If you follow Smockity Frocks on Facebook, you may know that my children have been diligently preparing for our county livestock show and fair, which takes place in January each year. Livestock can be shown, but also handmade items. We always do both.
They start months in advance planning out and working on their various projects.
In the “Family Living” division, children can show quilts, canned goods, pies, knitted items, wooden crafts, welded trailers, or almost anything else you might see at an old fashioned country fair. They can be awarded blue ribbons and their item can make it to the auction on the last night of the fair if it is good enough. There, members of the community can bid on the items and buy them. Sometimes the kids make quite a bit of money for a quality piece of work.
Really, my children don’t care about the money. They just love getting to display their hard work and having people admire it.
That’s why we were all devastated when we found out that our entry into this event was denied because, when turning in the entry forms, I did not turn in w-9 forms for the children. These were required for the first time this year because a few children earn more than $600 in the auction. I had overlooked this new requirement, and the deadline had come and gone before I became aware of my mistake.
Not only would they not be able to show their handmade items, all the hard work with the goats would be lost, too. There would be no fair for us. No stock show. No ribbons. No crowds admiring their work.
My children were in a frenzy of tears and questions. I was kicking myself for not noticing the new requirement, for being so busy that I didn’t get the paperwork turned in earlier, for letting my children down. What kind of mother encourages her children to work hard for a promised reward and then allows the reward to slip from their grasp?
It seems silly now, but I was in tears myself. I prayed that God would show me a way to make up for this mistake. Then I wondered if God really cares about children participating in a county fair when there are so many larger issues in the world.
I showed up bright and early as soon as the offices were opened the next morning with warm cookies in hand. I also brought the quilt pictured above and I begged, teary eyed and voice quivering, for the county extension agent to make an exception and let us in the show with a late entry.
He was very compassionate and understanding, but explained that it was not up to him. The livestock raisers association of our county made these decisions by holding a board meeting. He then told me that this sort of thing had happened before and the board had never in its history allowed a late entry, but I was welcome to make an appeal at the next meeting.
I went home feeling worse than ever. What kind of mother…?
I explained to the kids what I had been told, and they had mixed reactions. One told me I should go to the board meeting and plead with them to let us in. After all, I had persuaded the library board to change its book check out policy by speaking at their board meeting. Another said, that would be pushy and we should just resign ourselves to not participating. The little ones cried.
I continued beating myself up. What kind of mother…?
I went back and forth arguing with myself about attending the board meeting which was to be held in a few days. I prayed some more. And wondered some more if God concerns himself with the failings of absent minded mothers.