Our Candidate of Choice
by Terri Bonin
One ominous evening at dinner my husband announced that he felt called to run for a political office. I listened intently…then made my case.
“We are in the middle of raising ten kids!!” I protested trying to stifle the whine in my voice. My disheveled hair combined with the snot on my shirt from one of the toddlers reflected my inward tired that evening, but my husband trudged on. He knew that my response would be, “Now? Please, not now!!!” and that is precisely why he wisely made his announcement at the family dinner table—our safety zone.
The older kids burst into conversation. The little ones dribbled food onto their clothes as their attention turned from careful eating to the energetic discussion at hand. Listening to the excitement bounding around the table, I wiped the flour off my arm and wondered how I would juggle everything on my proverbial plate AND help my husband get elected.–but I heard his heart and knew that my man needed our full support, approval, and help.
Whole-heartedly the kids and I agreed to be his hardest workers and best cheerleaders.
I realized this meant eight weeks of…
…looking our very best in every public setting. This is quite a feat for a large, fast-moving family with a laid-back mama. I am the kind of mom that doesn’t mind if child number seven dons two different shoes, I’m just thankful her feet are covered. It neither ruffles my feathers when one of my little ones is completely mix-matched. Safe and serene, not clean and cute are my priorities, but the latter would have to usurp the former for at least two months. This was going to be a challenge.
Picking up the phone I dialed my parents in order to make the exciting announcement. Our whole family will run the campaign I explained. Immediately they began noodling ways to help us… albeit long distance. Forever creative Mimi and Poppy designed and prepared a gift for the family that would prove to be an important part of our campaign–one that would cause people to stop and take notice. One that would make voters ask questions. After the grandparents finished their handy work the gift was wrapped, sealed with mailing tape, and popped in the mail.
When the package arrived, the kids and I cut it open with great excitement. Inside laid a stack of crisp white t-shirts with Vote for My Daddy appliquéd on the back. A shirt for each child…a perfect campaigning tool.
The Vote for My Daddy part of the shirt was ironed on and delicately attached to the back of the white shirts. Do you see the two-fold problem?
White shirt…and delicately attached.
It was going to be virtually impossible to keep the shirts white over eight weeks and a disaster to wash them with the delicately ironed-on appliqué. We had eight weeks to advertise our candidate of choice. These shirts would be worn EVERYWHERE and my experience reminded me that if we washed these babies, the shirts would say V—t—F—D—y…
If we were lucky.
So I was looking at eight weeks of stinky kids.
I hand-washed, and laid flat to dry, the shirts a few times when I thought they were going to get up and walk out of the house on their own. Finally, when the campaign was over, I had the great idea of hosting a bonfire with these overworn, no longer crisp and white, stinky campaign clothes… but sentiment kept me from lighting the fire. I finally washed and dried them and sure enough the homemade Vote for My Daddy part of the shirt crinkled and cracked from the heat of the drier, but those shirts are still beloved to me. They hold precious memories that make them hard to toss. I guess the overworn pullovers will stay folded and tucked away in my closet until my next cleaning frenzy when they will finally get pitched.
The moral of this story is you can do anything God calls you to do but hopefully not have to wear white unless you’ve graduated to heaven and suited up in your heavenly white robe leaving the dust behind on the earth!