Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Time to buy some more Clairol...

A conversation between my 3 year old and 7 year old daughters while they brushed and "styled" my hair the other night:

7 year old: Ok, it's your turn to style now.

3 year old: Ok. Here, you brush and I will style.

---slight pause as the 3 year old parts my hair and leans over to examine it more closely--

3 year old: Oh, my goodness!!! Emma!! Look at all the WHITE!!!!

Excuse me while I run to the store.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Coming to a doorknob near you...

I hear there's a DVD floating around about the church I belong to. They're being hung on people's doorknobs across the US and Canada. It misconstrues some of our basic beliefs, asserts that we aren't Christian, and in general tries to "witness" to us poor little misguided Mormons and our unsuspecting neighbors.

Here's the thing: I don't particularly care if you think my husband has 13 wives, or that we have horns on our head, or that we wear funny underwear. I really don't. Mostly because it's outdated, silly, and in the case of the underwear--none of your dang business.

But I have all kinds of problems with a person telling me that I don't know who I worship.

Ever since I was a little girl, I believed in a Father In Heaven who loved me, and in His son, Jesus Christ. I was taught, in a Mormon church (gasp!), that it was through Christ and His atoning sacrifice that I would be saved. I read the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and reading both of them I have come to obtain the surest testimony that He lived and died and was risen again, and that He stands at the right hand of God, as my judge and my Savior.

Every day of my life, I try to live in a way that shows my devotion to Him. There are days when I pretty much stink at it, but I keep trying anyway. I trust Him when He says He will be merciful with me. I teach my children by word and example that they should look to Christ for peace, for eternal life, and for remission of their sins. I live my religion, and it's my religion that has taught me to do all these things.

So, I feel Christian, even if there are those who would tell me I am mistaken. And the hard part is, how do you refute someone whose entire argument is, "You're not a Christian!" "Yes, I am." "NO, you're NOT." It gets to the 'I'm rubber and you're glue' stage pretty quickly.

Well, I'm just gonna keep doing my thing...and hope that the one who really knows my heart will find my meager offerings acceptable.

Four of my wonderful leprechauns...

This is from St. Patrick's Day. The hats were from their Aunt, and you don't even want to know how much my oldest will scream when she sees I have posted this. I guess the hat isn't the fashion statement she cares to make!!!

Quote of the Week...

"Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way... you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.”

Monday, March 19, 2007

Life is good...

A warm spring day after a long winter.
A trip to the park.
And a big sister to tickle your toes as she pushes you in the swing.
Yep, life doesn't get any better than that!

Quote of the Week...

"Do one thing everyday that scares you."

---Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, March 16, 2007

hard little life lessons...

Yesterday, my 7 year old learned how hard it can be to make things right when you do something wrong.

I found a tiny gold child's ring on my bathroom floor the other day, and I knew it didn't belong in our house. I started asking all the kids about it, and it became clear to me pretty quickly that this daughter wasn't being truthful when she said she had no idea how the ring got in the bathroom. Every mom knows that somewhere during pregnancy--or maybe while in post partum--you become equipped with a sixth sense when it comes to your kids. I don't know how it works, all I know is that once you've been a mom for awhile, you can sense which cry is for hungry and which is for sleepy; you can sense that little hands are about to dunk a toy into the toilet; and you can listen to your child tell you something and hear loudly in your head, "liar, liar, pants on fire."

So, after some intense interrogation (I knew those 150 watt bulbs would come in handy!), she admitted that she had taken the ring from her cousin's room during a sleepover last week. Little did she know that admitting her mistake to mom was probably the easiest part.

We had a tear filled drive over to my sister's house, with her pleading with me not to make her go. "PLEASE, mom!!! I can't do it!! I can NOT look her in the eye and tell her I took it!!"

"You can do it." I said. "And you will feel SO much better after you do."

I held her hand as we walked to the front porch and let go as she rang the doorbell. She looked so pitiful...the ring in one hand, a tissue for her tears in the other. At first, I wasn't sure if she would be able to pull herself together to do what needed to be done. My sister and I figured our presence would only make matters worse, so we quickly found other places to be.

After about 10 minutes, my daughter and my niece came bounding down the stairs. I could instantly see that the task had been completed and that all was once again good. They played for a while and then we said our goodbyes.

On the drive home, I was all set to talk to her more about how it's not good to steal because it's wrong and it makes us feel bad and we hurt people and ourselves and blah blah mommy blah. I thought this was my teaching moment. But from the back seat, my daughter piped up:

"Mom!! That was the hardest thing I ever did! I cried the whole time and soaked my tissue! But I did it! I looked right at her, gave her the ring, and I said, 'Megan, I took your ring, I know it was wrong, and I am very very sorry.' I feel SO much better, Mom. I never want to feel that way again. It was AWFUL, Mom, awful. But I feel okay now! And Megan's not mad at me! I am never going to take anything that isn't mine again...what were you going to say, Mom?"

"Nothing, sweetie. I'm just proud of you, that's all," I said.

Turns out that the experience was the teacher, I just provided transportation.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Quote of the week...

"All the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action."

--James Russell Lowell

Friday, March 09, 2007

The tea cup...

I have a china tea cup and saucer that sits on a shelf in my office. I love to look at it. It's really pretty, a delicate pink rose floral pattern with gold leaf along the top edge and the handle. It's stamped with "Victoria, Bone China, Made in England" on the bottom. My husband's grandmother gave it to us several years ago.

As with most everything she owns, she had a story that went along with the tea cup. The story was that this was her son's (my father-in-law's) favorite cup. He loved this cup, she said. Always had to use this particular cup. Used to tell her that he'd never marry a girl who didn't love this cup and take good care of it for him. That was the story that grandma always told about the tea cup and saucer she had given us.

Not so much the story that I heard from her son.

Once, when my father-in-law--supposed lover of said cup--came to visit, I pointed out "his" cup to him. I relayed the story that his mom had told me about the cup, thinking it would bring warm memories, and please him that the story behind the cup had been passed on.

His face went blank. He paused for a moment--just a moment--before he said something just short of "my mother is a crazy woman who makes up things that have no basis in reality."

And this, and only this, is why I keep that tea cup on the shelf in my office.

I love to look at that tea cup and be reminded that life is viewed through subjective eyes. I look at that cup to be comforted, understanding that no matter how hard I try, the way I see things will not be the way other people--even people I love--see them. I could strive to do every single thing right as a wife, friend, mother, etc. and still our stories wouldn't match up. Because we all filter our stories through our own personalities, our own life experiences, and our own sense of what is important.

Looking at that cup makes me fret just a little bit less when I mistakes. Maybe some of those mistakes will be the stories that aren't remembered. And yet, looking at the cup also makes me a little more careful. Maybe something done or said in a seemingly small moment will be a story that IS remembered. That cup silently witnesses that I have little control over what people choose to remember about me. I can only live the best life I can and hope that the scales will balance out in favor of my being a good person.

I don't know which story is true about the tea cup on my shelf. Nor do I care to know. The truth is what they believe it to be. I suppose I could put them both in a room and let them shout it out, who is right and who is wrong in the whole "Significance of The Tea Cup" Debate, but what good would that do?

I'll just keep the cup on the shelf, my own personal lesson in perspective.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Quote of the Week...

"The purpose of having children is not to create opportunities for our glory or for theirs. The purpose of having children and raising them to be self-reliant, compassionate, ethical adults is to ensure that there will be people here to honor God after we are gone."

--Wendy Mogel, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Grief, laughter, and the weight of both...

We attended another funeral today.

This is the second in 7 months, and I gotta tell you, I'm not getting any better at them. This is one of those life events that we all go through, and yet we never seem to get good at them. Whatever "good at them" would mean.

The interesting thing that I am discovering about attending the funerals of family, friends, and family OF friends is this: the weight of every other loss comes up. And the memory of each funeral is pulled out of the portion of my brain that houses the category:

family and loved ones, funerals of. See also: death, grief, melancoly

So, as I sit in the funeral home chapel, watching a friend grieve the loss of her 22 year old son, my mind recalls my sister-in-law, grieving the loss of her baby girl...my dad, the loss of a brother--and then another brother...a friend, losing her mother...a friend, the loss of his wife...another friend, also losing his wife...myself, grieving the loss of one parent, and then another. At a funeral, it feels like a heavy burden.

So that's where the laughter comes in.

Today, the grief was overwhelming in that chapel. And then my dad got up to speak. He had known this young man well and was asked by the family to share some thoughts. As is his way, he began recounting silly and irreverent stories about this young man. The spirit lifted and I could see the weight of grief temporarily leave the family and friends as they were caught up in the life and spirit of this man, as opposed to his death. There was laughter through tears and it was wonderful. The weight became one not of grief--but of carrying the love and memories of someone that was special, and honoring that. Even though the grieving has just begun for this family, they were shown in that moment how to ease their pain and soften their heartache.

The weight of grief and the weight of laughter are gifts. Each one reminds us that we lived, loved, and mattered to each other.