Sunday, April 24, 2016

Journal Post


Daisy, who cannot abide Abe being more than a year older than her for long, insisted on turning 14 last week. She and I spent a good portion of the day driving about in non-stop rain and making our drippy way through one puddle-filled parking lot after another to visit stores like Ross, TJ Max, Costco and Target in search of the perfect bedspread for her new room. (After spending most of memory sharing a room with two and then three other sisters, she is near bursting with excitement over the impending completion of her very own room in our basement.)

Upon finding a bedspread (all covered in blues and swirls and flowers), we shoved it in the backseat, I commanded her to forget she’d ever seen it, and we stopped to get lunch at Arby’s and at Wal Mart for a carton of her requested Blue Bunny ice cream to go with her cake that evening.

In the late afternoon she went to the temple with two of her close friends. Then we ate Chinese food, opened presents, and enjoyed the birthday cake Goldie made for her. (While this might seem a loss to some of you, it is a cause for great celebration to me that I never ever make a birthday cake these days. Birthdays are packed enough as is [and we have ten a year around here]. I’m only too thrilled that the girls have taken over birthday-cake-making duty.)


I should feel some sort of shock over how she could possibly be 14, but, for whatever reason, I always assume my girls are older than they are. Certainly Goldie can’t still be waiting to turn 12. And how can Penny be only 8? Surely she’s already finished up 8, lived out 9 and is sitting at 10? And Daisy? Everyone in the family has been thinking of her as 14 for months, so we were all happy to welcome her officially to the age . . .  we all thought she was.



Last week I pulled into the parking lot of our local high school, slung my camera over my shoulder, and began walking up the steep sidewalk to the track where Abe was about to run his first race in his first Jr. high track meet. He’d shown no interest in 7th or 8th grade, but found a little spark of it resting in him this year and has started out with running hurdles and doing the high jump.


It didn’t occur to me, when I leapt my own last hurdle, and handed off my last relay baton at the state track meet my senior year of high school, that I was not only doing those things for the last time, but that I wouldn’t attend another track meet for 21 years! (What???? 21 years? Have I really not been to a single track meet since? Well. I have no idea how that happened.) Still, it only took slamming that car door and walking towards that track last week to have surface the EXACT SAME crazy mixture of excitement and anxiety, racing pulse and churning stomach that accompanied each of my own meets all those years ago.


I don’t mean to pooh-pooh any of the kids’ other concerts, recitals, basketball or baseball games, but I loved being at a track meet again! I think I’ve been waiting, without even knowing it, 21 long years for one of my kids to start running track.


And I hope the other kids catch the bug by watching Abe because, from here on out, I’m forcing every last one of them to be track stars. (OK, I won’t force, but having a child in track is such a fun thing for me!)



Jesse’s allergy issues have been on such extreme overdrive lately as to have caused some fairly serious complications – including an ulcer on the cornea in his right eye. This week alone we went to four doctor appointments due to the gravity of the situation.


There is so much . . . I don’t know . . . so much constant worry and stress that accompanies chronic things like this. The most obvious: worry over your child and their well being. But a thousand other facets as well. We are always walking a tightrope – trying to find the balance between keeping him healthy; and allowing him a happy, normal childhood (for example – he would be much better off if he didn’t go camping with us and stayed inside with windows shut most of the year – but that’s not the childhood we want for him). There are the feelings of doubt and inadequacy. The stress of knowing medications have side effects (especially when the alternative to medications – things like: not breathing, or eyes so irritated that you rub the cornea off -- aren’t really alternatives at all). There is the weighing of the pros and cons of various extreme ideas that might or might not help. There is the responding to countless well-intended suggestions as well as the undeniable element of feeling occasionally judged by those who don’t know his whole situation, or what things we are already doing, or why we have or haven’t done the various things they are sure they would do if they were us.

I hope and pray that he will outgrow many of these things – that we will look back on his childhood in wonder over how he used to live with such non-stop trouble. In the mean time we keep working to solve and improve and get past – while finding some acceptance of things as they are.

But, I must admit, as much as I wish his reality was different, I can not deny that these struggles have already shaped him and molded him into a little seven year old with wisdom and maturity about trials that could not have come from simply being told these things – without having lived them. He often talks with me about trials and why we have them. Recently he told me he’d been praying about his eyes and asked Heavenly Father to heal them unless this was a trial he needed to have. After several of our doctor appointments last week, he explained to me that Heavenly Father doesn’t always just fix things for us because if we didn’t have to work to solve problems and figure things out, we wouldn’t learn and grow. He sees small areas where the Lord’s hand and help have been evident in guiding us. A deep part of his seven year old belief system revolves around the fact that whether we are released from something immediately or not, our Savior can always help us to, as he says, “handle it”. He hasn’t just been told these things. He’s lived them and knows them.

I need to record these things better so that, someday, hopefully from a healthy and non-troubled place, he will be able to marvel on his youth and the lessons the Lord helped him to learn through his struggles that prepared him for his life.

Dear boy. Who he is, his curiosity and way of seeing the world, while at times exhausting, has been an amazing experience for me and expanded my definitions and expectations for all sorts of things. (And seeing a picture of him without red swollen eyes for the first time in months makes me want to cry with happiness!)



Anders has been trying to decide what he wants to be when he grows up. Sort of. After going to the pediatric ophthalmologist this week, Jesse said he thought it would be cool to be an eye doctor. Anders nabbed onto that idea as well and informed us today: “When I grow up, I want to be half eye doctor and half duck.”

“I thought you wanted to be a caterpillar when you grow up,” Abe commented (referring to an earlier conversation).

“I do,” Anders said. “I’m going to be half caterpiller too.”



Mette is rarely grumpy. She’s just . . . pleasant. The other day, after handing the tumpy, little dear to me, Mike said, “She’s basically just a lump with a smile. That we carry around.”



Yesterday Abe was working on a sonnet for his English class. “You know what my sonnet is going to be about, Mom?” he said with a bit of a proud little twinkle in his eye. “A privateer who’s forced to walk the plank.”

A little later he said something about needing to find the words, in just two remaining lines, to complete the privateer’s sad end. Goldie and I were a bit shocked. “What?” we exclaimed. “Sad end? He’s not going to be rescued?”

“No,” Abe said solemnly. “It’s going to be one of those poems that’s deep and reflective because a pirate dies.”

While he then did have to backtrack and rephrase (because a privateer is not a pirate), we had a good laugh over “one of those poems” where “a pirate dies”. Ah yes. One of those.


And . . . a few last pictures.



Carol said...

I sure do enjoy reading your family round ups. And Jesse sure knows what's what. Having been going through my own eye issues, his words were just what I needed to read. Thank you so much, Jesse. <3

Kara said...

This makes me want to be a kid in your family :)

Linn said...

How can I love and care so much about a family that I've never met? Why have we never met?

Oh your sweet Jesse...reading about him makes me cry. First, because he has already been through so much at such a young age. Second, because he is handling it better than most of us that are adults and he inspires me. Will you tell him I think he is incredible? And that I'm going to be better about my trials because I want to be more like him.

Much love to you and yours. You guys are just fantastic. Squared.

Nancy said...

That was such a nice comment. Thank you Carol! And isn't it interesting how much our own little troubles give us sympathy? I think someone might hear "eye issues" and think nothing -- but someone dealing with that type of constant irritation like yourself can do easily feel empathy. Thank you!

Nancy said...

You're welcome to join us Kara! I'll take you in as one of mine, and I promise I'll let you watch some cartoons and eat a few fruit snacks and not have to be the mom yourself for a few days!

Nancy said...

Thank you so much Linn. I don't know how you do it, but I know that you actually do care about me and mine and love us -- having met us or not (we must remedy that someday of course!), and it makes your comments always touch me. Thank you, Linn!

Marilyn said...

Oh your Daisy is beautiful. Even since I had a YW calling, I love watching girls as they grow up. I had never noticed before how they sort of teeter on the edge of womanhood for awhile, and then suddenly…they are there. It is hard to believe I'll be watching my own girls get there one of these days. But I know what you mean about assuming kids are older. I do that with some, but not all, of mine too. I can't beLIEVE Seb is STILL not 12! And is only turning 11 this year! I wonder if it has to do with the fact that I lump he and Abe together as "the big boys", so maybe I think they're closer together in age than they really are.

I love the picture of Mette and Summer sitting in their strollers.

And of course you ran hurdles. Of course. You and your lovely long legs. My brothers were all hurdlers and the coach was so excited when he met me that he cheered "Another Nelson! Another Nelson!" I dutifully tried hurdles a few times but I think I was a great disappointment to him when he finally had to settle for letting me run the distance races instead. I'm just not fast, and I'm not tall. I can run at moderate speeds for a long time, and that's about it. But I feel great fondness for hurdles and I can still remember that stretching, leaping, nervous please-let-me-make-it-over feeling as you careen down the track. I hope some of my kids get to run track too, or better, cross-country. I'd love to watch and cheer, but I'm glad the days of competing are behind me. That fear and sweat and nervous excitement of a track meet is nostalgic, but not a GOOD feeling for me, :)

I wish I could read Abe's sonnet.

Nancy said...

I don't actually know how I stumbled into hurdles (pun intended), Marilyn. I've always been more of a distance than sprint runner. And, in truth, I never did incredibly well at the 100 M hurdles. The 300 M hurdles though seemed to be just a long enough distance that, combined with long legs and whatever small amount of speed I did posess, I did quite well with!

And you are right!! That nervous, butterfly, sick, pre-race feeling is not a good one!! I was just shocked how it hit me as I first entered his first meet! But the overall excitement of being at a meet again, combined with cheering on one of my own, was a very fun feeling!

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