Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sometimes this is hard

Motherhood.  It's never been for the faint of heart.  Probably never will be.

Yet, here I am.  (And I think my heart is a little faint.)

There are as many ways for children to struggle as there are children in the world.  Sometimes their struggles are physical--health related.  Sometimes they're social, sometimes they're emotional.  It's just always something.

We shoulder what we can but we also have to sit by and watch them struggle and grow too.  It's part of the job.  It's nice to have siblings to help.  I get strength from my own brothers and sisters and I am grateful my kids have each other.

Recently when Mark was having a hard time, Emma said, "Who do you need me to kill?"

And you should have seen the look in her eye.  She meant business.  She can argue with Mark until the end of time--and she probably will--but that girl has his back.  My takeaway from all of this is don't mess with Emma's brothers.  They are both taller than she is now but I wouldn't want to cross her.  She can be...fierce.

Often parenting is instructive to me to help me understand more about my relationship with my Heavenly Parents.  When my kids need me, when they are in distress, my reaction is to spring into action.  I want to help them.  I can't or wouldn't necessarily want to immediately fix everything but I do want to help.  I want them to know I love them.

I know our Heavenly Father feels the same way.  When we need Him, when we are in distress, I know He wants to help us.  He doesn't take away everything we're struggling with because we need to learn.  We need resistance training in all of its many forms.  But when I think about how much I love my own children in their struggles, it brings me comfort to know that Heavenly Father loves them too.  And me.

We're all going to be OK.

(And I don't think Emma needs to kill anyone.)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Tiny notes

Dear Homemade Sign Maker on 1100 N.,

I saw your latest offering, "Go fast.  Kids are replaceable."  If you were going for passive aggressive, you nailed it.  It was spray painted on the side of a washing machine.  If you were going for tacky, you nailed it.


Dear Church Meeting that Starts at 7:00 AM,

I don't like you.  You are deadening my soul.  My dad leaves for his church meetings at something like 5:00 AM.  I know I'm a wimp. But still.  7:00 when it is cold and dark is not my idea of a good time.


Dear Braeden,

Thank you for the surprise handwritten letter.  It was shocking because I know how much you dislike writing and how hard the process is for you.  Written in your own wonky handwriting with your wobbly spelling, it is a treasure.


Dear The Intern,

You were a great movie.  I keep thinking about you.


Dear Monday Morning,

Knowing I will get a missionary email this morning makes everything all right.


Friday, November 20, 2015

It's a good day to have a good day

1- Emma's coming home for lunch today.

2- It's pouring rain but we got a new elliptical runner so I can exercise inside.  With Netflix.

3-We decided a good nickname for the elliptical runner is the ER.  So then we can say, "I'm going to the ER," and people will pay attention.

4- The night before it was delivered I enlisted Mark's help to move furniture in the basement.  He was eager to help but he said, "Wait.  We'll go downstairs together.  It seems more intense."

5- That kid....

6- Speaking of Mark, his scout campout was cancelled tonight.  And I'm glad.

7- As of last night, my Christmas shopping is done.  I love getting done early early and then enjoying the season.

8-Our across the street neighbor is coming home today!  He's been deployed in Kuwait for a year.  I'm happy for their family.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


It's been on my brain lately.

Like, for the last 19 years. (Is he really almost 19?)

A few days ago, Janet and I had one of our nearly weekly several-hours-long telephone conversations.  aside: I miss living near the Jorgensens.  I miss hanging out at their house and eating Janet's always amazing cooking.  I miss having them over to our house.  I miss Emma and Freja disappearing to go talk about Emma and Freja things, I miss our boys (most of which have flown the coop...sniff) playing games together or laughing at something very quirky.  I miss Mark rocketing between trying to join in with the older boys and doing sweet Britta's and Inge's bidding because those girls captured his heart a long time ago.  I miss Adam and Eric and Janet and me.  Sometimes our conversations would intersect and sometimes they'd be parallel but there was always a lot of talking.

And I'm very grateful that Janet and I still have that.  In the absence of the rest, it is comforting and supremely satisfying to still be able to talk.  We talk mostly about motherhood.  We confess our fears and celebrate our successes.  We seek advice and understanding and empathy from each other.  (The irony of it is that while we are talking, I'm sort of abandoning my mothering post....)

One thing we've learned as we've journeyed along this motherhood trail, motherhood doesn't necessarily get any easier.  We know people told us that all along (for example, my mother:  the bigger they get, the bigger their troubles get).  We sort of believed people all along, but not really.

Some things are easier as they get older.  Emma can drive herself and she keeps track of her own schedule. (When I was on the phone with Janet, I had to speedily pull the plug on the conversation when I realized the time because it was past time for  Emma's voice lesson.  I hurried downstairs to tell her and she, of course, had already gone to her voice lesson.)

Some things aren't.  There are worries and Big Decisions and troubles that can't be fixed easily.

I told Janet about a woman I serve with in Young Women.  Her daughter just had a new baby and she's been worn ragged helping her daughter.   She has been taking the night shift, holding and caring for the baby so her daughter can sleep.  Then she goes to work every day.  After several days of that she was finally getting a night off when she got a distress call from the daughter.  She went back to help.

Of course she did.

Yesterday morning I was changing bed sheets around here and listening to Elder Holland's talk from the last conference, Behold Thy Mother.

I love that talk.  It made me think how grateful I am to be a mother.  It is an honor to be in the trenches with women I admire, side by side doing our best for our children.  It made me think of my own mother.  She has always been a force to be reckoned with.  Her strong will and level of commitment to motherhood and now grandmotherhood is something to behold.  It made me think of my friend, mothering her grown daughter in her hour (hours) of need.
No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child.
Jeffrey R. Holland

I aspire to mother better.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Lunch dates

Adam and I have lunch together every week.  The day that works best for Adam is also the day that we usually hear from Braeden.  Coincidentally this week, I couldn't go to lunch on our regular day, Monday, and Braeden didn't email on his regular day either.

So we were a day late, but we both heard from Braeden and had our lunch date yesterday.

We spend the first part of each lunch reading aloud to each other Braeden's emails.  I always cry.  A side effect of portioning part of my heart away to Virginia is that I cry at the drop of a hat.  It won't even be anything that significant in Braeden's emails and my eyes will start filling with tears.  (The trials of the emotionally unbalanced!)  Adam patiently waits for me to regain composure.

"Don't worry," he said yesterday when the inevitable tears surfaced, "we won't come back here for twelve weeks."

We've created sort of a rotation of restaurants and the good news is that they won't see the same crying woman from week to week.  Maybe they'll forget about me in the interim?

After we finish reading Braeden's emails to each other, we discuss.  We decide that he's doing OK.  We marvel at how much harder it is to have him gone than we even thought it would be.  We talk about how glad we are he is having this experience.

There is nothing quite so wonderful as being thoroughly understood by someone who is experiencing the same thing you are experiencing.

Then we move on to other topics.  We talk about our other children.  We talk about upcoming plans.  We talk about the food and decor of the restaurant and whether it's a keeper for the rotation.  We talk about current events, politics, religion, history.  We talk.

Yesterday at one point, sitting across the table from Adam and listening to him, I thought, Wow, he is so smart!  That was followed by the thought, and he's mine.

I don't know how I got so lucky.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Gratitude and scave

I read and really loved the book Room by Emma Donaghue (I'll tell you more about it later in a book post).  One bit of it shone from the page and I snapped a picture of it so I could remember.  (So much easier than finding pen and paper to copy it down.)

My heart is heavy watching news reports about the terrorist attacks in Paris.  The news showed one person after another declaring they were going to forge on.  They weren't going to let terrorists curtail their lives.

They are scave.

And I admire them.

My reaction is to want to blow up the world and get all the bad people and Adam kindly and patiently tells me why that's a bad idea.

Sometimes life just feels heavy and dark.  When my children are struggling (or on the other side of the country), when the world is a violent and confused place, when sleep is illusive, I start to feel a little downcast.

Gratitude is always a good antidote to gloom though.  I love Thanksgiving for the reminder it gives me to be grateful.

I am thankful for light in the darkness, light in all its wonderful forms.

I'm thankful for snow falling on sagebrush out my window yesterday morning.

The snow was lovely and kindly made everything soft looking but also didn't build up on the roads.  They were just wet.

I'm grateful for good food and good music and a good husband (who convinces me not to blow up the world).  I'm grateful for the hope and light the gospel of Jesus Christ brings to my life.  I'm grateful for the transformative way baking bread changes a house to a home.

And I'm grateful my mom taught me how to make bread.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Things I love about Emma

1- Friday lunch.  We have started a new tradition.  She comes home for lunch on Friday and we chat.  It's just simple but I love having her all to myself for about an hour.

2- Her resilience.  Her voice is broken.  We don't know why.  We have a doctor appointment today and hope to get some answers.  Because of that, her musical audition was a bust.  It was devastating and then she talked to the director and he asked her to be assistant director, which thrilled her.  Resilience is one of the traits I want for my children...because life can be rocky.

3- Her amazing work ethic.  As the assistant director, she works very hard and is 100% reliable.  The other day I saw an email she sent the director--at 5:39 AM.  She was asking about a mistake she saw on the schedule.  And she was right.

4-She is almost always right.

5-Her writing.  She writes Braeden every night and then sends it to him every week.  I may or may not sneak into her room occasionally to read what she is writing.  (She leaves it right on her dresser, I don't think she minds.) It always makes my day.

6-When Emma wants something to happen, it usually does.  She got in her head that she wanted to make gumbo and beignets and mint juleps.  We had an exhaustive grocery store trip Saturday looking for all the sundry ingredients.  Just FYI, filĂ© powder is not easy to find.  And just try to convince Emma she doesn't need it.  We had a lovely Sunday New Orleans inspired dinner though.

All of these are good reminders because also Saturday, we discovered a big scrape on the side of Emma's car where she misjudged the distance pulling into a parking spot.

Her driving may leave something to be desired, but I do love that girl.


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