Friday, January 31, 2014

So I apparently have an adult child...

Whether or not I am old enough or mature enough, life has a way of making things happen that I am never quite ready for. Whether or not I am old enough or mature enough, I realized this week that my child is, in fact, an adult.

At some point in our relationship you grew up. And as you did you took on more and more roles in my life. At some point you became less dependent on me and I became more dependent on you. You became a confidant. You became a role model. And you became my friend. That is a cherished and valued relationship for me. It was hard to let go of your childlike tendencies. It was hard to watch some of your failures. But each of those moments made us as close as we are today. And that friendship has been worth every heartache. 

But that relationship isn't done growing. We have a whole lifetime of evolution still. There will be more ups and downs. There will be more struggles and more heartaches. And I pray daily that there will be more friendship. 

One of the biggest struggles you and I deal with is control. Your dad pointed out to me this morning that so much of what you are doing right now is trying to be in control. We all deal with this. Work and school and church and other responsibilities dictate so much of our time. There are very little areas even in our adult life where we truly get to feel like we are in control of our finances, our emotions, or our choices. Keep in mind that I am not trying to control you. If I could or should have stopped you, I would have never let you serve a church mission. I would have never let you move across the country for school. I would have stopped you from declaring a major that seems fun, and tried to force a major that could guarantee 100% success 100% of the time. These, and so many others, are very adult choices that you made on your own. They take you further into an independent world. And they are reminders of how much our relationship really has changed. But these were your choices. And they were good ones. And even though I was terrified, even though I was worried, I trusted you to make them. It wasn't easy letting go. But I did. I resisted the urge to physically lock you in a room and pretend you were still a teenager. I resisted the urge to shelter you from any and everything that could have happened. That urge was there. And I resisted. 

There are many more of these adult choices coming. And they are yours to make. I will be terrified, and I will be worried. And sometimes I will see the picture clearer than you. Sometimes I will bite my tongue and let you fall. And sometimes I will do everything I can to guide you. Because that's what I do. I do not subscribe to the idea that a parents job ends. Ever. Not when a child turns 18. Not when a child seems past hope. I subscribe to the idea that families are forever. And I subscribe to the idea that I committed to be your mom for exactly that long. 

Please remember that my need to defend and protect you will never go away. Not because you are a child. But because you are my child. Regardless of your age, your success, your marital status, or your emotional state. Wherever you go, whatever you do, you are mine. And that kind of love just doesn't fade.

I believe in Kindness.

Last Sunday a good friend of mine was speaking in church. As usual, I was barely paying attention because I always seem to have 5 things that need my attention more than whoever is speaking. But I managed to catch a couple of phrases that my friend chose to use. And one in particular really stuck out to me. At one point she said the phrase, "I believe in kindness."

I'll admit it stuck out to me because it sounded silly to me when she said it. My mind kind of laughed as I thought, "What do you mean, you believe in kindness?!? Like you believe it exists?" That's silly. I know it's hard to find, but you know it exists. I believe in kindness, too. That's when my little brain-swirl started. I believe in kindness, too. Holy cow, I do believe in kindness. I believe that it exists. I believe that you can see evidence of it everywhere if you are looking for it. But my brain-swirl quickly added all new meaning to the word believe. Suddenly and without warning, I was believing in kindness in a whole new way.

Merriam-Webster defines the word 'believe' a couple of ways, but the one standing out to me today is "to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something." For the past week I have had a firm conviction that kindness, almost single-handedly, has the power to do some amazing things. It changes hearts. It changes days. It changes lives.

So, thank you, Good Friend, for standing up and saying something so simple that somehow changed my perspective. I have a new craft project for the week. I need to create a wall-decoration meant to alter the perspective of others. And to serve as a reminder to my children in their daily lives. I need to create something that simply states, "I believe in kindness."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

In Memory: Shaqual

A year ago today the world lost a truly amazing young woman. I have watched friends and family mourn that loss for a whole year now. Back in July I wrote this. I was getting ready to post it, but I just felt a little too angry and emotional. Today I'm at peace. Because today I'mso aware of the fact that she is also. Her time on earth was able to be so short because she needed so much less time to make so much bigger of an impact on the world than the rest of us. But here's the letter I wrote to her. From my heart. 

Happy Birthday, Shaqual.

I remember your 16th birthday like it was last year. I remember your smile and 
watching you do your hair. You were only 16. And already so gorgeous. There was 
probably never a period of teenage awkwardness for you. You seem like you've 
always been so full of happiness, mischief, and life.

It was your birthday. But it was actually my birthday, too. I turned 25 that 
year. So it was a pretty big birthday for both of us. You sent me one of those 
ridiculous MySpace messages. The ones with 30 questions like, "what color socks 
are you wearing right now," or, "who is the last person you kissed." One of the 
questions you answered was, "Where do you want to be when you turn 25?" Your 
response has been screaming in my head for 9 months now. You said, "Gross. 
That's sooo old. I hope I'm dead." 

I have told that story every year on our birthday. Every year it's been such a 
funny story because we both knew you didn't mean it. But there I was, 25 years 
YOUNG and realizing that through the eyes of a teenager, I was old. 25 has still 
been the hardest birthday for me. With my husband, and my two-year-old, and the 
help of a 16-year-old girl, it was the year I finally felt like an adult, even 
if I still refuse to act like one. 

But this year I won't tell the story the same way. The story isn't funny 
anymore. Its been haunting me since September. Tomorrow I won't get a text or a 
Facebook message from you. I won't wonder what you are doing and if you are 
celebrating too much. And this year, in your honor, I won't feel old. Because 31 
isn't old. And 25 isn't old. And 21 was just way too young. 

I spend more time than I should being angry. At Heavenly Father, at Life, and 
even at you. Everything about life sometimes just seems so unfair. But at the 
end of the day, I know it's ok. For whatever reason, you needed to go. Heavenly 
Father needed you. He has you. He loves you. He is taking care of you. So in a 
way it's strangely beautiful that your young gorgeous face will forever be 
frozen in time. This will be your most peaceful, rewarding birthday ever. And I 
hope you are enjoying every Heavenly moment.

Happy Birthday, Shaqual.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter 2013

Well, Easter Sunday is almost officially over. So I am rushing to get this blog entry completed before I fall asleep. I am feeling pretty on-the-ball by having all my photos on the computer and in a labeled folder on the day I actually took them! So prepare yourself for a barrage of family fun!

A few nights ago, Aunt Kimberly did pedicures for the girls. They were so excited about their cute purple toes that they had to take a few selfies before we headed to the neighborhood egg hunt. 

I can't tell you how meaningful it was for me to take my five children to the same exact egg hunt 
in the same old park that I went to for years and years as a child. 
I have soooo many memories of Spring Break and shorts and friends and life being fun and care free. 
I am excited that my kids are now making all those same memories. 

Everyone rode the cute little train. Even the twins got a turn. With Diva Hailey riding right behind with her little neighborhood bestie. (She is also visible in the first train photo sporting her awesome shades.)

There were also pony rides. The twins did not participate. But the big three had a blast!


It was a great Good Friday in the park.

Just a shot of the spoils of the morning. The Easter Bunny brought soccer socks/shin guards, cleats, and a soccer ball for the two big girls who are starting soccer on Saturday!!


These two videos are just some footage of the the twins hunting for eggs. Caitlin rushed into it and grabbed an egg and immediate chased down Abigail to put the egg in her basket. We aren't sure if she was being helpful or thoughtful or just didn't get the concept. But either way it was so so cute. Abbie quickly checked out of the hunt because the bubble containers were much cooler. Caitlin rocked things though. She found about 10 right off the bat. And she was even smart enough to open the door on the entertainment center to get one. And determined enough to keep reaching and struggling for one that was just barely out of reach. I was thrilled to catch both of those moments on my iPhone.

And my parents photographed it from the other side on their iPhones. Technology. Weirdness.

Easton just looked like a stud. And was all grown up.

me and the girls. sweetness times four.

Family photos where babies have their eyes shut. But I still like the photo.

And possibly my favorite candid of the day. Brandon is the only one looking at the camera. 
I REALLY love this one.

And this group.

Happy Easter, everyone.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 13, 2013

On Hailey's actual birthday we went to Friendly's with my parents and Uncle Brett and Aunt Kimberly. 
This was obviously an after-photo. 

This picture is sooooo cute, that I really should end with this one.


But instead I will insert some shots from this morning. Like this one where Paige made Hailey a name tag and she was THRILLED to wear it. And then the big girls watched the Lorax and had their own little dance party at the end. Cute memories.

Here, this is a good one for us to end on. Much better.

Hailey got Tangled!

Miss Hailey turned 5 last week. And because of her love of the Disney movie, Tangled, we went with a Tangled Viewing Party as a theme this year. This is her beautiful yarn wig that she wore, and will go great with her Rapunzel costume when (and if) she ever gets her dress-up box back from storage...

These were some of the party favors. We made little mini-braids attached to tiaras for the girls. And little frying pans (paper plates with plastic knives attached to the back) for the boys. 

My favorite project of the day was the Tower Cupcakes. I saw the idea on the internet. 
And it was so simple but so so cute. If you are familiar with the movie, it's great how 
much these cupcakes actually look like the tower from the castle. 
They were served up on frying pan plates. If you haven't seen the movie, then you wouldn't understand. 
You've really gotta see this movie.

Popcorn and braids and frying pans in hand, these were a few of Hailey's friends from primary and three of her favorite sisters. All enjoying a really cute Disney flick. Cute kids!

Happy birthday my big 5 year old!

Nursery: a last first?

So the twins started nursery today. Last Sunday should have been their first Sunday, but Easton was sick, so they stayed home with Dad. It was crazy to me to see these two little babies walk into nursery and stare blankly at the Stevens (Chelsea and Marcus). We have two nurseries in our ward. C&M are in charge of the younger group which is where the twins obviously are. And my friend Melanie and I run the older group which is where Easton ended up. But, still, think this one through with me. I have THREE kids in nursery. THREE. How lucky am I???

Every mom thinks their babies are not big enough to be in nursery, but mine literally are not big enough. At their 18 month check up this week, they weighed in at a whopping 20.5 lbs. And they are both shorter than any of my other kids were at 12 months! But they walked right in, and sat in the little chairs, and played with the toys, and managed to not have melt-downs until about 5 minutes before the end.