With limited funds, surrounded by lots of little people on a hobby farm, I had to discover innovative ways of coping. When I relaxed, often an unusual, creative or even funny solution to a problem popped into my head. I just needed to keep everything in perspective and listen to my own inner voice as well as the whispers of the Spirit.
Of course, my family absorbed this flexible attitude when they were still young. As part of a busy household, they often had to come up with their own solutions to problems before I could get around to helping them. Six-year-old Joseph’s grade one teacher recounted this story to me. It seems that she asked her class this question,
“How would you open the garage door if there were no grown-ups around?”
A classroom of grade one children just stared blankly at her, except my Joseph. He frantically waved his hand in the air and then excitedly blurted out,
“You just stand on a milk crate, push on the upper left-hand corner of the door with a hockey stick and push hard. The door comes up a bit, you jump off the crate and crawl in.”
Joseph thought outside the box. In fact, I am sure this inspiration came straight from God because it saved me from running outside while carrying a newborn to open the garage so my other little ones could retrieve their bikes and wagons.
I had my own moments of divine inspiration as well.
When my eighth child was born, everyone was thirteen and under. The mornings could be chaotic and Joseph was the main contributor to the mayhem. He was full of energy and good humour but would express it by running up and down the kitchen in between eating, brushing his teeth, and gathering reading books, exercise sheets, and his lunch. Somehow with all this activity he never seemed to be able to get dressed.While holding newborn Anthony over my shoulder and awkwardly putting lunches together with a helper, I’d repeat over and over, as calmly as I could,
“Joseph, please put your clothes on.”
Finally, I came to my senses; there had to be an easier way to handle the morning battle. Then I spotted a crazy cartoon in a parenting magazine. On two single beds, side by side, a little boy, and girl lay on top of the covers. They were fully dressed in formal clothes with socks and shoes, and even hair clips, completely ready for a wedding the next morning. It looked so ludicrous that I laughed every time this image came to mind the rest of the week.
Then I experienced what I call a suddenly — and inspiration hit with a solution to our morning mayhem.
The pajamas Joseph wore to bed were not all that different from the colourful, soft sweat suits he wore to school. Why on earth did I not dress him in one of his school sweatsuits right after his nightly bath? It was ingenious, I thought.
After the first morning, though, I realized I had overlooked one vital article of clothing the night before. As usual, Joseph was running up and down the kitchen but. this time, I was yelling,
“Joseph, please put your socks on.”