I just want the remote. Now.

Jason is out of town for work enjoying the sunshine and laughter of California. That’s great, I’m happy for him. I love sitting around in the lovely German drizzle making chicken noodle soup and cursing my frizzy hair.

Still, the kids are older and having him gone isn’t as hard as it was three years ago. He was away all the time for work and the poor children were left with a pregnant or breastfeeding crazy woman who routinely thought she should take up bear hunting to release energy.

Jason left the same day as my parents, who arrived moments after his parents departed, and as soon as they were all finally out of the house my body…gave up. I got sick. Super sick. And of course when my girlfriend offered to come and get the kids on Sunday I gave her the ‘ole “No! I’m fine! We’re fine! Everyone’s fine! I’ve totally got this!” And then I tried not to die for 24 hours while my kids acted out chapters 1-4 of Lord of the Flies.

Monday was better but my house was in shambles. A weekend flat on my back? It had a decidedly post-frat party look about it and I spent all day long juggling laundry and voice students and play dates while trying to coral the flotsam and jetsam that appears in a house with children. Do you know how many broken crayon pieces my kids can manufacture from one little box of 24? It is astounding.

All day long I waited for my evening retreat. I’d washed four large loads of laundry and was carefully stacking the baskets upstairs behind the couch, ready for my post-bedtime television laundry attack. I thought all day about what shows I would watch. We’ve recently gotten Apple TV and I’m trying to get back into the habit of watching television at night because it’s so healthy for you. Enough with the sewing already, give me some Battlestar Galactica and we’re in business (at the top of my list after Sherlock Holmes).

By the time we got home from baseball and the kids had all practiced their music and not done their homework, I was fried. And of course, that was the time they all decided to miss Daddy and wanted me to hug them. I’m a horrible person, I know, but it’s so hard to hug a shrieking child who spent the 25 minute car ride home kicking the back of your seat. I wanted to poke her with a pin.

And so I refused to snuggle. I put the wailing girls to bed and ignored their screaming while both boys showered. I did the dishes and straightened the family room and still they screamed. I brushed my teeth and thought about reading my scriptures but knew I couldn’t concentrate because THEY WERE STILL SCREAMING.

Finally, I went to get the Apple remote from it’s sacred location (designed so it can never get lost) and it was…gone. And in that moment I knew, my wrath had been kindled and heads. Would. Roll.

You see, Harrison had spent his “homework” time watching cartoons while I taught singing lessons all afternoon. He had lost the remote and I wanted to kick his sorry little butt out of the family. I stomped and yelled at him (please don’t tell anyone, I really am a nice mother mostly) and he suggested we pray about it, so I told him to go right on ahead and pray, he was going to need it.

He did.

I was so angry and sick of listening to the girls scream and exhausted from a big day and just…you know? You know what I’m talking about, right?

“Harry,” I said after calming down considerably during our remote hunt, “Can you go up and snuggle your sisters for me? I can’t do it.” He went up and within five seconds it was silent. Twenty seconds later he came down with a smile.

“They’re fine, don’t worry about it Mom.”

We sat down on the edge of his bed and I gave him a humble apology with no excuses.

“Why don’t you say a prayer when you’re so upset?” he asked. It was like talking to my mother, so irritating.

“I don’t have the heart right now, will you pray for me?” And so he did. The sweetest little prayer ever, asking Heavenly Father to bless his tired mother who does all the work and “just wants to watch a little television.” He then reminded God that this was the second time he had asked to find the remote, so could we please speed up the process?

We found the remote in about thirty seconds. Best Mother’s Day gift ever.



  1. This might be my favorite post ever posted on any blog ever. You tell it so perfectly and honestly and funny and all things perfect. Go you, Annie!

  2. I lived so much of this post not long ago. It was complete with me telling my oldest to “pray hard, you’re gonna need it” after he’d been a real pill one day. And like you, we finally prayed together once I simmered down. Except his prayer was something more like, “and Mom needs help with her crazy.”

    My mental status that day, summed up in a few small words, and diagnosed by a seven-year-old. Nice.

  3. I relate 100% to this entire episode. You made me laugh AND cry.

  4. That was the funniest article. I’ve definitely had days like that.. if your kids know praying’s important at the times we don’t to they’ll be fine! I never thought to ask my girls to pray for me. I copy Rebecca… You made me laugh AND cry. Very touching. and honest. We all need honesty. 🙂

  5. I sympathize completely. It made me cry. This was brilliant, thank you!

  6. I think this is one of my favorite posts you have ever written. How your brain turn out such good journalism when it’s been ‘mommy-fried’ is beyond me. But Congrats! This is a genius piece of writing.

    I love Harry and his fervency for prayer (apple doesn’t fall far from the tree) and the fact that all you wanted to do was watch a little tv. Been there. Next time I will remember to send Brody in to chill the minions.

  7. clearly you’ve done a great job as his mommy. so nice!

  8. Such a sweet post, one of my favorites as well. It is such a humbling experience to learn from our kids, I’ve definitely been there and done that. Your’re a great mom, it is hard when you’ve reached your limit and there’s no one to turn to. Oh wait, there’s Harry! Tell him great job for being the man of the house!

  9. Seriously, I don’t even know what to say. Between this post and the letter to Rex’s teacher, you’ve kept me crying. You have such a way with words. I’m glad you found the remote. 🙂