Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Past Remembered

Since last Wednesday our little family has been in Utah.  Currently, Doug is with his brothers and parents at a Boeing Utah facility tour, Ryker is still sleeping, and I can hear the pitter patter of Kyleena feet as she pesters grandpa upstairs.

I miss this.  Being here makes me so homesick I can't stand it.  I keep trying to remind myself why we moved and why we wanted to stay in Alabama a bit longer, but it's like trying to remind myself I don't need oxygen yet after diving into the deep end of the pool.  As much as my mind knows I'll be just fine for a little longer, my body keeps desperately swimming up for air.

Utah is my version of air.  It is not always appreciated.  It is sometimes stinky or muggy.  But I need it nonetheless and I crave it when deprived.

Being accompanied by Doug's family during the festivities surrounding Doug's sister Karianne's wedding was a breath of fresh air.  I'm gaining more of an understanding as to why big family events are such important milestones, and why we should definitely be in attendance.  Memories are formed and bonds are made and friendships are strengthened in ways that can only be accessed by shared experiences.  The same can be said for the experience of sending Doug's brother Nate off on his mission this week. 

For me, personally, this has been a time of serious reflection and gratitude.  I could not help during that sealing but to picture myself on my wedding day.  I remember sitting in the Celestial room prior to the ordinance and talking to Douglas.  I don't remember much of what was said, (I do recall that he informed me of a serious shaving mishap he had had that morning) but I remember how blessed I felt as I looked over at the man who was to become my eternal companion in just minutes.  I remember walking into the sealing room hand in hand with him, and seeing our families beaming at us.  The words of the sealer were somewhat of a blur, and I was so grateful they were recorded for me by a family friend of Doug's.  However, I do recall being told to make each other happy...  and I hope I have done that for him so far, because I know he has done that for me.

In a strange, retrogressive pattern, the following two events pushed my thoughts further and further into the past.  As we prepared to send Nate off on his mission, I flashed back to my twenty-first year and all that it entailed. I remember my farewell talk and being in my room with my best friend, finishing up packing and trying fruitlessly to sleep the night before my mission.  I recall sitting through the MTC welcome meeting with my family before we said our tearful goodbyes.  Shortly thereafter I met my first companion in line for something.  The MTC is mostly clear in my mind.  One experience was returned to me with exceptional clarity as I pondered the missionary service into which Nathan was about to enter.  I remembered the testimony meeting we had with our new district upon our arrival to the MTC.  That night as missionaries from different places and backgrounds shared their testimonies, and as I prepared to share mine as well, I was literally filled with the Spirit in a remarkable way.  From my head to the tips of my toes I received a witness of the work I was about to perform.

Scooting even further into my past... Last night I was invited to participate in the planning of our high school reunion.  Sitting there in a basement with my high school friends, I was drawn, intriguingly, not to my high school life but to the life just following it, the one these people had missed out on.

Thinking over the past ten years, I am grateful for all of it.  Some of the turns I took were not on the map I had made for myself, but I'm grateful I took them.  Many things went according to plan but on a completely different schedule than I had predicted.  As we lay in bed together last night, I told Doug that perhaps I was too attached to my past experiences to be able to function in Utah over a long period of time.  Upon waking this morning I see things a little differently.  If I can record my thoughts, learn and grow from them, and use them pushing forward, then this connection to my personal heritage could be a blessing.  I certainly feel blessed right now.

And after all, how can anyone learn from a past that's forgotten?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

One Moment in Time... and Another... and Another...

Doug has been out of town on business this week and the kiddos have been tossed from sitter to sitter each evening.  Tonight it caught up to them.  As we drove home a solid cacophony of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth came from the back seat.  It was early for such exhaustion, about 6:30pm, but I swore that the second we got home they were both going straight to bed.  Following a quick after-dinner snack and a happy birthday Skype session with 3/4 Giles girls, I rushed them off to bed.  Deciding that perhaps I should let my little girl know that I really did love her and wish her a happy birthday (we celebrated all day last Saturday), I cuddled in for my goodnight hugs and kisses.  As we lay there face to face, her little arm wrapped around my neck, we had this conversation:

"These four years with you have been the best years of my life.  I'm so grateful I've been your mommy, and I'm even more grateful that I get to be your mommy forever more."

"But Mommy!  I will grow bigger and bigger and be as big as you and then you won't be my mommy anymore!"

"Nope.  That's not how it works.  You will grow bigger and bigger and bigger like me and you will have babies of your own and I will still be your mommy."

"Forever and ever?"

"Forever and ever."

"Oh! *sigh* Mommy, I am so glad you are my mommy.  You make all the days happy.  You make every day happier.  You are the best mommy ever and I love you so, so much."

"Thank you, sweetheart.  I love you too.  Goodnight, sleep tight."

"Goodnight, sleep tight, Mommy."

That moment obviously speaks for itself: Priceless.  But the thing that really got me posting to my blog tonight instead of doing one of the 900 other things on my docket, was the process I endeavored upon after closing her bedroom door behind me.  First I thought, "That was so sweet.  I should facebook that.  What would I write?  I could just put what she said.  Nah... That doesn't express how I felt about what she said.  I could call it a 'moment' first.  I could write a commentary on how I finally got over the toddler-phase 'moment-fasting' and hopefully this is a sign that her fourth year will be better.  Man!  It's been FOREVER since I had a moment where motherhood was all worthwhile.  People talk about those and I just think, 'good for you. I'm floundering out here; treading water 'til my kids get a little bigger.  You go on and have your moments and I'll just try and keep my head above water."

So I hopped on facebook, ready with my status-length rant.  Once there, I noticed I had a message from a dear friend of my husband.  She had written me a sweet, kind, note praising my mothering tactics even though she understood that at times it must be hard, and thanking me for finding her friend Doug.  Not meaning to downplay how touched I was, I must mention that reading this was like an instant guilt trip.  Here I was, ready to rant about how I've been jacked my life's little moments, and someone else was admiring me as a wife and mother.... :/

Well, I was deterred.  One of the things she had said in her note sidetracked me and I went to check it out.  She had mentioned that she’d reached the conclusions noted in her message to me based on a thorough facebook stalking.  So... curious to look in at my life from that perspective, I started to scroll through my profile.  Less than a month down my timeline, I noticed this post: a status update of mine dated April 15th, 2012.

"Not going to lie, I've been in a mom rut lately. Been gritting my teeth and bearing my burdens in near silence, waiting for today; one of those perfect days full of beautifully simple moments with my little family that make it all seem worthwhile again. Gratitude."

So I came here to write this blog post.

At this point in my writings, however, I became more intrigued and I returned to facebook yet again.  As I continued to scroll through my timeline I realized that that moment was not the only one I had recorded in recent history.  In fact, I had just posted one on the 4th of April.  It didn't flat out express itself as a "moment," but it was one nonetheless.  On my way back up, I even discovered a photo of my babies sitting together in a chair on the patio dated April 14th.  Would I have taken that photo if I hadn't been recording a moment?  And yet, the very next day I wrote of my gratitude for those moments I hadn't had in such a long, long time...... ???

I am so blind.

Here I am, surrounded by the beauty of these little lives.  As I write this now, I can turn my head to the right and see a pool toy in the foyer (no, we did not go swimming today), dance class registration forms, dishes in the sink, wadded up paper towels from wiping little hands and mouths beside cups on their sides on the counter.  To my left a bucket full of crayons and pencils has been spilt on the floor beside the couch.  Many "breakable" things have been piled up on my counter height table, three pairs of my shoes are on the floor outside my children's bedroom, and an empty applesauce packet lies stuck in the crack beneath the door.  Directly in front of my tv- where the computer has been plugged in so that we can watch children's shows on Netflix and work on the computer in a location where kiddos are still visible- there sits a marker brought to me earlier in the day by my one year old, another empty applesauce packet, and a timecard I've been keeping for work- logging all my hours teaching and cutting music; the timecard is covered in black scribbles that make it practically illegible.

This is beautiful.

My mother would disagree.  Although she would note the symbolic beauty of little lives and the evidence thereof, and although I am perfectly aware that she loves my children as much if not more so than I do, she would disagree that my mess is beautiful.  Most days I would disagree too.  Tomorrow I may disagree... at least regarding the mess...  But for right now, all of this is beautiful.  Their chaos currently serves as a reminder to me that they are here; dirtying dishes and the counters and themselves as they eat with their little hands; taking out toys just to forget why they got them out before they've played with them because they’ve become distracted by other toys; fighting one another and hugging one another and doing so all within the same breathe; THIS IS BEAUTIFUL.

Life's little moments aren't rare.  We are surrounded by them; engulfed.  But one thing that I have tried to teach my mother is that blessings are found when we look at our lives through the eyes of gratitude.  It's easy to see that I haven’t been practicing what I’ve preached.  I'm not sure many of us can really see things as clearly as we should see them.

Whatever you see, or my mom sees, or I see tomorrow; today I choose to see a beautiful pattern of moments strewn across my home.  Hopefully this little light shining in my heart will continue to grow.  Hopefully I will have friends and family whose lights shine brighter than mine on my darker days.

Being a mother, a father, a sister, a friend; they all have their challenges.  But when looking at our lives through the eyes of gratitude, we may catch glimpses here and there of the honesty and beauty in our work on this earth with one another.  We may find that those “rare moments” are happening so often that they have become difficult to notice.  One moment does not often stand out in a sea of moments.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kyleena's Story (I tried to repeat this word for word.)

Once upon a time, it was dark and I was in my bed. And I heard a sound that I thought was a baby, but it wasn't a baby... It was a monster!  I came creeping out of my bed and into the living room and there was the monster! It had green eyes and I couldn't see it 'cause it was camouflaged. But then, its eyes turned red, and then blue, and then black. All of a sudden, the monster turned into a ghost! The ghost ate me!!

The End.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Finally a blog post! (and from my phone no less)

I think I'm going to pick up phone blogging. Hurray for apps that allow me to get things done on the go.

Family update: Things are going well.

Doug is loving his job at Boeing and was recently informed that he would be receiving a promotion. Already, Doug was doing more than his job required, so the promotion won't change what he does at work each day, it'll just pay him accordingly!

I am gearing up for recital season at my jobs. I like this time of year because seeing my choreography make its way to the stage is very fulfilling artistically.

Kyleena is wrapping up her first year of Joy School. Joy School is basically an in-home preschool rotation. I teach tomorrow, Tuesday, and this coming Thursday and the next week it'll be at a different house, and so on. She loves learning new things and comes running to the door when she gets home; eager to show me things she made or gathered from outside. My latest challenge is trying to get together a new group for next year....

Ryker has learned how to whine, stomp, and be grumpy. He has not, however, learned how to talk (much)! Looks like I'm trading in another angel baby for a toddler...  Oh well! C'est la vie. They grow and each phase has its upsides as well. For example, Ryker is still a major cuddler, and you can't beat that!

The news that thrills me to the bone is that on May 19th, we are moving into a house! Yay!!! It's a rental... Say what you will about buying in this market, but we just aren't ready.... And I love it! The house isn't fully updated, but it's clean and spacious. It's a 60s style contemporary built in the 90s. I'm a real fan of contemporary architecture so I love it. I can just picture my mom and dad (and who knows who else) calling it ugly, haha, but I'm the one who gets to live in it! (Pictures to come.) I cannot wait to not be shoved into an apartment any longer. We'll be in our same ward here in Madison, in a neighborhood called Stoneridge just at the base of Rainbow Mountain.

So... That's the gyst. I'll try and be a better blogger....... ;)