Is that hardened chocolate syrup smeared across the baby’s high chair tray? What happened to all of our bowls? Why is there silverware scattered along the hallway? Are those carrots stuffed down the bathroom sink drain? Oh, that’s right. I wasn’t here. Dad was in charge.

I guess that’s what I get for going to Women’s Conference.

To be fair, I came home to five very alive children sound asleep in their own beds and that’s exactly what I was fervently praying for when I stepped out the door and left my entire brood for the first time in years. Just be alive and well when I come back. That’s all I ask, just alive and well.

Next year it wouldn’t hurt to squeeze in a clean sink clause or a vacuumed living room plea in there, would it? Maybe that’s pushing the envelope. After all, the kids reported a super fantabulous time with their dad as evidenced by the bikes scattered across the driveway and the chocolate syrup trails in the kitchen.

But all dirty dishes aside, let me tell you what else I got for going to Women’s Conference. It was my privilege to soak in thought provoking messages prepared by admirable, inspired women. You know that feeling when you walk out of Relief Society gushing with a newfound determination to be better and it was presented in such a way so you couldn’t be more excited about it? It’s like that but every two hours. Two days of that kind of energized soul searching is about all anyone can take before their “A Better Me” to-do list grows too long to conquer. All the same, I wished I could have gone to each presentation instead of having to choose, so I’ll be happy when BYUTV rebroadcasts the conference’s greatest hits this summer.

The other thing I got for going to Women’s Conference is I got to connect with so many of the amazing women in my own family. My mother and sister, my aunts, my cousins and their grown daughters– all beautiful women of strength and character, each one accomplished in her own right, were there! We’re stretched out all over the country so we don’t get to see each other often, so it was an absolute treat for us to tromp around one campus together, and for a few wonderful hours, one room. (We shut down the Skyroom. They actually had to send the manager out to ask us to leave…sorry about that, but it was just too hard to break up the party. You understand.)

So between the uplifting messages, the loads of cousin chats and hugs, and the Skyroom’s carrot cake (aMAZing!) I was in a good mood to meet the disarray that greeted me when I crossed over the threshold from the garage to the kitchen at ten o’clock at night. I simply stepped over the mess, tiptoed in to kiss my slumbering babies and let my gratitude for getting to be their mother and getting to be my husband’s wife wash over me…

All the while wondering if they saved any of that chocolate syrup for me.

 

Margaret Anderson is a BYU graduate, a returned missionary, a free-lance writer, wife and the mother of five small children. Read more at www.jamsandpickles.wordpress.com