Growing up in a large family, the memories of everyone getting ready to go someplace are very, well, memorable.
My mom, a wonderful mother of 12 kids was laid back and fun. Organization and time management were NOT on her top 5 most important things. However, she did have some very specific wishes and rules. One of them being that on Sunday we must always wear “Sunday” socks and shoes.
Back in the day (you know, the 80’s), there was still a cultural expectation to dress your best when going to church. Now, unless you’re traditional and/or a formal church goer, it seems that dressing up is mostly optional.
Our family’s clothes budget was pretty tight so the reality of “prettying” up all 12 of us on Sunday morning to attend church was kind of hilarious.
Even though our family was kind of weird and non-cultural, ie; homeschooling in the 80’s, having 12 kids, and at one point our family vehicle was a 1958 school bus, etc., we sometimes would actually try to fit in. Go figure.
Yes, there’s the family vehicle… that I would drive to the store when I was 16 yrs. old. I got looks alright. Not the kind I had hoped for.
Go ahead and visualize a TON of people living in a home that was no larger than 1300 sq. ft and flying around trying to get ready for church…..
Early Sunday morning rolls around and the exuberant voice of mom is waking up all of us sleeping children. As I slowly open my eyes and attempt to get Ginger’s, Rachel’s, Jasmine’s and Michelle’s extremities off of my face and body (okay, I didn’t actually share a bed with all of them…or wait, did I?) I roll out of bed, only to step on Jesse and Luke’s matchbox car collection that of course wasn’t put away the night before.
We all head to the dining area and instead of making Sunday morning breakfast a really simple fare, we delve into a hot, syrupy, homemade breakfast of flap jacks and eggs. Mom and Becky (the eldest) must’ve worked on that.
Sitting at our looooong table together usually consisted of chatter and laughter and many a flying utensil. After talking, eating heartily and having a couple of milk spills from the toddlers, we realize that “Oh my! We have to leave to go to church soon!”
As if that was a totally new concept.
Family meal clean up took place. We all fit tightly into our galley kitchen, bumping elbows, talking about something that had happened the night before, while Mom and the toddlers are going back and forth through the kitchen to the laundry area trying to find 1,000 articles of misplaced clothing, I get a little irritated because Becky keeps bringing more dishes from the table for me to wash and I thought we were just about done.
Food put away, dishes finished, counters wiped, floor probably not swept, we all rush back to our bedrooms to find some sort of “fancy” clothes to wear.
You’d think this was the sort of thing you’d plan ahead for. You know, having clothes set out neatly the night before. Um, no. NSM.
After I put on a dress I looked around and could only find one of my shoes so I head to the back yard to see if I left it outside the day before. Yup, there it was.
Slip them on, brush my hair that seemed to feel a bit sticky, clean my teeth with a toothbrush that was probably used by 3 others already, and bam! I’m ready to go.
“Leilani, you have to find your Sunday shoes! And those socks! No, no, go get your Sunday socks”, says Mom.
Like really? As if my attire was even worthy of better shoes. And what on earth were “Sunday” shoes and socks? Well, my mom had dubbed the socks that had that little ruffle along the folded edge and those plastic-like mary jane style shoes that were shiny black or white to be “Sunday” socks and shoes and they must be found and worn. They made all the difference.
As I search the toy box, the sock box (the box that we threw all unmatched socks in. It was a big one), bathroom closet, the laundry room and under the couch, I hear Jesse, my brother, having some sort of temper tantrum; which isn’t unusual for him. My parents are dealing with him while Cosette is still in the shower and Becky is burning her bangs with the curling iron.
Some of the kids aren’t taking this whole “get ready to go to church” thing very seriously. You’ve got the oldest 4 that realize they must get ready to go. The middle 4 seem to feel it’s time to ride a bicycle or play house, and then you have the youngest ones who are pooping in diapers and bauling because they have to get their nose wiped or whatever.
All of a sudden I hear my mom’s voice ringing loud and clear from her bedroom ” I CAN’T FIND MY SKIRT!” Why would we know where HER skirt is?
Oh, maybe it’s that one I gave away because it was lying next to the giveaway clothes bag, or possibly Krista used it as a tent covering when she was building her fort yesterday, or was it Becky who took it from the clean pile of laundry because she thought it was the dirty pile of laundry and rewashed it? (Poor mom. We were always messing with her belongings.)
*Finally!* I found my missing Sunday socks and shoes!!
I slip on those beauties, my mom decided to wear something other than her long lost skirt, Cosette is put together like usual, Becky’s bangs looked horrid, Michelle was fairly up to par, and somehow all the younger ones were dressed and in their Sunday best and Dad was patiently waiting for us all in the family vehicle…. probably listening to the “oldies” (how un-spiritual of him).
If you were to be the last one out the door you’d take a backward glance into the house and think “Oh my word. What happened in this place?”
Well, we’d clean that all up when we returned from church. And we better do it quickly because the Smiths or the Peines or the pastor’s family would be coming over for lunch.
With all 12 of us we could make a mess like nobody else, but we could clean it up in a jiffy, so mom was never too concerned about the tornado like appearance.
Those days were special. And so are my mom and dad.