Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth

Last night I took a much-needed hour to enjoy my favorite time of year (love, love, love that crispy-cool-breezy-snappy-nippy early autumn season!) after the kids went to bed. While I am sorely tempted to lock them in their rooms, lock the front door, and see if anyone notices I'm gone, I did the responsible mommy thing and had a neighbor stay with them.

Apparently Grace had a bloody nose while I was gone. I checked and rechecked the facts, as Grace is my only child who, to date, has never had a bloody nose. Mercie gets them regularly (that happens when you fall asleep picking your nose each night), and Mia is prone to them (that happens when you throw such freaking huge tantrums that you break little blood vessels in your nose), and even Eric has had a couple. But not Grace. Until last night.

This morning I saw the evidence on the blankets. Mystified--but not really expecting an answer--I asked Grace why her nose bled.

Very matter-of-factly she clued me in: "Well, I was picking my nose to get some boogers out and I had my finger in it like this [demonstrates], and Mia just banged my hand very hard and my nose started bleeding."

Mia indignantly corrected her. "I did NOT bang you very hard; I slapped you very hard."

Just so we're clear.

Mia may not always be my most obedient, thoughtful, kind, or well-behaved child, but she is rather insanely honest. Ya gotta kinda like that in a kid. I'd like that in more adults.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Ramble with Mia

Today we went up to Bridal Veil Falls. I realized this morning that the kids have only seen BVF from their car seats, which hardly does it justice. Plus, our FHE lesson this last week was on the beautiful things Heavenly Father created for us, so it seemed like a good idea to throw a little field trip in there and drive the point further home.

Judging from the splashing, rock collections, mud stomping, and near drownings, it was a huge success.

As we were ambling down the trail back to the car, Mia shared her observations:

"Wow, Jesus is pretty good at making stuff. I didn't even know Jesus made all this stuff, like trees and streams and waterfalls. He must be smart, like me. I am smart, and I am good at making stuff. Me and Jesus match. But not Eric. Eric is not smart. Sometimes Eric is smart, but not like me and Jesus. But I love Eric. He is cute, and he's my little boy. But he's not smart."

I'm thinking next week's lesson might be on the virtue of humility...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Gospel(s) of Grace

Tonight Grace climbed up on my bed, pulled my scriptures onto her lap, and began to "read." Verbatim, here is her account:

"And Jesus went into the temple of God, and threw out all of them people who bought and sold in the temple, and threw the tables and chairs of those people. And He said to them, 'my house shall be called a house of prayer. It's a happy place. You have made it a den of badness. In my house, as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.' We believe in God the Eternal Father and in His Son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost. Amen. And the blind and the lame comed to Him in the temple, and He healed them."

Not bad for a five-year old budding theologian.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I Have a Bed, I Have a Bed, I Have a Bed!!!

Sing it with me: I have a bed, I have a bed, I have a bed! It's a very good thing, this having a bed.

In the emotional aftermath of my very recent divorce, the bed was one of the first things to go, for a variety of reasons, most of which should be rather obvious. And for many reasons, most of which are far less obvious, I didn't get around to replacing it right away. In fact, Grace recently announced that for Christmas she was going to get me a bed.

She doesn't need to now because I HAVE A BED, I HAVE A BED, I HAVE A BED!

Even better, I have friends. I didn't think through the whole getting a bed thing very well, and wasn't exactly prepared to cart it home and up the stairs. I had a fuzzy idea of somehow doing it all myself. This was at least semi-plausible because A.) I've been obsessed with proving that I can do really hard, tough things as a kind of psychological knee-jerk response to the inevitable vulnerability that comes with divorce, and B.) I HAVE done some really hard things, like moving a 7-foot leather couch up the stairs all by myself, so theoretically a queen size bed shouldn't be that far from feasible.

Theoretically. In reality I'd been up since 2 am and I couldn't even think through my barely-fleshed out plan of tying the bed to the top of the Suburban (if that's even legal...).

But I didn't have to strain my brain or my back--much--because I have friends. Having a bed is a lovely thing. Having friends is better. Having both is perfect!

Lesson learned: being tough and doing hard things all by yourself is a good thing. Letting people help you sometimes is also a very good thing. I'm counting myself lucky to be surrounded by friends and good people, as this is just the latest of many, many, super-many times I've been saved/aided/rescued/assisted/helped/relieved/supported/served and oh-so-blessed by them. Caring for my kids, bringing us dinner, choosing my clothes (if you know me IRL you understand what a service this is), mowing the lawn, letting me vent, telling me I'm stronger and smarter than I think I am even when it's sometimes a charitable fudging of the truth...
Most times I feel pretty certain that I know what heaven will be like because I already live among angels.
It certainly helps me sleep better at night (pun fully intended).

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Beards, Booze, and Zoobies

I think my hearing is going out in my old age, which isn't nearly as annoying as it could be, mostly because it leads to so many unintentionally amusing moments.

Yesterday a group of the best and the brightest young minds at my school crammed into a room for a training meeting. In the pre-meeting buzz someone mentioned another school up the hill that shall remain nameless, and one of the quirks of said school, the infamous beard card.

For those who are not familiar with Zoobie-land, this is an actual, real thing, where in order to wear facial hair you must have written permission from various higher-ups. I can vouch for this because in the course of directing plays at the aforementioned school I have signed these strange documents and forwarded them all the way up the chain. I'm pretty sure they eventually land on the prophet's desk, where he ultimately gives the thumbs up or thumbs down, probably dependent on whether the Lord has any plans to call the hapless victim as a bishop or stake president, in which case facial hair would be slightly more serious than an ongoing tobacco addiction but not quite as serious as say, committing adultery or cheating on your income taxes.

Enter my hearing problem.

I didn't hear "beard" card. I heard "beer" card.

The students corrected me, but I begged them to stick with my version instead. Beer card is much funnier. I'm pretty sure several of my friends from college days, and at least one or two ex-boyfriends, would have been lining up for that one. Yes, K, I'm thinking of you. All those nights you locked yourself in the bathroom and chugged down a bottle of Ny-Quil...a beer card would have been so much cheaper, and probably safer, too.

I vaguely recall that the beard paperwork required reasons for the facial hair exemption, like medical problems or religious beliefs or being cast in a theatrical piece portraying someone like, say, the school's founding prophet.

I'm highly entertained by imagining the checklist of allowable reasons for a beer card.

I'm even more entertained by imagining all the other exemptions it could lead to. In short order we could see the fornication card, the porno card, the 'they're-not-really-drugs-because-they're-prescriptions' card, the high-stakes poker card, maybe even the free-pass-on-home-teaching card (easy medical exemption there--I've had home teachers who I swear were allergic to the whole home teaching thing. A long time ago. Not my current ones. Just so we're clear). My personal favorite would be the cuss card. As a lover of all things wordy, I admit that some of my top choices are words that I can't use around church people unless I'm quoting J. Golden Kimball or the bishop I had as a teen. I'd get a lot of mileage from a cuss card.

Although come to think of it, if people had to go through a multilayered and complex authorization process in order to commit a sin, they'd probably give it up and decide no sin is worth that much. It's probably good that this rigorous procedure is reserved for the truly serious issues facing universities today.

No hearing aids for me; just bring on the bleeping beer-d card.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Day of Remembering

This morning when I hassled all the kids out to the car they were delighted to see a flag on our front yard. This happens on select days of the year, compliments of our local Boy Scout troop.

For the kids this is a joyful occasion, since anything bright, large, colorful, and blowing in the breeze--on your very own front lawn--is reason to celebrate. President's Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day--each one is an excuse for my darlings to dance around the flag pole and comment enthusiastically all day long. They've recently figured out that there is a method to the madness, and so on each magical day that the flag appears they ask me why we are "celebrating."

When Grace innocently posed the question today I was stuck. The only thing I could think was that awful moment when I watched a plane fly into the second tower, watched the first and then the second tower fall from the safety of my living room, in the comfort of my pajamas, knowing that nothing would ever feel truly safe or comfortable again.

How do you explain that to a little girl who wasn't even born, who hasn't known anything different than this post-9/11 world she inherited?

Tonight as I taught my latest crop of bright young thinkers someone offhandedly made a comment about hoping that 9/11 would soon become a 'real' holiday so we could have the day off and actually celebrate it. I was surprised by the vehemence of my own reaction.

It's not a day to celebrate. Ever. On this one issue I actually agree with George W. It's a day of remembrance.

I know the arguments. We combat terrorism by going forward with life, even celebrating survival and resilience, the human spirit and the greatness of America. We celebrate our unique American culture by wallowing in commercialism and running up our credit cards and eating too much and lighting lots of dangerous explosives that look really cool. Celebrating lets us thumb our noses at those who tried to knock us down but only made us stronger.

I know the arguments; I just don't agree with them.

A few days ago a colleague sent me a provocative article on how digital media is influencing the learning and thinking patterns of young students. Embedded in the article was the idea for a 'wonderful' virtual reality game that would simulate concentration camp experiences so that students could learn about the Holocaust in a powerful way, without even realizing that they were learning about it because it was all in a game.

My gut response was that some things just aren't meant to be games. In that same vein, some things just aren't meant to be celebrated.

Every September 11 I remember. I remember that hate and intolerance carry a high price, and very often innocent people pay that price. I remember that this country has a remarkable potential to come together when we need to, and an unmatched capacity for compassion. I remember stories of heroism and selflessness. I remember lists of names on the television screen. I remember unending photos of people who were loved, prayed for, and desparately missed.

I cried when I watched the towers come down. All I could think--and not very coherently--was how many thousands of families would never forget this day, would have it seared into their hearts and woven throughout the reality of their lives in ways that I can barely imagine.

The least that I can do each September 11 is remember.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Weighty Matters

My best moments since losing nearly 70 pounds:

1.) Carrying my very heavy 50+ pound daughter up the stairs and realizing that I used to carry MORE than this much extra weight ALL THE TIME! No wonder I have more energy and stamina. No wonder random aches and pains have disappeared. No wonder I can move faster and more easily and life is just a heck of a lot more fun!

2.) This moment has happened a few times, and I enjoyed every single one: running into former students who don't recognize me! What a happy reason to get a second glance from friends.

3.) Shopping for normal size clothes! I forgot how much pure fun shopping can be when you can pick up pretty much anything on the rack and it fits. Lane Bryant can kiss my smaller (and slightly more toned) butt--I've rediscovered the joy of shopping.

4.) When a grocery store checker was skeptical that I was truly the person in my driver's license picture. I could have smooched her right there in the checkout aisle.

5.) I swung Gracie up for a big hug and she wrapped her arms and legs all the way around me! Yay for great hugs, made better, in Gracie lingo, "because Mommy's tummy is waaaay smaller."

I'm less of a person than I used to be, and as Martha Stewart would say, that's a very good thing.