, you are great:)

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