Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Ball Game

These are my girls, from tallest to smallest, Sierra, Mariah and Savannah. Aren't they pretty?

Actually, these were my girls about 14 years ago. Some of you who remember them coming in to the store might think that they still look like this, but they don't. Like I say, this was about 14 years ago, but certainly doesn't seem like it.

I did a lot of babysitting and a lot of picking them up and taking them places when they were that age. They liked to come to my house for sleepovers on weekends, too. During one of those sleepover weekends we came up with a brilliant game that will go down in history, well our history anyway. We had been to the grocery store and bought, along with cereal and cookies, giant bouncy balls - the kind that they keep in big cages and you have to pull them through the holes at the bottom. They're fantastic. We went from the store to a park where we sat in the grass to play, and then came a burst of creative genius, the kind only children can have. We had three balls and four players. We sat in a circle, and those with a ball threw it to the person without a ball. Lots of passing, back and forth, slowly at first and one at a time in a constant rotation, and then faster and faster until that one person was pummeled with three flying balls, and then screams and fits of giggles and running to get the balls back again. It was really fun.

We played the ball game a lot over the following years. There were times, of course, with all of those flying balls, that someone would get hit in the head. It didn't hurt, but girls being girls, it usually brought on some dramatic overreaction. So I laid down a ground rule - No crying. You can cry only if you're bleeding, broken or swelling. OK? OK. We started playing again. Savannah got hit, and her little face screwed up and a whiny sound started up, and then she looked at me, and I was looking at her, and she said, "I'm swelling." More fits of giggles.

Those girls were so much fun. It's strange, somehow over the years they got older than me. They've outgrown the ball game, and the swimming pool, and cuddling on the couch to watch movies, and all sorts of things. But I haven't. How did that happen? I don't know, but I suppose it was inevitable. I think, though, that the next time Sierra is home from school we're going to the store for balls, and I'm going to insist that they play the ball game with me. And it'll still be fun. Oh, and the no crying rule still applies.

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's Just Like Yatzee

I went out for a lunchtime walk today. It was beautiful. The air was clean after some snow last night, and the sun was shining, and the creek in City Creek Canyon with a mix of ice and snow over it, with melted patches where you could see the water flowing, was the prettiest it’s ever been. It was the perfect place to clear my mind.

Being the New Year, I have thought about resolutions, and wanted to resolve to forget it all before I even started and thus avoid the crushing failure. I’m not good with resolutions. But, I feel like this year is going to be different…like changes are coming. I don’t know what or how or why, but my gut is telling me to get ready. And the strangest thing is that I feel really good about the feeling. It’s not scary. Usually a change for me is the equivalent of getting kicked in the head by fate, but not this time. This one’s going to be good. I feel happy, really happy, and ready for the cosmic circles to bring it.

I was thinking about this while walking, and then I thought about a lesson I’m teaching this week. It’s from President Eyring’s last conference talk called “Trust in God, Then Go and Do”. Trusting has been a hard thing for me. I’m an over-thinker, and I always want desperately to know what’s coming and when. I suppose that’s normal. But the truth is that most of the time a person doesn’t know what to expect. That becomes more and more evident as we get older, and after too many disappointments it can be hard to trust.

And then I remembered playing Yatzee with Barry, Courtney and Spencer at my parent’s house last summer. Spencer was 5 at the time. Usually the little kids will play on a team with an adult, but Spencer is pretty sharp, and wanted to play his own game. So Courtney sat beside him and coached him along, and I was very impressed with how he did it. Spencer rolled the dice, and looked them over. Court would show him the options, “You can keep these two 4s and try for some more, or you have two 1s…”, and then he’d let Spencer make his choice. When it was time to add up his points, Spencer would stare at the dice, sometimes put his little hand on his head, and think. If he was really stuck then Courtney would help, “You have three sixes, what’s six plus six?”, and Spencer would say twelve, “Ok, and then add six more.” Sometimes it would take Spencer some time to figure it out, but Courtney patiently let him work it through until he got the right answer and wrote it down on his score card.

I thought, “Wow! If that were me I’d take the card and do all of the adding and writing, and think that I was helping." But that wouldn’t have helped Spencer. He was capable of figuring the answers out and of keeping his own score, and he needed to do that work for himself. That’s how he learns. So I walked today with that picture in my head – Spencer working through his adding problems with Courtney sitting patiently, right there beside him. The child is left to work, but his father is always there.

Isn’t that how life goes with all of us? We have to do most of the work on our problems ourselves, but there is someone there for backup, family, friends, and most importantly our Heavenly Father. He’s always right there, and if we know that and trust it, then the work isn’t so hard, an uncertain future isn’t scary, and this feeling that my life could change this year is good. It’s really good.
Best of luck to all of you with whatever the year brings. Thanks, as always, for being here for me.
You are loved.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

G Mom

I'm sure I've mention William before...haven't I? I think so. He's sweet. When he was born Marla and I started a little joke about me having shared custody. According to my plan, she gets feeding and diapers and waking up in the middle of the night and general daily care, and I get to go on fun activities, give lots of hugs and kisses, and adore him and be adored in return. Actually, now that I think about it, that's the arrangement I've had with all of the kids. But, with William I also get to share pictures and tell people that he's mine. I've held up my end of the deal pretty well.

I was talking to Marla today, and she said, "William has a new name for you, it's G-Mom. I asked him, 'You mean G and Mom?', and he said, 'No, G-Mom'. Even when he's saying his prayers he prays for his G-Mom."

My heart is melting.

He prays for me.

And he adds Mom to my name.

I asked Marla if that bothered her. She said that it didn't. So it looks like I am the backup mom, and I think it's the sweetest thing in the world.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I Like the Bings

My blogging friends have real life events going on! Sierra has decided to stay at the BYU-I this semester (even thought she's off track till April, they have tracks there so that they can... never mind, that'll take to long). She's taking online and evening classes and in all ways being a responsible grown up putting in extra effort towards her education. Good girl. Tiffany has skydiving passes in hand, and Nicole has adopted twin boys! They're gorgeous, and she seems to be very taken with them. Congratulations.

And what about Angie? Well I'm going to rant about the one thing that's going on in my life - television. There's a trend in the lives of our tv friends that I just hate, and it is spending at least one full season, usually more, painstakingly and heartbreakingly bringing two people who belong together together just to have them break up for some stupid reason in less time than it took to get them together. The emotional turmoil has been enough to make me consider suing for distress. Honestly, I've lost all patience with it, and I believe that this is why my favorite shows are free of will-they-or-won't-they couples. Modern Family, for example, is brilliantly funny, and you don't have to worry in the least about any of those couples breaking up. And Wipeout, well, that's just people getting hit in the face and knocked into a big pool of water. Did you see it last night? Ha, I'm still laughing.

Anyway, on the other hand, I'm about done with Glee, and the final nails in the coffin were Emma marrying someone other than Mr Scheuster and Finn breaking up with Rachel. For crying out loud. Why did we go through more than a year of watching them long for each other? What a waste of my time. There are other shows that I've dumped for the same reason, The Big Bang Theory and Grey's Anatomy being two of them.

I did stick with Friends through the long and tedious Ross and Rachel ordeal. But, that show had a beautifully redeeming factor - Chandler and Monica. Those two don't get enough credit. They are one of the best TV couples ever, and the best thing about them is that once they got together they stayed that way. We got to watch their relationship grow through dating, marriage, infertility, adoption and buying a house for their family on Long Island, all with them loving each other along the way. Why aren't there more stories like that out there? Do TV writers really think that viewers are only interested in the pain of being in love? I may be an old maid, but I'd still like to believe that being in love can be a happy time, and that good relationships last.

That's my rant. Thanks for listening. I was considering writing A Week in Review, but this is all I have to talk about, so we'll call it good here. Still, thanks, as always, for your kind attention. And of course you are loved (unlike poor Mr. Scheuster, who in spite of his hotness, singing voice and dance moves can't have a healthy relationship to save his life).

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Story from the Farm

I have a lot of stories about my little brother Courtney. Here is one of my favorites.

My dad worked for a few years for a sunflower research company. The sunflower fields were close to our home, and my siblings and I spent many summer days out in those fields. The company owned an old 1970-something Plymouth van, full sized, white with a dark green stripe through the middle. It was very good for hauling crews of grubby teens out to work.

One afternoon, Courtney and I were riding with Dad through the fields in that van. Court, who was maybe 7 years old, was in the front seat and looking at himself in the rear-view mirror. Something must have made him want a closer look, because he leaned out of his open window toward the mirror, hooked his arms over the door and got almost nose-to-nose with his reflection. Just then Dad slowed the van down and turned a corner. The inertia of the turn and the weight of Court’s body made his door swing open. He kept those arms hooked to the door and held on, his body dangling, for the full swing, and then he dropped into the dirt.

Dad shouted, “Well!” Dad always shouted “well” when something surprised and disgusted him beyond words.

He stopped the van. Courtney got up, brushed off the dirt, got back in the van, and we were on our way. He wasn’t hurt, or all that phased by it really. That was just one of the many things he fell out of, or off of. I’ll save those stories for another time.