Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Truth

Mr Hanlon.
My high school senior English teacher.
Hands down, the best English teacher on the planet.
He did not just teach us how to dot our i's and cross our t's and where to properly place our commas.
He inspired me to write.
He was one of the greats, and he in turn inspired greatness from me.
He shared with his class full of pimply teenagers his writing, his thoughts and his passions.
His writing down right touched me.
He was so eloquent and truthful with his words.
I can honestly say I don't remember the topics of his writing, but I do remember how I felt as he read them aloud to his class.
I felt like I wanted to be better.
I wanted to show him how great I could be.
Not because he demanded it, but because he saw a glimpse of that greatness in me and I believed him when he told me so, through his writings.
His class room was, let's say for sake of time, a little less than tidy.
If a student turned in a paper that he considered a great work he asked if he could keep a copy for his own personal use.
His lecture hall was filled with stacks upon stacks of papers from former students.
They were like veritable mountains, there must have been thousands of them.
Even those stacks of papers were inspiring.
I wanted so badly to write a paper that would be worthy of his stacks, to become a part of the legend and the greatness.
Then, it happened.
He handed back our latest essays and there were no red markings in the body of my paper.
I turned to the back page to see, scrawled in his infamous red ink, the words: Excellent, you're best work! May I please have a copy?
My heart nearly stopped, I had done it!
Here's where the story gets interesting.
The assignment for the essay was to go to a public place and watch someone.
Could be anywhere and anyone, or even a group of people.
Then we were to write about what we had observed in those people and places.
I never went anywhere after school.
I did not do his assignment as he told us to.
I have a million reasons why I never actually went and observed as he had asked.
My mom never left the couch, so asking her to take me somewhere, no matter the cause, seemed like a foreign thought to me.
I didn't even consider it.
I walked 3 miles home from school every day after eating little breakfast and no lunch because I was too proud to stand in the "free lunch" line.
By the time I got home I was tired, beyond tired.
I had just enough energy to make some sort of dinner and homework, then I fell into a comma of T.V. and sleep.
The thought of going somewhere extra was too much.
Instead I made up a pretend scenario in my mind.
I wrote about a fictitious trip to Toys "R" Us and seeing a little girl in the Barbie Doll isle.
I described the Pepto Bismol pink and the look of desire in the girls' eyes.
In my mind the girl was thin with stringy hair and worn and dirty clothes, obviously not very well off.
Her eyes were a little too large for her face and she held the doll for a really long time, staring at the beautiful creature inside the box.
My story ended with the girl's mother briskly coming for the girl and yanking her from the moment of bliss as, just for a moment, she held a little piece of childhood.
I described how the mother, with her tired, worn face, had not even noticed the child like look of longing in her daughter's eyes.
I wondered, in my paper, if the little girl had even ever had a Barbie, or any doll for that matter.
I don't remember how I ended the paper, but it must have been fabulous.
I do remember that the best thing I had ever written was a lie.
I wondered how that could be.
This week I realized why it was that the best thing I had ever written could have been this fake story I had made up.
I never did tell Mr. Hanlon that I cheated on his assignment.
The truth is, I may not have done the assignment just as Mr.Hanlon asked, but that story was true.
That story was about myself.
It has taken me 15 years to realize that.
There was never a moment in my childhood when I stood in Toys "R" Us staring at a Barbie Doll when my mother yanked me away.
But the feelings of that little girl were my feelings.
The description of wanting a childhood so badly, but not even being noticed, were my feelings.
Even the physical descriptions were spot on.
That is why, even 15 years later, my heart breaks just a little bit when I think of that poor, thin girl standing all alone in the Barbie Doll isle.


Dear Doodle,
You are eight! I really can't see how that's possible when it feels like you were just born last week. What an amazing journey we've been on together. You have taught me ever so much more than I could dream of teaching you. I want to be better because of you. You really do bring out the best in me. You are always so eager to do what is right, I want to be just like you when I grow up. You make me realize, if only in some small way, how Heavenly Father loves each one of us, His children. The joy I find when reading to you, or you reading to me, or catching you being kind to your brothers when you don't even know I'm watching is priceless. I would not trade it for anything in all the world. I love being your mom, even when it's hard and I seem grumpy, I still love you and would do anything I possibly could to make this life better for you. Your baptism day was so beautiful. You looked just like an angel. You have such a sweet spirit, I just can't help but be so full of joy when I think about that day. You are such a great example to everyone around you. I love you, girl! Happy Birthday!
Love, Mom

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Birthday and A Blunder

Dear Dubs,
Happy Birthday, my boy. I can't even express in words how much I love you. I think you are hands down one of the best boys on the planet. I wish I knew how I got lucky enough to be your mom. You have always been my biggest snuggler. All I have to do is look you in the eye and you melt into a gigantic hug. It does this mother's heart good. I love how much you love your brothers and sister. I think it's the cutest thing in the world when you give Baby those sweet kisses and he kisses you back, right on the smacker! It seems like only yesterday when you were tiny and would sit with me for hours and be totally content. Now you are so grown up and learning new things every day. It gives me so much joy to see the little person you are becoming. I love you, little man. Happy Birthday!
Love, Mom

There's nothing quite like a little boy's first bike, complete with training wheels and all.
In the 3 weeks since his birthday, Dubs has already worn a whole right through the entire rear tire.
He would get going as fast as he could then skid to a stop, over and over and over again.
You should have seen our driveway, it was totally scared with marks from his tire.
He was so heartbroken when it popped.
We went and got a new tire a few days later.
The day after we got it all put back together we went for a ride on a local parkway that runs all through the Ogden valley along the Weber River.
One section of the trail goes down hill and curves at the same time.
As we approached this section and Dubs started his descent, he lost control at one of the turns and fell off the trail and down the hill among rocks and sticks and dirt.
There were 2 other bikers right behind him.
The first one stopped when she saw the crash to help.
The second tripped over the first, entangling the 2 bikes and sending the second rider rolling over the first.
This all happened in a matter of seconds.
It was like watching a cartoon.
We got Dubs and his bike back on track, he was OK except a teeny weeny scrape on his knee.
The other bikes were far from OK.
They looked like a circus act and I wondered how on earth we'd ever get them apart.
Finally they were able to pull them apart, but neither bike was usable after that.
One of the tires was so badly bent, it would not spin at all.
All said and done no one was hurt and we all laughed about the irony as we parted ways.
That's what you get for trying to do something nice!
Thanks strangers, for sacrificing your bikes for my son's safety!

Hello Agian, Hello

Wow, it's been too long since I've blogged.
And I know why.
It's guilt.
I promised a post about Nicholeen Peck and her fabulous parenting ideas that have been changing our lives.
But then I started reading her book and I realized that there is no possible way I could blog about all the things that have helped us.
Really, you just need to buy her book and read her blog and learn for yourself.
For me it has been priceless.
Best $20 I've ever spent.
I will say there are a few things we don't see eye to eye on and things I definitely will not be changing, but that's what's great about it. It really makes me think about our family vision and how I can, as the mom, help our family become what God has intended us to be.
So I lolly gagged and avoided my blog and the promised post for nearly a month.
In the mean time we've had 2 birthdays without letters from mom and a baptism without my recorded memories and photos.
Silly, silly me.
Not to worry, I'm letting myself off the hook.
If you want to read about Nicoleen (which I highly recommend) you'll have to do it on your own time.
For now, I have more important things to blog about.
Starting tomorrow...