This is a true story, unfortunately. It occurred in our family one Sunday morning and will forever go down in the annals of our family history as “The Great Fruit Loop Debacle”.
As parents, we love to wake up early on Sunday mornings and enjoy the quiet hours to ourselves. We make time to pray, meditate, write in our journals, study the scriptures, and simply enjoy the silence in our home that only exists in the wee hours of the morning.
On this Sunday morning in particular, it began a bit slower and ramped up to a crescendo that probably had our neighbors wondering if we were okay.
To properly set the stage for this story, we have to begin at the night before.
That Saturday evening was busy as could be. Our older children attended a fireside where a member of the Quorum of the Twelve was speaking. They thoroughly enjoyed the fireside and even got to go up and shake his hand, an honor neither Trisha nor I have experienced in our lives.
While the kids were at the fireside, us adults enjoyed our date night with our 9-year-old third wheel. He had an indoor soccer game at the same time as the fireside, so we watched him play, then began our date. For Christmas, I received a super cool hand-drawn map of all the high points in the USA. I wanted to get it framed, along with a couple of others things that had been sitting in my shop collecting dust for a couple of years, so we ran to the store to see if we could find a frame for it. After frame shopping and a couple of other errands, we eventually got home after 9 PM and were tired! (I’m getting old — sue me.)
Our older kids, being the teenagers they are, felt they needed to stay out until curfew, and of course they had to be at a friend’s house that is a 30-minute round trip drive from our home. Since we have their curfew set at 11 PM, that meant that either Trisha or I had to run into town again to drive them back.
And of course, being the teenagers they are, when we all get home they are “not tired”; thus they don’t want to go to bed, so they spend all sorts of time texting their friends, playing phone games, and listening to music. They finally get into bed and go to sleep after midnight.
Okay — so back to our quiet Sunday mornings. Our church services start at 10:30, and we like to enjoy the prelude music and quiet visits with friends, so we tend to arrive at church about 20 minutes early. Trisha and I still got up early. Not as early as normal, but still a few hours before our services. We enjoyed all the same pleasures those quiet Sunday mornings provide and were looking forward to a great, relaxing, and spiritual Sabbath.
We woke the children up at about 8:45 AM, giving them over an hour and a half to wake up, eat breakfast, and get ready for church. We continued about our morning and by 9:15 realized that our oldest twin boys were not awake yet. Another wake-up call is made, and we continue our own preparations for the day.
9:45 rolls around and still no sign of them, so we call their phones and tell them they’re running out of time.
10:00, still no sign.
10:10, our oldest is awake and dressed, but needs help doing his hair. No sign of twin #2.
10:15, we are ready to leave, and our oldest boy decides to pour himself a giant bowl of Fruit Loops. As he is pouring, we tell him, “No, we have to leave right now. You don’t have time to eat!”. Him: “We don’t have to be so early! I have plenty of time!” Us: “No, you don’t! If you wanted to eat breakfast, you should have got up at 8:45 when we first woke you up!” Him: “It’s fine. I have time.” (He’s still pouring cereal at this point…) Us: “No. We are leaving right now!” Him: “But I’m hungry! Why do we even have to go so early?”
10:18, the conversation with twin #1 continues as we walk out the door to the car. I don’t know what was going through the heads of our younger two. Hopefully it was thoughts about how they never want to treat their parents this way, but it was more likely, “I wonder what Minho uses to style his hair. He’s so cute!” or “I wonder how I can convince mom and dad to give me extra screen time today.” Still no sign of the younger twin.
10:20, we are sitting in the car when twin #1 walks out into the garage, carrying his bowl of Fruit Loops, still overflowing because heaven forbid you don’t make 150% use of your bowl. He climbs into the car and I tell him, “you’re going to spill that all over yourself”. We get word that twin #2 is dressed and almost ready.
10:21, twin #1 spills the Fruit Loops all over himself and the seat in the car. He sets the bowl between the front seats and runs inside to change his clothes. Trisha has to take the bowl inside.
10:23, twin #2 emerges and gets in the car.
10:24, twin #1 re-emerges and gets in the car. As we drive away, Trisha and I express our frustration with them for not waking up on time and having enough time to prepare for the day. Our oldest responds with some very snarky and rude comments.
10:25, I stop the car and ask him to get out. He refuses, and all his siblings get mad at me for making them late for church. I ask again for him to get out and he refuses.
10:26, Trisha gets out of the car and starts walking to church, while I sit with the kids and just fume as we continue to church.
10:28, we arrive at our building and take a seat in the back since our typical spot doesn’t have enough seats left for our whole family.
10:35, Trisha walks in a few minutes late and sits in our spot, and our youngest goes to join her.
That experience set the tone for the rest of the day. It was really hard to have that “great, relaxing, spiritual Sabbath” I was hoping for after that kind of morning. I think my brain finally got out of the fight or flight state late in the afternoon before dinner.
What do I learn from this? That teenagers are teenagers, and they only care about themselves. Oh yes, mine have moments where they will be helpful, respectful, and even empathetic; but those are only small, short glimpses of who I know they can become. Right now, I feel like I just need to hunker down and ride out these teenage years, doing my best to keep them on course and guide them to becoming their best selves.
Do you have any great stories that are forever etched in your own family lore? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!