Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My children and sports

The boy who loves money:

Adam, bless his heart, tries to get our kids to be more into sports.  The uphill battle is my fault.  I'm the one that didn't bring sports to the table.  (I think my brother Enoch inherited my sports quota.)

Adam used to offer Braeden a milkshake in exchange for rebounds during basketball games.

Now Mark is playing church basketball and had a different idea. "How about cash instead?"

They've come up with a system and I think Adam owes Mark $11.

The girl who is so into the arts she doesn't know where the gym is:

One night during Pippin last week, there was something sports related going on at the high school in one of the gyms.  Or maybe multiple gyms.  I don't know.  (Remember that part about how I didn't bring sports to the table?)

Emma reported that people would wander backstage (during the show!) and get uncomfortable at the sight of all the kids in costumes.  They sought Emma out, who was wearing regular clothes and regular make up. They were looking for gym B or gym C and they asked Emma to direct them.

She had no idea.  Couldn't even begin to point them the right way.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Let's talk about my sisters

There's nothing quite like sisters.  To put it simply, they have my back.  I tell them stuff I don't even need to tell because they get it.  They know.  They don't let me get away with nonsense, except when I need to get away with nonsense.

We freely tell each other when we think one of us is being straight up crazy but we would defend each other to world's end.

It's nice.

But then there's the aunt thing.

That's a benefit you don't ever really consider when you are borrowing each others' clothes and sharing secrets in high school.

It didn't occur to me that someday these tall sisters of mine would love my children and bless their lives.

Last week, the play that Emma so doggedly assisted in directing was performed.   Olivia and two of her kids (and my parents, but this isn't about my parents--you already know they're awesome) came to watch.  They didn't know a soul on the stage but they knew Emma.  Emma was glowing with excitement about the whole thing.  She hugged everyone and answered questions and asked, "Did you love it?  Did you love it?"

And they did.  But mostly, they love her and since this mattered to her, it mattered to them.

Fast forward a few days and Emma was in distress.  Emma in distress is not a common occurrence.  She didn't outright ask me for help--because I can't imagine--but using my motherly intuition, I could tell.  I helped her with a school project, which mostly included fixing her a snack and listening to her rail against her partner who had flaked and holding the strings when she needed to tie a knot for the parachute.  She was creating a contraption for an egg drop for physics class.  I also found some bubble wrap and grabbed the reins when Emma's perfectionist tendencies were threatening to derail the project.  I am the queen of Good Enough and Make It Work.  So I made it work.

I also tried to talk soothingly about all the things that were making Emma so stressed.  She wasn't sleeping well, she had so much on her plate.  Besides the play, she has two auditions on the horizon, a scene she is directing for her drama class, and her super hard class load.  I get stressed just thinking about it.  She said, "What I'm really worried about is what Cecily will wear in my scene."

Emma is directing a scene from "The Importance of Being Earnest" and she has opinions about the costuming that are as strong as her will.  And she can't find the perfect dress for Cecily.

I said, "Let me ask my sisters."

She said morosely (because that was her mood), "I don't know how that would help."

I said, "Have you met them?"

She conceded the point.

I talked to Olivia first.  She started bubbling with ideas.  She made several suggestions and led me along a path that made me consider my wedding dress.  It's kind of Victorian looking.  Emma's not sure it will fit her Cecily but we'll see.  (Emma said, "But it's your wedding dress!"  I told her I don't plan on wearing it again.)

Then I talked to Marianne.  She named some of Olivia's ideas.  She looked through her dress up dresses (both my sisters have dress up dresses).  She texted me a picture of one.  She had another idea, it was boxed up in her garage among Clarissa's things.  Marianne said, "I should have had Clarissa create a key of what is boxed up where.  Every box just has 'Clarissa's Do Not Open' written on it."

We chatted some more and Marianne promised that when Desi got home, they would have a fashion show and text me the pictures for Emma's perusal.  (Although neither Marianne or I have met the girl playing Cecily, we decided she's Desi's size.)  Then she said, "I have to go.  I'm a woman on a mission and I need to go look for that dress!"

Friday night these texts showed up:

Such a cute sweet Desi!  (In the absence of sisters, Emma's cousins are a compensation.)  Emma picked the pink floor length formal Marianne wore to a dance in the 80s.  Marianne boxed it up and sent it our way.

The message in this is very clear.  Olivia and Marianne are on Emma's side.  It's hard to not feel like you're winning when those two are on your team.

Friday, February 5, 2016


There is a woman that I know that keeps asking me for favors and I keep saying yes.  It's a resentful yes, but she doesn't know that because it's via texting.

I feel unsettled by the resentment.  I don't want to feel resentful.  Why do I begrudge these requests?

It's because this is not a reciprocal relationship.  I can't look to one thing this woman has ever done for me.  In fact, she's been sort of mean to me.  It's a lot easier for me to be kind to people that are kind to me.  I am happy to do favors for people that are happy to do favors for me.

I want to be good.  I want to have charity for others.  When I am serving people that serve me, is that charity?

No, that is basically bartering.

H. Burke Peterson said this:
Too often, charity is extended to another when his actions or conduct are acceptable to us. The exhibition of charity to another must not be dependent on his performance.
In the Bible, we find:
Charity suffereth long, and is kind. (1 Corinthians 13:4)
That's how I want to be.

This week, over dinner, Ammon gave me advice.  He is always willing to help me and give me advice and make me an end table. (Which I haven't moved into the house yet.  I'm waiting for my knee to heal so I have more mobility for such pursuits.)  When we parted ways, I said, "If you ever need advice, Ammon, you let me know."

I was just being facetious because I'm not sure what advice I could ever give Ammon.  Ammon and I have maybe a non reciprocal relationship too.  He does a lot of stuff for me and I occasionally give him a loaf of homemade bread, which seems like a small reimbursement.

I'm not sure if the mixture of enthusiastic adoration and torture he got as the youngest of six children made him this way or if he is so good in spite of us, but Ammon makes me want to be more Christ-like. 

Next time I will try to give a less resentful yes. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Compared to last year, the snow has been extravagant this year.  And I mostly really love it (I'm not holding much of a grudge toward the ice that spelled doom for my knee).  It helps that Adam's car is a champion in the snow.  It's nice to know that we won't get stranded.  It also helps that they are usually really good about plowing the roads.

I don't know who "they" are.

But I sort of wish I did, because I want to call them and ask why they didn't plow our street this week.  They did all the lower streets in Pleasant Grove nicely.  They just skipped up here, where we...have more snow.

A few days ago, I turned left on the end of our street where you have to go up a little ways before you go down.  I couldn't make it up the hill.  Too icy.  I decided to turn around and go the other way instead.

Then my van slid sideways down the street for about 20 feet.

It was a bit unsettling but not really as terrifying as it maybe should have been.  I just finished turning and went the other way.

Then two things happened yesterday:  the garbage truck got stuck in front of our house and Adam went to Chicago.

First the garbage truck.  It's not that there was so much snow on our street, it was just icy (because they didn't plow the day before) and more snow had fallen.

Here's a picture of the truck sliding sideways down the street:

I must say, it was more unsettling to watch than when I was sliding down the street sideways myself.  I was glad to not be downhill from the truck.

The forecast was for more snow and Adam would be gone and his car--the one that's good in snow--would be at the airport.

The snow was suddenly a lot less appealing.

When I talked to Marianne, she suggested I trade cars with Adam.  Which would have been a terrific idea if I'd thought of it earlier.

Later, I decided to call Adam and see when he was leaving.  Maybe we could still trade?  He said, "If you leave right now it will work."

I hurried to his office for the switch.  The sun was shining and the sky was blue and the snow was once again beautiful.

Bring it on, snowy forecast.  I have a Subaru now.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Thelma time table

Yesterday at physical therapy I asked the college student who is an assistant there if he felt like the world was a dangerous place after working there, where everyone they meet is injured.  He laughed and said no.  Then he thought about it and said, "Maybe."  He said that about 40% of the people who come in were involved in a car accident.  The others are all either there because they slipped on ice (me!) or were hurt skiing.

I never realized the Ski Utah slogan around here was a marketing plan for physical therapists.

When the physical therapist was cruelly wrenching gently stretching my knee, I said, "That hurts."  Sometimes when I say something hurts he stops immediately or changes the exercise.  Sometimes, like yesterday, he looks at me like that's an interesting, but wholly irrelevant, observation.

I don't think I'm a very good patient.

Or a very patient patient.

I asked him how much longer I would 1) have to wear the leg brace and 2) have to come to physical therapy.

He asked, "How long ago did you injure your knee?"

"A month," I said.  An eternity.

He said, "Well, it's usually about 6-8 weeks.  Maybe three months."

I think my face must have registered dismay, horror, disappointment because he said, "I mean it will be that long until you're totally back to normal.  It's healing, just not on the Thelma time table."

And there it is.

The Thelma time table.

If the entire world would adopt the Thelma time table, that would be a good thing.

Will you at least consider it, entire world?

(It's a good time table.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Not my email

Here's another round up of email that isn't mine.  First, this is to Eithne.  Is that a name?  I had no idea.  I googled it and it's Irish and is pronounced Enya.

Who can say where the road goes?
Where the day flows?
Only time
And who can say if your love grows
As your heart chose?
Only time

This email included an exciting detail!  This Thelma's last name.  Does that mean I'm going to contact her and tell her she doesn't know her own email address?

No.  No it doesn't.  I do hope her application is a success though.

This email only included a picture.  It's snowy and blurry.  Well OK then.

This one made me concerned for Peter.  Don't wait too long, buddy.

I blocked out my email address on this one.  I don't need MORE email.

This Thelma can invite friends and family.

If she only knew her email address.

Monday, February 1, 2016

I can't even

When you have teenagers, sometimes you just don't get it, whatever it is.  (Often I don't even want to try.)

For example, the white girl thing.  It's a thing, but I don't know.  Starting a few years ago, Braeden would ask me sometimes when I was at the brink of exasperation, "Can you literally not even, Mom?"  or he would tell me to not go "all white girl" on him.

White girl?  I can't be anything except a white girl.  You should see the undersides of my arms.  They're practically blue, they're so white.

The other day, Mark said, "Why are white girls always in an odd number?"

"I don't know, Mark, why?"

"Because they can't even."

"OK," I said.  Because sometimes it's just best to move on.

The other day I went to a meeting with Emma and her counselor.  All the juniors had to meet for CCRs.  If there's one thing they love here in PG, it is initials.  Nobody has time to say the words.  There are CCRs and CCAs (Career and College Readiness as opposed to Career and College Awareness).  And then there are CTE classes (Career and Technical Education).  It's sort of exhausting.

Anyway, we were meeting.  Emma is always in her element at times like that.  She's got her life Planned with a capital P.  She knows which classes she wants.  She's talked to people and has intelligent questions to ask.  She has strong opinions and good grades and solid confidence and I just sit there, impressed.  She hardly needs me; I just sign on the parent line at the end.

The counselor asked her where she wanted to go to college and she said, "BYU."

He said, "It's getting really tough to get in there...."

I started covering my ears and humming loudly because I want to be in denial about that.  (No, I didn't really.  Only on the inside.)

He asked her if she had a backup plan, did she want to stay in Utah?

She said, "Well, I'm not really attached to Utah."

And at that moment, I couldn't even.  Yes, Braeden.  Literally.

I have all my eggs squarely in the my-children-at-BYU basket.  I've always wanted them to go there because I loved going to BYU myself and I want them to have the same great experience.

Moving 30 minutes away from the campus exponentially increased that desire.  I hadn't really considered Emma going away to college, further than Provo.  The thought makes me want to crawl under the covers and hide.

Emma has always been the definition of independent.  She can fix problems and switch gears and she has the work ethic of an Olympic athlete.  I frankly don't know how I gave birth to someone like her.

She mostly keeps me at arm's length and I'm OK with arm's length.  I'm used to arm's length.  What struck me for maybe the first time, was the idea of her further than arm's length.  The idea breaks my heart a little.

I need this girl in my life.

I need her to be attached to Utah (because it's where I am.)

I need to figure out how to not crack apart from children growing up.

I can't even.


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