Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Scar and Bear Lake

It's now been nearly ten weeks since the rather unconventional arrival of Mette into this world – long enough for the bigness of her actual birth to have found a little resting spot comfortably somewhere in my mind where it mostly sleeps rather than plays on repeat as it did at first.

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Still, every now and then I find myself looking at the thin, long, reddish scar on my lower abdomen and pausing. It doesn't bother me. It's not unsightly. And it's not wrapped up in regrets. But it's there. Something that wasn’t for 38 years before. And, when I do find myself looking in the mirror, tilting my head, and considering its presence, I mostly think, rather simply, how rarely I get such a visual reminder of . . . an experience; and, strangely, I feel an inexplicable sort of gratitude to that long mark, for being something I can clearly see. “Remember that day. Remember the things you wondered. Remember the unexpectedness. Remember what followed.” And, for a moment anyway – in feelings more than words – that scar somehow stretches beyond its length on my abdomen into . . . something bigger. Something like: You are here. You are living the mortal journey you longed for clear back when you shouted together with all those other morning stars. You are having experiences. So many. They are all leaving their marks. And those marks are good for you. They are becoming part of you. Eternally.

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We've had a rather Indian summer.We spent perhaps the last warm bits of it at our cabin this last weekend (where we haven't been, together as a family anyway, since July – Mette’s arrival and other obligations having thrown us off our usual regular visits for a bit).

We went on a hike one day. There was enough complaining at one point that Mike called us all a bunch of Laman and Lemuels. Still, we enjoyed ourselves. And we enjoyed Abe’s occasional safety tips:

“If you see a squirrel, play dead. They only kill for the thrill.” And, upon the passing of several ATVs nearby, “Just remember. 4-wheelers can’t climb trees.”

And, in the end, I took some of the wee-est complainers home while the four oldest hiked another three plus miles with Mike.

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I like the cabin most of all because I feel somewhat free of my usual to-do lists so I’m more likely to do things like . . . play cards with my kids.

Also, I wonder why I ever think that cold, darkness, or full clothing might ever make my kids consider walking nicely along the lake shore rather than soaking themselves in it.

Lastly, we often end up needing some small item or other from the little Ace Hardware store in town while we are there. They give out these little free paper cones full of popcorn. Mike will never allow everyone to get a sleeve full of popcorn. I guess there are so many of us that he feels it would be taking advantage of their benevolence? I always get a chuckle out of everyone grumbling over who is eating too much and who isn’t getting enough from the one or two free cones Mike allows us. I don’t know why the whole thing makes me laugh so much.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Another Installment of: Neither Here nor There

Not long ago Anders snuggled up to Mette and soothed, “I love you for all the days, Mette.”  For all the days. That’s what he told her. The remark was only slightly dampened by the side remark he made to me of: “Mette looks like a weird guy on Star Wars.” (Also, he cleverly made her a “robot arm” out of a toilet paper roll the other day.)

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Speaking of Anders: he turned four this past weekend; and, while he did get to go with Mike to a Lego store to create a Lego Minifigure and Lego car, he did not manage to create the exact minifigure he’d dreamt up several months ago and described to Mike as follows:Photo Oct 06, 9 44 33 AM                                 (glasses, black skin, fire pants, spiky hair, space shirt)


Not long ago I overheard Goldie reprimanding Penny:

“Penny! That’s how you sometimes ruin my happiest days! Because you just act crazy and it gets me frustrated. Do you want to be the one that ruined one of your sister’s happiest days?”

I certainly wouldn’t want that on my shoulders.

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A good portion of the time, I feel proper gratitude for my current situation and the ability I have been given to manage it. But . . . every once in awhile – perhaps more “once in awhile” than I should allow – I become utterly overwhelmed by the order I simply cannot bring to my surroundings (I thrive and feel such peace in cleanliness and order) and the lack of almost any personal time to run, or clean, or write, or go to the temple. During those times I can’t recall any of the wise things I may have written or said about beauty existing in the chaos of mothering. I simply see others doing what they will with their days, accomplishing big projects, and peacefully creating marvelous traditions without two needy and unpredictable babies (and compare their experiences with the Halloween decorating we intended to make fun, but which, instead, was done with Mette crying every moment I stopped nursing her and me feeling no magic -- only stress over all the things that needed cleaned up before I could relax for the night). At those times, there seems to be nothing for it but to have a good self-pitying cry. Mind you, I do realize, even then, that in the grand scheme of eternity small things like not having time to organize every corner of my house or not being able to bask in a few hours of freedom each day are completely insignificant. More than that, I know there are valuable lessons for me to learn in my own journey by NOT being able to do everything I wish I could do and by NOT being able to control my surroundings as completely as would suit me. Still. A good cry is certainly not unheard of around here.

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Our basement is forever “in the process” of being finished. Most of it is nowhere near that actual state. However, there is one room that is finished but full of spackled spots that need painted, etc. Recently we allowed Abe to take up home in that room. But, because Mike is still patching and painting in there, we haven’t set up Abe’s official bed OR allowed him to bring in and arrange all of his things.

The other day Abe and Daisy were talking about something when I heard Daisy say, “So. At least you have your own room!”

“No,” Abe corrected. “I have my own mattress and scattered belongings.”

Hahaha. Poor boy. Still, as any good mother should, I promptly reminded him that he was lucky he had “belongings” to be scattered.

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As we drove home from choosing Halloween pumpkins last night, Abe and Daisy began teasing Goldie over the title of a book she is currently reading. Something about the subtitle – “the story of a boy becoming a man”.

Goldie laughed but defended herself, “It’s not my fault I’m reading it! I needed another Newbery book!” (At our elementary school, the librarian encourages – with rewards – all of her 5th and 6th graders to read 24 Newbery Honor books over the school year. Abe and Daisy each did it in 5th grade, but couldn’t stomach another year of Newberys in 6th grade. Goldie, however, is on her second year of accepting the challenge and is running low on options, apparently.)

“Newberys are the worst,” Abe announced. “In every single one either the dog dies, or the mom dies, or . . . they all die.”

“I know,” Goldie lamented. “Some of them are so horrifying I just give up.”

Daisy interceded with a little tampering of the drama by saying, “Oh, not all of them are bad. Nobody died in Mr. Popper’s Penguins. And nobody died in Little House on the Prairie.”

But Abe only mumbled uncertainly, “I don’t know. I bet there was a dog that died somewhere along the way in Little House on the Prairie”.

That turned the conversation to a movie we once let them watch (one they have never let us live down having chosen).

“Remember that movie Hachi that mom and dad made us watch?” someone said.

“That was the most depressing movie ever,” Abe asserted. “I kept thinking something happy would happen, but the master just died. And then the dog died.”  He pondered for a moment on that then added, “That should be a Newbery Honor movie.”

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I went to Target today. As I walked into the doors, I suddenly recalled an interesting little experience I had several months ago walking in those same doors. At the time, I was pregnant, unkempt, not yet showered for the day, and had three messy-faced children draped about me. As I walked in, a darling young couple came walking out. They were freshly made-up, holding hands, and looking starry-eyed in love. It seems I might have felt, comparatively, a bit sheepish at that moment. And yet, instead, an unexpected burst of . . . goodness -- what I can only describe as utter happiness leapt into my heart and lit up my mind. Without consciously being aware of thinking anything particular, I found some inward part of me nearly leaping out of my chest as it exclaimed, “Oh! I'm so glad they found each other!”

For a moment it felt like my spirit – half asleep – suddenly, and almost independent of mortal me, perked up in recognition of these two and felt brightened by the cheery little knowledge that they'd found happiness and found each other. Here. In mortality.

I certainly don't know that I actually knew these two individuals. I suppose it’s possible, and yet I doubt, if they were placed in a line-up with other cute, young couples, that I'd even recognize them again. BUT, what struck me wasn't so much the feeling of almost-recognition (though I did shake my head and laugh, as I walked past them and into the store, at the unexpectedness of my feelings), what struck me was simply the goodness of my feelings. It felt like the most natural thing in the universe was to feel joy over anyone else's joy. It seemed like the happiness of those two somehow expanded me; like it actually increased my own light and joy.

As I pondered on it, it struck me that all of the petty comparisons, annoyances, judgments, envyings, and jealousies that I am prone to here are, perhaps, foreign to my spirit. I feel them. I suppose we all do. But I don’t like to feel them. They make me uncomfortable and unhappy. Ashamed. But this? It felt like the most true and right way in the universe to feel! Isn’t it a lovely thought? The thought that our eternal, most comfortable and natural state is one that feels primarily love; that feels enhanced by any success, talent, beauty or joy of those around us? We all certainly feel it for our own kids. I don’t suppose it’s too far fetched to think we might be capable of feeling just as much hope and joy for . . . well . . . everyone.

It reminds me of what Rosemary M. Wixom recently said:

“We identify with our divine nature as we feel and give the love of our Father in Heaven.”

It just rings true to me – that we feel most connected with our spirit, with our divine genetics, with who we truly are when we love others and feel joy over any happiness or good fortune that may come to them.

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Anywho, I don’t find much opportunity for blogging lately, so, when I do – out it all comes! But I’ve outed enough. Farewell for now.

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