Thursday, May 14, 2015

Coming as Babies

Believing what I believe about our eternal natures – believing that, before we came to earth, we were mature spirits – capable of choice and great wisdom and intelligence – I sometimes find myself looking at my babies and children and thinking something sort of like . . . “What on EARTH?”

Hahah. It sounds terrible. It’s just, with several of my children, I have felt a connection and awareness of their mature and noble spirits – before they were born. And the disparity between that . . . and the helpless little babies they come to me as – babies who can’t even talk and, the minute they can pick up anything, start trying to shove things like bark chips into their mouths . . . just seems a bit comical. Almost ridiculous!

I can just picture us up there – with all our reasoning and wits about us – looking down on earth before coming and saying, as we chewed on our lip a bit skeptically, “Soooo . . . I’m just going to . . . start out as one of THOSE, then? . . . You’re sure about this? It seems like they do a lot of . . . I don’t know . . . just drooling and trying to crawl cluelessly off of beds and stuff. . . .”

Photo May 13, 6 33 53 PM

It does seem a bit humorous to me on occasion. Almost as if I don’t recognize my children in this funny little state of being.

But, this morning, when Summer woke up, Mike mixed up a bottle and carried it, along with Summer, into me in bed. I tucked one arm under her, wrapped the other securely around her middle and let my cheek press to her forehead while I half-slept for a moment longer. Her little sister – the one who is currently growing a little body for herself – seemed to wake too; and all the while that I snuggled Summer – listening to her quite little swallowing sounds – I could feel kicking and rolling about from this new one coming.

And, at that moment, like at a thousand moments like it; it seemed the most incredibly beautiful and perfect way imaginable for a mortal life to go about starting. Maybe we loved . . . I don’t know . . . in many better ways before we came here – before our natures had to take on an element of fallen mortalness to them. But THIS? Could we ever ever in billions of millenia have learned to love like this? Like we learn to love by having a helpless, drooling, bark-eating little baby in our care?

I don’t know. Maybe. But, if they had any say in the matter, I sure appreciate my children agreeing to come as babies. “OK. Fine. I’ll go that way. I’ll struggle my way through ABCs and learning the ‘pincer grasp’ so my darn Mom can learn amazing things about love.”

Thank you, babies and children of mine.

The End.

(And yah, it seems like a baby picture of some sort would be good here. But I haven’t taken any since yesterday’s blog posts except for that one with my cell phone of Penny at the park last night. So . . . make it somehow “fit” this post in your mind.)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fretting, a Reprimand, and Hope

Last month found me feeling an unusual (more than usual?) amount of anxiety over my kids. Over . . . I don’t know . . . raising my kids, watching them make their choices, . . . and fretting that those choices might not be the ones that will bring them the most joy; won’t be the ones that will lead them in paths of light and expansion.

It has become somewhat clear to me that, in many ways, raising tiny people actually has been relatively easy. A six-year-old Jesse moaning that church is too long and he wants to go home is, I imagine, a very different thing from a teenager telling you they no longer want to go to church, and, that . . . a very different thing from a son or daughter caught up in a cycle of decisions that weaken their inward spirit, pull light from them, and blind them to logic.

I’m good at . . . fearing in advance sometimes, and these thoughts were truly weighing on me.

It felt unbearable – the thought of seeing their perfectly bright souls pulled into darkness and confusion. It made me think of those five wise virgins – how they must have wished they COULD have simply poured their oil – their experience and wisdom and understanding -- into the vessels of their five misguided friends.

There was a talk in our recent General Conference that told the story of an old medicine man talking with a new young doctor. The doctor asked the medicine man if he could teach him his dance. The medicine man replied with something like, “I can teach you the steps, but I can’t make you hear the music.”

Everyone loved the talk. And I enjoyed it too. I even used it for a Family Night lesson the following Monday; but . . . it also exacerbated my panic a bit because I felt like . . . “Well, I am showing my kids the steps. I am hoping that the things I teach them will eventually allow them to ‘hear the music’, to know what I know and feel what I feel; but, if, in doing the steps, they never hear it, they never recognize who they truly are and connect to things beyond themselves? Well, just like those five virgins, I can’t force my oil into them. I can’t force them to recognize the voice of our Father – the familiar voice of home.”

Thoughts of them bringing misery into their lives and even, as a side, the lives of their future families had me feeling very much like . . . all of this would have been for naught: all of this stretching beyond what feels reasonable to bring these specific spirits into our family; all of the work and even the joy felt in being a mother . . . it would all have been for nothing; all of the pleasure I take in raising them and finding joy in them and writing about that joy . . . it would all be a farce.

I won’t try to write all of the thoughts and insights that I had during this time of worry as I prayed, pondered, read, talked with Mike, talked with sisters, etc. But I will share one small thing that I felt.

It was simply . . . a reprimand.

It makes me laugh to type that because it was gentle and loving and actually filled me with hope, but it was a reprimand all the same. A calm but firm and certain voice simply telling me that I was wrong. I was wrong to assume any part of this plan – of this family, of my children coming to me – could be for naught. Ever. I was wrong to think that continuing to find joy and happiness in my family – even if things went very differently for all of them than I might choose myself – would be in any way false; that the Lord would, in fact, expect me to embrace and continue to celebrate every joy, and light-hearted moment of humor, and accomplishment that any of us experienced. I felt a reprimand for doubting His plan. For forgetting that I once acknowledged it as a perfect plan – leagues ahead of Satan’s – and that I would do so again. That, even after actually living it, with all it’s pitfalls and messiness, I would STILL choose it – still praise its perfectness and beauty.

I don’t know how this factors in with our children; with loved ones, whose hearts are practically our own, having lives full of pain and hurt or addiction or darkness. I don’t know how this factors in with agency and choice. I only know that I felt very strongly that I was to have complete hope. That I was to know that every good and wonderful thing would always, somehow, be an option for my loved ones. That there was nothing ahead in my life or theirs that would catch Heavenly Father by surprise or have him saying, “Well, shoot, I didn’t see that coming.” I felt it was only my perspective that was limited.

There were more thoughts. More, “But what ifs . . .” and “Well then how . . .”s, but this blog post could go on forever. So, I will end with a few bits of wisdom from others I admire:

“Amid all this, God, who lives in ‘eternal now,’ is relentlessly and lovingly accomplishing His work, using His unique foreknowledge to ensure that all His purposes will prevail – not just some of them.” – Neal A. Maxwell

“The great Jehovah contemplated the whole of the events connected with the earth . . . before it rolled into existence, or ever ‘the morning stars sang together’ for joy. . . . He knows the situation of both the living and the dead, and has made ample provision for their redemption.” – Joseph Smith

I love “ample provision”.

And last, from the book Jesus the Christ: “But the purposes of God, as they ever have been and ever shall be, are infinitely superior to the deepest designs of men and devils . . .”

My kids may stumble. There may be times of darkness and confusion. We may have hard paths to trek across to get where we are going, but we chose, long before coming here, “an infinitely superior” plan. And somehow things will be good for us. I know it. And, in the mean time, we’ll muddle through all the fear and mistakes and vexing worries. We’ll pray and hope and we’ll have a whole lot of enjoyment and laughs and happiness too.  And nothing that goes . . . wrong . . . will ever make me feel false for still enjoying and shouting out about the parts that are good.

Summer, summer, and Cell-Phone Shots

Photo May 07, 8 11 14 PM

I’m beginning to have so much fun with our little Summersby. That sounds wrong I suppose. As if perhaps I haven’t enjoyed her before. But I have enjoyed her. And loved her. And adored her. But . . . fun? Maybe. Maybe it was earlier. I only know that it most definitely is fun now. And getting more fun. 
Photo May 04, 3 28 17 PMPhoto May 05, 7 39 44 AMPhoto May 12, 1 18 51 PMPhoto May 13, 10 34 45 AM

I just love so much the whole process of seeing them learn to interact and respond. I love them developing preferences and anticipating things before they happen. I love seeing them choose where they want to go and what they are interested in (even if “what they are interested in” typically has to be immediately taken away from them lest they choke on it, rip it, or break it). I love them imitating. I love them recognizing, not just when we are being funny, but when they are funny themselves (and expecting an appropriate response of laughter from their family). I love them feeding themselves and demanding to have what others are eating.

And, while all of those things have been happening gradually since birth, they are just happening in such full force right now! And this is just the beginning of it! The start of the things I most adore! There will be walking and learning little words soon and navigating stairs and . . . it’s just so FUN to me. I really love the phase we have entered and the phase we are heading into.
Photo Apr 27, 1 58 05 PMPhoto Apr 30, 4 12 44 PMPhoto Apr 30, 4 30 41 PMPhoto May 04, 2 44 07 PM

And . . . it probably doesn’t hurt that she has just barely grown big enough to begin fitting into the box of clothes containing some of my very very favorite little girl clothes: clothes that are darling; doubly darling for being all tied up in my mind with memories of her sisters (the last of whom wore these clothes SEVEN YEARS ago!). Particular clothes shouldn’t make having a baby more fun. I know it. And yet . . . you should have seen me nearly pass out of sheer happiness as I pulled things out of that box this week!

Anywho, summer (the season) is nearly upon us. My kids will be out at the end of next week which means the excitement of end-of-year programs; the start of recreation baseball and softball; and the anticipation of sleeping in, staying up late, swimming, Bear Lake, camping, cousins, parades and fireworks. Of course, much of the summer ends up being utterly ordinary, but this anticipation of its coming? It’s pretty great.
Photo Apr 25, 4 47 20 PMPhoto Apr 26, 8 39 28 AMPhoto May 01, 7 00 40 PMPhoto May 02, 1 17 17 PMPhoto May 02, 1 21 56 PMPhoto May 11, 2 24 14 PMPhoto Apr 28, 3 47 45 PMPhoto Apr 30, 8 22 25 AMPhoto May 03, 2 56 19 PMPhoto May 04, 9 14 13 AMPhoto May 01, 8 58 30 AMPhoto May 04, 6 53 14 PMPhoto May 12, 4 50 32 PMPhoto May 05, 7 47 52 PMPhoto May 06, 1 36 24 PMPhoto May 08, 5 42 05 PMPhoto May 08, 5 44 00 PMPhoto May 07, 11 56 37 AMPhoto May 06, 2 12 29 PMPhoto May 09, 1 26 22 PMPhoto May 12, 8 00 40 PMPhoto May 12, 4 50 11 PMPhoto May 09, 1 49 33 PM

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...