Thursday, October 11, 2018

Crap, Crap, Crap

I've never had a car accident.  And I didn't really ever intend to.  I guess no one does which is why it is called an accident.  But, this past week it happened on Friday.  As I was leaving a gas station, I went to turn left.  I looked left and right and knew I was watching for the white, sedan to my right to time my leaving the gas station.  When clear I glanced again and pulled out.  I heard brakes squealing and turned left toward the sound to see in slow motion a car about to hit me.  I closed my eyes, felt the impact, and heard the crunching of metal on metal.  I opened my eyes, still unbelieving.  I had not seen this car, where had it come from.  It was my first question and still the question I have most thought about.  I really had looked and so much of my unease is that I don't know that I can trust myself anymore. 

Another girl in the other car, and myself were both traveling by ourselves.  This is probably for the best.  She was fine and out of the car as I was still observing my surroundings trying to make heads or tails out of what had happened.  It was at this point that I felt warm liquid running down my forehead.  I wondered if it was sweat and then saw the drop land on my lap and the red blood spread outward.  There were other drops already on my pants.  How had I missed that? I reached over to the glove box to pull out napkins and hold against my head.  A man rushed to me door.  The window totally shattered and laying over me (and later in me - we had to pull some small shards out of my skin) was open to his asking if I was okay, telling my to turn off the car, asking if I can get out of the car.  I offer to drive to the side of the road instead of being in the smack dab center worried I may block school traffic which is about to pick up.  He says he doesn't think it will drive as the front will is at an awkward angle.  I turn off the car, realize I can't open the door, and he struggles with it finally creaking it open enough to help me out of the car.  Glass rains to the ground from my front and back.  And I feel some glass shift in my clothing.  We walk to the side of he road as traffic continues around.  The man has already called the police.  They are sending an ambulance and fire as well since I am injured.

I call Travis and everyone starts to arrive.  I verify that I am mainly okay to the EMS and they let me into the back of their truck to undress and pour the glass out of my clothing.  After verifying that both the other girl, Kathryn, and I are okay, they leave.  Fire trucks arrive and start sweeping glass out of the road.  The police ask questions of the witness and each of us drivers.  Travis arrives and takes over as people from surrounding shops bring water, check on us, and offer me Band-Aids.  Once we have settled everything with the police, taken pictures, and followed the towing company, we leave.  Travis drives me home.  I am still in shock that this has happened to me.  More than anything as I was t-boned on the drivers door, I just felt thankful about how great it really did turn out.  I was relatively unscathed.  All the damage, no matter how frustrating, is just stuff.

As I was in my father in law's truck that is the worst of it.  I text them to let them know.  I feel terrible.  My(our) insurance will not cover this, my father in law's must.  He only has liability.  The car is a loss for them.  Uggg. Although my in laws have forgiven me and Gary, when he saw me lovingly and tearfully embraced me saying to not worry about the car, I can't seem to forgive myself.  I feel like I owe them a terrible debt.  Not only of the car, but that would at least easily be remedied if they would let me write them a check.  But alas, I am learning humility.  I am learning to forgive myself.  I am learning to accept the help of others.  I am still a work in progress, but a grateful work in progress.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Ridiculously Proud

The only time I can recall physically trying to hurt my child, was Wyatt.  It was maybe 4 years ago.  He was probably about 10.  It is probably the most cringe worthy parenting moment, I can remember.

You see, my Wyatt, he has never been a runner.  Ridiculously strong-Yes, athletic-Yes, coordinated-Yes, running-No, big firm all caps NO.  Not because he wasn't capable, he just hated it.  One particular break, Thanksgiving I believe, I had decided our family was going to run from our house to the nearby gym, 1 mile, and then do a family class.  The kids were all excited except Wyatt who didn't want to run.  Begrudgingly he went, but about halfway through the run and a fair amount of complaining already and while going up a hill, he decided he would no longer participate. He just say down in the middle of the road and refused to move.  I tried to negotiate, bargain, bribe, and threaten him to no avail.  It wasn't a busy road, but I was worried and I was angry.  In my anger and frustration I decided that if I pinched him, maybe the pain would be enough motivation for him to run.  I did it once and he was unmoved.  I did it a second time harder and still nothing.  At this point I looked to my husband, who is always the voice of calm and reason.  He bent down and hefted him up and deposited him on the side of the road to solve our first and most pressing concern.  I can't remember how we got him to the class in the end, but once there, he happily participated and walked home instead of running afterwards.

Flash forward two years.  The expectation in our home was that each of our children would play one sport, play one instrument, and be successful in school.  Although Wyatt is athletic...the academics are cake for him, the musical instrument is enjoyable most of the time for him, but the sports is a necessary evil.  So as we approached middle school and he knew he needed a sport he decided to play soccer with a lot of his friends.  In his first season he started on the JV team, won most improved player, and become a solid player despite his lack of any experience.  Afterwards he was so excited he joined boys volleyball.  There he also excelled without any experience and I was excited that perhaps an athlete was born.

Another year later and we decided to move to Texas.  The middle school offered neither of those sports and he didn't want to participate any longer despite two amazing experiences. I reiterated our rule and he conceded to play club soccer.  I signed him up, but due to the late sign up they had filled the spots on the team.  His 8th grade year he escaped without any sport, but I prepared him to start mentally preparing for 9th grade because that would not be happening again.  He decided that cross country is the sport he would choose.  Imagine my absolute shock and blow me over with a puff of wind surprise.  I cautiously asked him if he was sure; he told me yes.  I prepared him that there would be no quitting midway through the season.  He rolled his eyes at me.  The year started and Isabella and I watched with apprehension. 

He was by far the slowest on the team.  He admitted the practices were hard.  Some days he was very sore.  But increasingly I heard less and less about it.  About three weeks into the school year and 7 weeks into the season, he said - I think cross country is my favorite class this year.  Here they practice not only before school, but you take the class as your first period class too.  What?!?!?  He said I really like the alone time to think each day.  Even though the running still sometimes sucks it's gotten a lot easier, but it is just good personal time for me to think and I enjoy that.  Well color me happy to see his attitude change.

Starting the season his time trials averaged in the  8 1/2 minute mile ranges, both for 1 mile and 2.  But then about three weeks ago, I got a text.  He had run his 1 mile trial in 6:48, a new PR for sure.  We were so proud.  He thought it was because of his time, but I explained it was because of his effort.  He told me that his 2 mile trial was still around 16 minutes.  I told him that I though so much of running was mental for him.  His doubts and fears kept him reserved on the longer course, but I felt confident with the improvements I had seen in both his running and attitude that he could do much better. And so yesterday I was not surprised, but still amazingly enthused to get a text saying his new 2 mile PR was 13:53.  His first mile was 6:46 a new PR and his second 7:07.  Once again he was beyond elated and I finally sat him down to fully explain how proud of him I was.

You see not because of his time, although he is getting dang fast, but because our school is so deep in talent, especially on the cross country team.  With that time, he still is not able to run on Varsity or JV only the fastest 7 run or both.  But he still puts in his top effort day after day.  He tries hard, makes good practice habits, and his hard work is paying off.  He has changed his attitude, he has proven that the competition was never about anyone else, but about him seeing the fruits of his labor.  And that is something he and we as his parents can be dang proud of.  I asked him to send me a selfie and he didn't understand.  He said I already showered and got ready for school.  I said to send a selfie anyway.  He did and I found exactly what I was looking for.  The glowing eyes, and sweet smile of being proud of yourself when you have shown, even yourself, that you are capable of great, amazing things.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

May They Always Climb In Bed With Me

Each morning, I wake before the kids do or around the same time.  The two older ones prepare for early morning seminary as well as cross country and school.  They leave by 6:15am.  Around that time the next child, Issac, wakes up.  He preps for middle school cross country which starts before school at 7am.  He is out the door by 6:45 and that is around the time the last little guy, Kody wakes up.  Prior to this year and all of them being in middle or high school, I woke up with everyone, made hot breakfasts, helped prep them for school, and walked them to their bus stops.  This year everything has changed.

Instead they don't want to eat a big breakfast before running - toast all around, maybe cereal.  They are so tired from their ever growing teenage bodies they don't want to talk, and my son Issac informed me if I was walking to the bus stop, he would walk at a different time than me using a different route.  (Sigh)

So instead now I stay in bed.  I study my scriptures, I write in my journal, I have really sincere, lengthy prayers.  But the best part of this all is that the new routine provides a parade of bedtime partners and cuddles.  Wyatt is typically the first one in.  He does everything quickly and efficiently.  He can get ready in half the time his sister does.  So he comes and snuggles with me.  He tells me the highlights of the day and what he is most excited for.  He clings closest to my side throughout our cuddles and asks me questions about what I will be doing during the day. He then leaves to finish up and Isabella comes in.  She usually shares her stress and/or anxiety with me.  She asks for advice, she rests her head on my stomach or chest and I stroke her hair and reassure her that all will be well in her life.  As they leave Issac takes his cue and wanders in.  He has usually done all the lunch packing, prepping, except clothes.  So still half dressed or in PJ's he climbs into my bed and catches the last twenty minutes of sleep before he has to quickly put on running clothes and leave.  He leaves me in a hurry but always with two kisses.  The first one rushed, and then because this is the only time I get to see his sweet, tender side, I ask him for a second one, so I can appreciate his last moments of boyhood; for now he still obliges me.  Travis takes him to cross country and in bounds, Kody.  He is totally prepped for school - hair done, cologne on, sometimes even sneakers and backpack on.  I always remind him he has at least another thirty minutes.  I coerce him into taking off the shoes and backpack before he climbs into bed.  He snuggles close smelling of spicy, yummy man at age 11, but still in the body of an 8 year old, tells me how excited he is to see his friends, to go to a certain class, to get to school.  Before long he bounds right back out with an "I love you, Mom".  He leaves for the bus stop as early as we will let him out the door.

And my parade is over, my house is empty, but my heart is full.  These kids may not be perfect, my parenting most certainly isn't, but we're creating our own kind of heaven on Earth with these traditions.  Out with the old, in with the new, always adapting and changing and growing - TOGETHER!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

I Swear

I'm around, we're doing stuff.  But life is so busy.  Not bad, just busy.  So I am taking pictures, creating mental posts, and then real life kicks my butt, my bed is my siren call for any free moment, and I am months behind.  But someday soon...I'll catch up!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Things That Make You Go Hmmm

I've read articles that correlate people's ability to perceive body language and emotional atmosphere better to children of alcoholics.  Basically the thinking is that due to volatile nature of things, they become more attuned to cues that other people miss.  Well I happen to believe the same is true of people who grew up in physically abusive households.  And I should probably research it, but my main evidence is my siblings and myself.  For a lot of my life, I could feel people's emotions even without seeing their face though.  And I would guess that most people can tell you a time in their life when they could feel an emotion palpably in their life.  It has it's own weight and texture and feeling that is very physical, but me I can feel these emotional regularly.  I wouldn't go so far as daily, but for sure weekly and I think if I tried to tune into it could probably have it happen more frequently.  But the unwelcome weight of others feelings and thoughts and emotions can sometimes be a burden and especially if you are more sensitive to the negative emotions than the positive ones.  It's hard to know what to do as a young child to see an adult and know instinctually that they struggle with a very real and severe case of depression.  And it's even harder to know how you would even go about explaining that to someone who wants evidence of why you believe what you do.

In the most general sense of this word you have a very empathetic person.  This is often revered and desired.  And to be sure, everyone in my family is very empathetic.  Now how we handle that empathy seems to me to be the great dividing line of my family.  Recently I read the book Beartown.  Holy terrifying and good read, but I'll save that topic for another day.  A truly remarkable author can help the reader to feel the emotions, to understand the characters, and to feel a part of the story and Fredrik Backman is for sure a master at that.  But what he can do for the normal reader is a sensory overload for a reader like myself.  I may have cried, felt physically ill, and worried and stressed over these fictional characters.  And as I pondered why I read books like this, that affect me so physically, I finally drew my own conclusions - likely fallible and flawed.  But here they are...I read because to know someone's story to feel all the emotions, to truly understand humanity, is an amazing and wonderful gift.  It is a gift that through reading I can pick up and put down as necessary, but store the info for a later time when I will need it. 

And I have learned that managing this gift is a challenge.  A challenge that in some ways I have felt more equipped to deal with than others in my family.  In a family of empaths sometimes the burden of your own intense emotions coupled with the crippling intensity of other's emotions can be overwhelming.  So it is no surprise to me, that half of my family is on some type of medication to help stabilize mood and anxiety and depression.  And some have sought self medicating as their own way of dealing.  And then I look inward and wonder why I haven't felt like I needed that.  Sometimes I wonder if my empathy is only a drop in the bucket compared to what my siblings can feel.  Sometimes I wonder if it is a result of deeper faith in a Supreme God, who though I don't understand, I trust implicitly and just shy of totally.  I suspect my siblings wouldn't like that conclusion.  I wonder if it has to do with the sheer amount of energy I output in a given day.  My ability to work and stay busy is often marveled at.  So do I use all that emotional energy and channel it in to work.  Or do I use work as a way to compartmentalize all that emotion.  I can't say for sure yet. 

What I do know and realize though, is that this same faith in God, reminds me that he needs us all to be different, to have different strengths and weaknesses.  He needs people who experience the same thing to perceive it differently and internalize it uniquely so that he has a million different people to bless one another and reach out to one another and to minister to one another in a way no one else can.  He needs each one of us, because he has created a perfect plan where we need one another and he sends us to answer the call.  So even though I don't begin to understand all He does, I know implicitly He understands it all.  And so I will try to totally be faithful in carrying out his plan to use my own unique circumstances to help and serve others in a way that he has created me uniquely to do.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Crazy News Stories

Each day, I do a quick check of the news.  Lately, I keep reading the weirdest stories.  You can't make this stuff up.  So I'm going to keep a month long crazy news blip log:
  • Rude French waiter files complaint against employer in Canada after being fired citing "discrimination against my culture" his culture being rude???
  • In Florida, a woman marries a 100 year old tree in hopes of saving it from being cut down
  • Target is settling out of court against a suit accusing them of racial discrimination.  The long and the short is that Target does a background check and rejects applicants for employment with a criminal history.  Because black and Hispanic applicants have more criminal history they are being racially discriminated. 
  • GQ put the Bible on a list of books you don't have to read saying, "Repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish"
  • The EPA is proposing a new rule that would prevent the EPA from using scientific studies where the underlying data is not available to the public. That's because in many of those studies, researchers had confidentiality agreements with their subjects. Meaning the underlying data is not available to the public.  People are in an uproar.  Seems logical to me.
  • "Cry closet" - An actual place at the University of Utah's library for students to release their stress. What happens in the cry closet, stays in the cry closet.  It was a provocative art exhibit that got people all in an uproar.  Do I think colleges should have cry closets, probably not, but do I think if they do, people should get real angry on the internet.  Probably not!
  • Threatening to fine people who cheer at their kids graduation in South Carolina
  • Live animals at prom, namely a tiger, sparked outrage.  How this is any different than a zoo, I have no idea. 
  • "Woman discovers her dog that never barks or eats dog food is actually a fox" What???
  • In an effort to more fully teach a culture of consent, we are supposed to ask a baby if it is okay before we change it's diaper.
Seriously, can't make this stuff up.  People are more outrageous than ever.  Even more public outcry is at an all time high.  What's this all mean?  The world has gone mad! 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Letters To My Children

Dear Kids,

Our world is changing.  It seems crazy the things I hear on the news.  Things that are unexpected and in unexpected places.  And I guess I'm not old enough to go around shouting, "When I was young...."  but that doesn't mean I don't think it sometimes.  So, currently there is a huge movement called Me Too and in a world of hashtags, it is a trending one.  It started with the downfall of Hollywood movie producers, it surfaced in our last Presidential Elections, although no movement had been officially organized yet.  Then today I saw an article referencing the same allegations of sexual assault, commonly the theme in this movement is men in power preying upon women subordinate, within our church - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  And although I realized that our religion is filled with imperfect people acting in imperfect ways, it still crushed me to realize that these predators are smart, they are hidden in plain sight, they are in positions of power everywhere.

Some time ago, I heard Ben Shapiro, conservative political commentator, talking about why this seems to be a pandemic currently and the circumstances that got us here.  He made some comment generally about how if you have to teach your son not to rape someone, you probably already know have bigger problems.  I listened agreeing.  But as this topic surfaces and surfaces, I realized maybe, just maybe, we do need to teach them that very thing.  We need to implicitly say this to not only boys but similar messages to girls. 

So just to cover my bases:  Kids, never rape or abuse someone!  But you know what, just like I parent for best case scenario and try to encourage you with positives instead of negatives, what I actually want you to do is this:
  • "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" - Golden Rule
    • Crazy how this Biblical Concept (Matthew) has been around for a couple millennia and we still aptly need it as much as ever.
Remember that everyone is a child of God.  You will some day be accountable to Him for how you treated his other children in this life.  That day can be a scary reckoning or one of joyful celebration.  Choose the party you want to attend when you stand before God again.  You've got this!  I love you.