massacre and middle school misery

This morning I went out to the car, opened the door, and was met by an avalanche of decimated mini candy bar wrappers.The murderer had eaten them in haste and frenzy. Of the 13 recovered corpse-wrappers, all had been torn open with some crazed animal’s teeth–a well known one-handed method for binging and driving.

I really feel for the teacher/mom who was driving my car last night. She’s obviously feeling the load of the world on her shoulder pads and was seeking creature comfort in Nestle goodness. No judgements.

I’ve learned a few things about myself through this new school year. First, I was not cut out to be a substitute teacher (last year’s job). I love coming in to work everyday, I love dressing up and the smell of school carpet and seeing my little kids in uniform and white board markers and mostly, mostly, ukuleles and high schoolers.

I don’t know how I stayed home all those years. How did I not realize that once my kids were in school I’d get a j-o-b and want to go to work? Working at David O. McKay Academy feels like a direct blessing and tender mercy for giving mommyhood all those lonely years at home while my babies were growing. I’m so very, very glad I waited. It was so worth it.

It’s also exhausting.

I am asleep by 9 pm every night, or close to it. Some nights it’s more like 8:30, and when my alarm rings at 5 am I feel like a zombie who hasn’t brushed her teeth in 47 years.

And my morning scripture study is great, it keeps me going, but it’s not always a big motivating spiritual experience. This past week pulling out spiritual parallels feels like picking lint off a sweater. Sometimes my study is like a veritable buffet, but there have bee no rootbeer floats lately, lots of lint. That’s ok.

To be honest, and please don’t tell me kid I’m writing about this, my oldest child is having a very tough year. Another move, another ward, another school. He’s been diagnosed with a severe case of Sinusitis and is going in for surgery in another week and a half. In the meantime he lives with constant migraine headaches and his whole wonderful face is swollen from the frequent sinus infections. I feel helpless to help him.

Yesterday in the car he kind of broke apart and it all spilled out. He misses his friends, he misses his teachers, he misses his band program and his ward and being able to ride bikes home with his buddies everyday. He’s prayed for help, he’s tried, but he pretty much thinks he’s Job. The man/boy is miserable.

I just listened because there were no words of encouragement to offer. Jason and I are powerless in some ways, he’s growing up and has to figure out how to make this happen on his own. Don’t get me wrong, I dumped him off at someone’s house (much to his horror and dismay) on Saturday night for games and he wanted to strangle me. But he came home with a huge smile and had a blast because really, the Lord is answering his prayers even if he can’t see it. There are friends to be had all around him.

Things don’t ever get better overnight and they always require work. Peaks and valleys, lint and rootbeer floats. I believe they will get better for him. It doesn’t matter if your family moves every two years or if you go to the same school your entire life, Middle School is miserable.

More on that later, break is over.


  1. Angela Hunter says:

    Today is my birthday and I loved opening my email and the laugh/tears you gave me. Middle School is hard, you have one more person cheering for you today. My mom always told us when we were teenagers that she wished we were five because she could fix everything then, she probably didn’t but a hug sure heals a lot of things.

    I also appreciated the root-beer floats and scripture study. Some days are like that, even in Utah.

  2. I was thinking about you and how I hadn’t read anything from you in awhile. It turns out that’s because I haven’t sat at a desktop in many moons. I’m so glad to read you are happy and moving right along. GO ANNIE! Much love friend.

  3. I love when you post! “Feeling the load of the world on her shoulder pads…” ha ha haa! And the lint/root beer floats. So great.