Saturday, April 27, 2013


I honestly didn't expect a miracle this morning, but that's exactly what I got. When Gonzalo and I awoke this morning at 7:30am, neither of us felt like getting out of bed. But we did. We had made a commitment that the Reyes family would participate in this years' annual Mormon Helping Hands. We've never participated before, mostly because we are not morning people, generally speaking. We cherish Saturday mornings as the one day a week we don't have to get out of bed if we don't want to. The Reyes kids are no different. Carissa sleeps in past ten as often as possible. Marc, who gets up for seminary at 5:30am Monday through Friday had made it very clear that he had no intention of getting up early this morning. Jarett and Brennah stayed up late Friday night which meant waking them was going to be a challenge. Even Stuart, who is normally an early riser, was out cold.

I dragged myself out of bed and pulled on my clothes. I wanted to keep sleeping. I really did, but I'd had this dream during the night that all of us, the whole family, was gathered at the park to work. In my dream, I watched Marc sign in on the register and I was shocked and ecstatic. But then I woke up and realized it was only a dream.

I went from room to room and woke each child with my most cheerful greetings. I was met with moans and groans and complaints, but to my surprise they all slowly rolled out of their beds and started to get ready. Carissa didn't complain at all. Shock of shocks. And even Marc was up and dressed in a few minutes time and kept his grumbling to a minimum. Once we were dressed we all piled into the minivan, which we hardly ever use except on the rare occasion when the Reyes family actually all need to go somewhere at the same time. And another shock, no one argued all the way to the park!

256 members of the Santa Clarita Stake showed up to volunteer to paint fences, plant shrubs and mulch trees. We all donned our bright yellow vests and got to work. Gonzalo and Stuart headed off for the shrubs since they had shovels. The rest of us grabbed our rollers and plastic trays and trudged up the hill to paint wooden fence rails. We did that for about two hours. Everyone worked happily alongside each other. Jarett, who is only 5, worked as hard as everyone else. By the time we were through, we were all covered in splotches of brown paint, but we were all smiling.

After leaving the park, we treated ourselves to a big family breakfast at IHop. We had a wonderful time, and I told the kids how proud I was of all of them for getting up so early and volunteering their time. In truth, I've rarely been so proud of them as I was today. It was the best day we'd had as a family in a very, very long time.

I wish I could say the day had a happy ending. It didn't. At least not for everyone. Stuart enjoyed a birthday party at Kaitlyn Little's. We traded our old shabby couches for an old not-so-shabby couch that belonged to Ruth Snow, and we bought Gina a birthday present. Carissa, Jarett and Brennah went with Gonzalo to Palmdale for a birthday party of Gonzalo's coworker's daughters. When everyone came back together, I think it was the end of the line. It was a long, exhausting day and it showed. Carissa and Brennah were in World War III with Carissa hurling threats and insults while Brennah shot nasty glares right back at her. Marc was cranky, Jarett was fussy, and Gonzalo was in serious pain. I was frustrated because I just simply ran out of time and didn't do half the things I needed to. We are all in bed now, thank goodness, and will sleep deeply I'm sure. But despite how the day ended, I still have to say it was the best day ever. I wish the Reyes family had more days like that.

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