June, my darling, difficult little June Bug has surprised me so much lately. It’s like the dragon scales are all falling away and I’m realizing there’s a really lovely little unicorn under there.
She was baptized over Christmas and I don’t think I’ve ever known a child to take it so intensely and feel the effect so completely.
She’s no angel but boy, the girl gets it.
Her first fast Sunday was December. We Mormons fast on the first Sunday of each month. I always remember fast Sunday and in our house it’s a forced fast once you’re baptized because we believe starvation is good for the soul. It always comes with a gentle lecture and a monthly family discussion on what we’re each going to fast about.
Rex absolutely hates it.
I don’t make the littles go for a full day, just until 2 pm. That’s a long time when you’re a kid but they’re pretty good about it, even Rex.
For whatever reason I totally spaced June’s first fast Sunday last month. “Mom,” she said waking me up at 7 am. “I’ve decided what I’m fasting for today!” I was mostly asleep but slowly realized that we had totally forgotten to start a fast the night before.
“I want to fast that our family can have more peace this week, and that my friend’s dad can get a job.”
“Oh,” I said with eyes still closed. “That’s nice, I’ll fast with you. Go ahead and say a prayer for us…” then I promptly went back to sleep like a good mother.
We got home from church sometime after 2 pm and June was an absolute monsters. Gone was the bright little angel from earlier, she was hangry (hungry+angry). “June,” I said as she sat at the table and did her really loud open-mouthed wail, “You need to eat.” I threw some egos into the toaster and said a quick prayer with/for her, explaining that she’d done great and it was time to break her fast.
She would not. Stop. Crying. It wasn’t a sweet whimper, it was a full-blown yowl. By this time it was nearly three o’clock. I syrupped the waffles and tried to put a bite in her mouth. I watched as she sat there with her maw open and let the sticky food drop down her chin and into her lap, her not silent refusal to take the offered food.
So I did what any wise mother would do, I took her by the elbow and firmly steered her upstairs to her room where I really firmly shoved her onto her top bunk. Honestly, the fact that I didn’t lose my cool in my own hangry state was a miracle.
“Look,” I said, “You are welcome back to the kitchen as soon as you’re calm and ready to eat something. You’re past hungry and you may not sit downstairs and cry because it’s really upsetting the rest of us.” Then I left.
Traditionally we break our fast as a family at four o’clock. At four June came down the stairs calmly and approached me at the couch. I was hungry and irritable but allowed her to enter my space with only a little glare.
“Mom,” she said, “I know why I was so upset earlier.”
This was a change of pace. I looked up, “Really? Please, tell me why you were so upset.” It was snarky, I didn’t care too much about what she was going to say.
“When I went up to my room I prayed about it and the Holy Ghost helped me know why I was crying and didn’t want to eat. It’s because our family really needs peace, and my friend’s dad really needs a job, so the Holy Ghost was trying to tell me that I needed to not eat and do a full fast with you and Dad…That’s why.”
It was the last thing I expected to hear from her and it humbled me. Kids, they teach us so much.