Tuesday, August 25, 2009

my morning musings

I just read my niece Tracy's latest post on her blog, and started to write a comment to her, but decided as it got longish that I would make it a post of my very own. Tracy, as most of you know, is a busy mom of five. She is a wonderful person, an amazing mother, and has talents in many areas. I admire her. I think I am about seven years further down the road of life from her, but I look up to her and appreciate her example. Her post talked about the delicate balancing act that is motherhood.

I'm pondering whether to even ring in on this issue -- so much to say but probably so little to contribute! I guess I am now a "middlish-mom", rather than a youngish mom. Yesterday was our first day of school, and I was standing on the playground of the elementary school with some of my 'middlish' friends after we had just dropped off our youngest children. In this particular group, we had combined mothering experience totalling 91 years. We were noticing all the young, cute moms (we've termed them the 'snowboarding moms' for some reason) who were dropping off their first children. They were eager, some looked stressed -- we collectively were . . . neither. Just peaceful, maybe a little tired (we had to get up with our Seminary kids, after all), with a different perspective than we used to have. We were chuckling about how we used to be so much better at being involved in all the school stuff than we are now. And we realized, somewhat wistfully, that none of these younger, eager moms had any idea how much we've contributed in the past. We've made many phone calls, volunteered at school events, attended countless meetings, balanced many things, and managed the chaos. Now we kiss our kids and say, "see you after school!" and politely decline when asked to be the PTSA Treasurer for the year or organize the clean-up crew for the school barbecue. Don't get me wrong, we still volunteer in our kids' classrooms, go on field trips, etc. but we have somewhat lower expectations of ourselves now. Sometimes in commercials or movies there will be someone who is standing still or moving slowly while everything around them moves in super-fast motion. That's sorta what we felt like, and in some way we felt rather sorry for the anxious fast-movers. And also very grateful for them! Somebody's got to keep up the enthusiasm and clean up after the barbecue!

The five of us decided to go out for a spontaneous breakfast at Mom & Pop's Diner where we sat, laughed, reminisced and marveled at the passage of time. One of us just married off her oldest child this summer (I taught her in what used to be Achievement Days). Another one has her oldest serving a mission (I used to drive him to Cub Scouts). My oldest is a senior in high school and counting down the minutes until he can launch, while in the meantime figuring out the ups and downs of having a steady girlfriend. The other two moms have oldest daughters who are Kristi's age, so we were discussing hormones, messy bedrooms and AP classes. Three hours later we thought we'd better go home and clean up the before-school dishes before our kids started coming home and wondered what we'd done all day!

I am not fortunate to live close to any of my family, immediate or extended. But I am fortunate to have friends who I have known since we were young moms, and who I hope to have until we are old grandmothers. When I sheepishly admitted to Keith last night about how I spent my morning, his comment was, "You guys deserved it." I would agree.

I don't think there's any way to avoid the chaos that is motherhood. And so if we continue to strive to avoid it, we will feel frustrated daily. I am definitely a control freak to some degree, and if my house isn't relatively tidy at all times I feel like I can't breathe. When the noise level rises too high, I can't think straight and I start to shut down. So the kids came home yesterday and unloaded (their feelings and their backpacks), and it was noisy and messy and there were forms that needed signing, and complaints that needed hearing, and lists of school supplies to purchase, and everyone needed my attention at the same time. And I needed a walk around the block. But we tackled each thing one by one and slowly the chaos diminished. The rest of the day included tennis practice for Kristi, soccer practice for Austin, golfing with the missionaries for Brennan (it was their P-Day and Brennan has a friend that works at the golf course that he's trying to share the gospel with), and I did get my walk around the block in, with Dallin. We managed to have dinner together, though it was short, and the house was peaceful by 9. Well, maybe 10.

And today's a new day. I'm not sure there is much better advice in the delicate balance of motherhood than to try anew with each rising sun. Pray and count your blessings. Turn your worries over to the Lord as much as you can. Read the scriptures. Have faith and see the positive. Don't take things to personally or too seriously. Today's struggles pass to make room for tomorrow's, and the same can be said of the joys. Relationships matter more than most anything else. Adversity is real but is part of the plan so have faith, not fear.

And now for my bowl of cereal. Have a great day.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Oh me, oh my!

Wow, I think I may have forgotten how to do this blogging thing. My last post was actually before the last day of school in early June?? Pretty funny. As I re-read that post, I felt quite satisfied at all we have successfully accomplished in our busy summer.

EFY? Check. Brennan and Kristi had a great time. They loved having David and Kenzie join them, and it was a great experience for all. David and Brennan didn't take any pictures of themselves on their cell phones, but the girls did!

Austin's vacation in Santa Cruz? He had a fabulous time and came back very tan and a little blonder:

Pioneer Trek? A smashing success. Once again, I think Keith is amazing. True, he had wonderful people called to help him pull it off, but he has such vision and leadership abilities. Brennan and Kristi (and every other youth I've spoken to) had a terrific experience. Keith literally couldn't talk about it for a few days afterwards without getting a little teary. Sorry, Brennan, no one from your group sent me any pictures.

The fearless leader:

NYLT for Austin? Not his favorite week. Two words: smelly tentmate. But, hey, it's done and he'll never have to go again!

Family Reunion '09 -- so great. Most of you who might read this blog were there, so no need to say much. We loved seeing you and catching up a little. We have such an amazing family, don't we??
Here are the brave Provo River Tubers!

Brennan had a great time with his terrific cousins!

So did Kristi!!

Girls' Camp for Kristi and me? Even more fun than I thought it might be. Kristi always loves it and looks forward to it each year, but while I have gone up several times over the years, it's never been for more than a night. This week I was a stake leader and stayed all week. No tent, no cabin, just a sleeping bag under the stars, right out there with all the mosquitoes. And it was super fun.

Basketball tournaments and scout activities? All good. Brennan has continued to have some foot troubles, which has made it impossible for him to play football, but he is very optomistic that he will be 100% by basketball season, which is his first priority by a mile.

Church history trip for Kristi and her dad? This is the only thing that didn't happen this summer. They have rainchecked it for early next summer.

Trips to Nevada Beach? We've been several times; not close to once a week, but several times. And it's beautiful and relaxing and good therapy for any stress. Open invitation to all of you.

School begins in about two weeks, and nobody is ready. I have nothing further to say on that subject. It's hard to believe another summer is just about gone.

And by the way, my little boy Brennan is now eighteen years old. I can't even think of what to write about that. I have so many emotions about it, I won't even try. Suffice it to say, we love him and are very proud of the man he is becoming. He just had his senior picture taken, but is already looking past graduation to college and a mission. It's all happening much too fast for me.

Enjoy the rest of summer!