The Flood

We pulled into church fifteen minutes late today. No biggie, I’m a single parent and once in a while if I want to be late for Relief Society, I can be. It was one of those mornings where I kind of wanted to stay in bed and sleep the next seven weeks away, but we got it together and made it to church. 

As I pulled the car into a parking place, I suddenly started thinking about my calling. I teach RS the third Wednesday of every month. Hmm, I thought, what week is this?

I’m guessing you’re a little quicker than I am and have already figured out that yes, at that very moment I was supposed to be delivering a rousing lesson to the sister of my ward. On what, I  had no idea. This is one of the sad side effects of using too much bleach in your hair. 

I threw Rex into the nursery, shooed Harrison into Primary and waltzed into Relief Society with no manual, no scriptures, and no nylons. I dumped June into someone’s arms (I didn’t look to see who it was) and headed up to the front of the room. They were excited to see me until I asked if anyone had a manual I could borrow.  

Of all the lessons to come unprepared for, it was the lesson on Joseph and Emma’s letters to each other during times of separation. Let’s do a quick recap. My husband is on the other side of the country. I have not cried about this yet. Don’t misunderstand, now and then I’ll tear up a little in the car when I’m listening to country music or lost 80’s love songs, and sometimes I exhibit unstable behavior toward family and friends, but I’ve spent over three months avoiding any kind of actual tear and snot riddled break down. 

Until today. In Relief Society. In front of my entire neighborhood. 

In actuality, I have no doubt that the Spirit didn’t remind me about this lesson because it was supposed to go off exactly like it did. The lesson was good, the comments were great, the teacher’s guide on the last page of the lesson was a life saver.

But of all the lessons to teach off the cuff, this one did me in. I actually had to leave during the closing song because I was such a blubbery, snotty, lonely wreck. I went and locked myself in a bathroom stall and had words with a roll of toilet paper. 

And I feel great. Why haven’t any of you reminded to cry about this? I feel like I’ve lost four pounds (water weight, probably) and gained a little perspective. Crying is so underrated.


  1. I’m so sorry! I think I would freak out and panic. But, I’m glad it was worth it.

  2. I just stumbled across your site. I saw the warning about comments so I thought I’d leave one *winks* Anyway, on to the entry… I can only imagine how you felt. I had one experience where I actually stepped outside and wept like a baby for a bit. It’s amazing how when you TRY to hold it in all the sudden it comes spewing out like an infant that has been bounced one too many times… and just like said baby you usually feel a heck of a lot better afterward.

  3. Wow. I teach RS the 2nd week & I’ve been terrified of doing this very thing (the forgetting part.) I’m glad you had a good cry & feel great. Indeed, the perfect lesson to set you off all right.

  4. It was bound to happen sooner or later. And yes, I’m sure it was good for you.

    If I could come over and hang out I would.

  5. Love that closing line! Great post. I’m going to try that next time I need to lose some weight. 😉

  6. Salami and crying! You should really be writing for weight watchers, girl!

  7. Every time I come to your blog I cry and feel sorry for you. Especially last time with your George Clooney post, yuck! But today you made me envy you. You’re so lucky you get to give lessons to adults that make smart comments. When I’m giving the nursery lesson the only comments I get are about spiderman and earwigs.

  8. When my husband was gone, there were times when a good cry was the only thing that actually made me feel better…as strange as that sounds.

  9. annie valentine says:

    Mary, I really don’t want you to feel sorry for me! Well, maybe a little. In a funny sort of way. Funny sorry. Kind of like earwigs are funny ugly.

  10. Wow. So I may have been a bit hormonally weepy lately, but not in front of my entire RS…. I’m kind of glad about this. It’s a good thing you had that roll of toilet paper and locked stall. Also, I’m glad that you’re feeling better. I know that people usually say you should feel better after crying. I usually just feel crankier and have black mascara streaks that won’t wash off (water proof mascara, whatever.) But I’m emotionally akward.

  11. You know what, I’m the primary chorister.. and I regularly show up to primary not knowing what I’m going to do with those kids, so I wing it…and my husband stays home a lot because he’s “sick”, and you can find me often in the bathroom crying. So I know exactly what you’re going through…(if my primary president Misty is reading this, I’m totally kidding.)

  12. Annie, I did the same thing this month with the 3rd week thing . . . . I totally missed my “girl” activities because I thought it was the 2nd week last week for some reason. . .didn’t find out it was the 3rd week until yesterday when at church everyone was talking about what I’d missed. WHAT?!

    Anyway, with my husbands 7 months away from me looming (in the getting nearer future), I want you to be thankful you have had Jason for SOME of the time . . . I’m already jeolous of you! I can’t figure out what what would be worse though, little tastes of him every once and a while or just nothing at all, like I’m going to have . . . . . .

  13. As you stated you had not prepared nor cried this is exactly what GOD had planned for you. Just remember there is a reason for why and I am so proud of you even though I have never met you. You are a very strong women and this is awesome.

  14. I’m impressed!! I’ve had to teach off-the-cuff lessons before, but not on those Sundays when I’m a single mom, and fortunately, never when I’m next to the emotional breaking point. (I don’t sound spiritual when I sob before the group, I sound like a hoarse walrus. Everyone would be stifling giggles rather than feeling the Spirit.)

  15. Oh wow-props to being able to teach like that!! I’m glad it went well. And doesn’t it feel kinda good to just cry like that sometimes? Or am I the only one….?

    Also, whether those are your children’s names or their substitute names like some bloggers do, I LOVE them.

  16. Amen! Crying can be just fabulous. So glad a potentially miserable situation turned out so well as it did.

  17. annie valentine says:

    Barbara, yes those are my kids names, and I love them too. I don’t believe in fake blog names. I figure it would take a brilliant and evil mind to actually find my house and identify my children. Then they’d have to deal with Lunatic Helicopter Mom who never allows the kids in the front yard. My kids are safe.

  18. I thought you were just acting tough when you said you hadn’t cried! Of course you need to cry! Get your weep on baby!

  19. This is my idea of a horror movie. No way could I have actually gotten through a lesson off the cuff–especially under those circumstances. Wow.