Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Scaredy Pants Finds Courage

Yesterday, the YM/YW went to the Manhattan Temple and did baptisms for the dead.
If you are not LDS and read my blog, I love you but I'm not paying enough attention as I write today to explain it.
Please head over to http://mormon.org/faq/baptism-for-the-dead for a non-blond explanation.
Yep, I believe that. 
If you don't, that's cool, too.

This was the first time Greyson went. He's never been available when this happened other times, but this weekend, he was home and excited to do it. Last week he got his very first Temple recommend and was so excited as he talked with Brother Mathusek about the blessings of the temple and made a goal to always have a current recommend. 

(Lest you think it was written on psychic paper, I photo shopped the information out, he's a little kid, Yo.)

The next day, he had decided he didn't want to go.
 He was nervous.
He gets nervous about a lot of things, he has big anxiety issues  and new things scare the tar out of him. 
He was officially chickening out.
That was okay.
We talked to him about what would happen, reminded him that his brother would be there as well as leaders he knew very well, but nope.... he didn't want to do it unless Mom or Dad were going. We simple could not, so we told him that he could do it another time and we were still proud of him.

Sunday night we went to the Mathuseks to celebrate Joe's birthday and the kids had a wild time.

 We had over 20 children running around and I swear, the kids in this ward see each other as cousins. They love each other, look out for each other and they trust the parents as my kids trust their Aunts and Uncles. Short Hills Ward does 'ward family' like rock stars.

Being in their loving home somehow brought Grey's courage back. 
When we left, Bro. Mathusek asked if Grey was going and as I said "No, he'll go next time..." Grey interrupted and said  "I'll be there!!"
By 5am the next day he and Zane were off to the city, dressed in their Sunday best.
When they came home, both boys were glowing, Greyson was elated.

He had a great time, and he felt amazing.
 He not only had gone to the temple for the first time, but he did something he was afraid to do. Zane seemed to feel proud to serve almost as an escort to Grey and I could see these boys who normally squabble and tease relentlessly being close, loving brothers as they bonded in this shared experience. 

In July, Romy will be 12. She can go, too. We can go as a family and nobody will be left home with a babysitter. I don't know what to think about that- it's exciting and I am happy, but 12?
The baby will be 12?
The days are long but the years are short.
But they are good days, and really, really good years, aren't they? 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Happiness is Found in My Own Back Yard

Parker left for Utah this morning.
If I were not so tired, I would probably be crying and emotional, but we stayed up until the wee hours playing board games every single night and I am wiped out.
I'm supremely happy, but kind of a zombie today.

I suspect that we are all going to be fast asleep on the sofa when Matt gets home from work. He is even more tired than we are- he had to get up at 4:30 am and drive to Newark. 
He will probably crash right there with us after he's home and all sweatpants'd up.

Before he left, I wanted to get some portraits of the kids together.
They groaned at the idea of getting dressed up and having to go to some location for me to have a good backdrop, but they were willing to do it for Mommy.

When I told them to just wear whatever, as long as it was clean and that we were just going to shoot in the back yard, they perked up quite a bit. We have an absolutely perfect place just beyond our back yard and 
having such great looking models makes it easy to get great shots.

Oh, how I love these kids. 
Yeah, Mother's Day stunk but BEING a mother.....amazing.
 Every bit of these kids and the life I get to have because of them is just the best.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Can I Just Stop Time?

Parker is here and I've missed him so much. 
I just want to follow him around 24/7 and annoy the tar out of him because it's so nice to have him home. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thank You

Thank you to those who shared your kind words about my Mother's Day post. 
Sometimes those personal posts are things I need to write just for myself and I keep them to myself, sometimes I feel I need to put them out there.
I am glad I put it out there yesterday.
Thank you for the comfort and support you all bring into my life.
Even though we all have our own situations, those common threads are really something else. 

And a special thank you to my friend who sent me this:

I didn't know I needed it until you sent it to me and oh, that little empty hurting place in my heart filled right up. 
Next year, I'm going to Six Flags on Mother's Day, Folks. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day Mind Dump

Mother's Day....
I am not a fan.
I've had some good ones, I've had some rotten ones, but every single one stressed me out.
Some years I can deal with it, others are a bust.
This year was not a good year.
I have some very good mothers in my life. Women who love me unconditionally, who teach me, guide me and see the good in me, even when I'm screwing up and acting the fool.  They see in me, and have always seen in me the person I hope my Heavenly Mother sees.
I also have people in my life who see me through such a critical eye. Women who felt they had a right or some kind of need to point out every mistake they caught me making and make sure I understood that they feel I am a terrible person, and if God asks them, they'll make sure he isn't fooled by me.
Somewhere, between those two is how I usually see myself.

I work to move towards seeing those who understand love and away from those who believe love is only for  the worthy. 
I know love is for everyone, even the people that I think suck. That means it is also for me, in spite of the opinions of people who feel I am a rotten loser.
I'm good with that. To each their own.. but oh, those years of hearing it, of having it pounded into my head and my heart, the years of believing the garbage. ....they leave some scars.
Mother's Day has a habit of bringing those old insecurities and self worth attacks right to the surface for me.
Maybe that's normal, maybe it's crazy.
All I know is that I usually spend most Mother's Day having a day that is the polar opposite of what I feel it is supposed to be. Keep the gifts simple, no worries- no breakfast in bed or honoring mom show- I don't want to go to church and listen to everyone talk about their awesome mothers or about how awesome of a job they are doing- I feel like a total screw up on both counts there. I'm happy for those who have that part of life hammered down, it never was for me and I am just not strong enough to let it all roll off my back and not poke me in the heart and cause me to bleed weirdness all over the ward. 
Matt and I use to go out of town. 
 Some people thought that was a terrible thing to do to my children. We always came home on Sunday and did the gifts and cards then and had a nice dinner, but it was also always a weekend that my ex could get an extra day off and was able to see the kids. I'm not going to have them all miss out on getting to have a longer weekend with Dad just because we've assigned that one for a day of giving flowers and cards and honoring this mom, who is very uncomfortable being in the spotlight in the first place.

A few years ago, we started going to Lagoon on Mother's Day.
 Yep- I'm a Sabbath Breaker there, but for us, it made Mother's Day good. The park is always nearly empty on that day and we love amusement parks. 
Everyone got to just have fun and 'fun' is my love language.

Last year, I think I had to teach or speak or maybe that was Matt, but we went to church. 
It was one of our final Sundays in our ward in Utah and I was surrounded by the women who will forever be my "moms."  They were there for me during so many life changing events in my life and they helped me make choices that led to real and true happiness. They were there when my own mother decided to behave in ways that made it so that we cannot have a relationship again. 
I frequently cry and struggle over that, but we do not burn bridges with the intent of walking across them again.
 I put my energy into building different bridges that took me to places where I believe my Father in Heaven would have me go. 
Last year was a goodbye to the women who I will always love and hold sacred for showing me something about being a mother and being a daughter that brought joy and peace. As hard as it is to not have the one relationship, I know the Lord saved me and fills my cup with the amazing women in my life who I truly believe promised to find me in this Earth life and care for me.
 I was fed, nurtured, and when I was messed up, they helped me set my mind and heart straight, that I would choose the right and be happy. 
I was with them all last Mother's Day.
 I was with my children in the grey barn shaped house with the red door and irises exploding in the front yard. 

This year, I awoke and said to Matt "I can't do it."
He still had to teach and he headed to just do Sunday School and then come home.
I sat in my room, hurting. 
Physically, my back was killing me, worse than it has been in awhile. My heart was hurting as well.
I miss my Parker. I worry about him and I long to have him near. I miss Emma, Kate and Jane. We went from a house full of sisters to a house with only one little girl. We are outnumbered again, Romy and ,I and we kind of don't know what to do with that sometimes. 

Being away from Utah, there is a part of my brain that thinks- I don't live there anymore, the reality of how messed up my family is can't hurt me like it did when I was there and had to live it, things could be as they were. They weren't right, but I could convince myself that they were okay because you could end horrible phone calls and you could compartmentalize the nasty relationships. 
A whole new version of weird emotional orphan grief has crept it and it's not just that relationship- I miss those other mothers. I miss Joie, Betty, Doreen, Sher, Lori, Karin, Joey, Vickie, Michelle, Ila, Nancy M, Sandy.......

I miss Matt's Mom, Maggie. I miss my nieces and nephews and watching what great mothers all of my sisters and sisters in law are to their squids.

I miss BEING a mom to all seven of my kids.
 I miss the default number being nine. 

I miss that the most.
 I miss that 'me.'
Sometimes I feel like my arm was amputated or something. I look around and everything is in it's place, everything is where I put it, but something is just gone, gone and I ache to have it back.
I guess I feel that way about my own mom, too most of the time. 

So it was a hard one. 
This is hard to write.
I need to write it so that next year- when it is better- because I know it will be-- I will be proud of how far I came. 
This year, I cried in my room. This year I stayed in my pajamas. This year I yelled at my family. This year I was a mess. 
This year, more than most- I hated Mother's Day. 
I hated it and I felt like I was the only one.

After church that I ditched was over, I got a text from Tyra, inviting us over for dessert. 
It was the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted to stay in my cave and be an angry bear at everyone. I wanted to bleed and hurt and pick at my wounds. 
An alien abducted my body and texted her back "Sure! What can we bring?"

I said that?

Then the hope of a sick kid got me out of it, I told her we couldn't come. Roe was sick- the kid had overdone it on candy while her Dad was here . (Did I mention my ex husband was here- at our house ALL MOTHER'S DAY WEEKEND?  I underestimated how annoying that was going to be.)
When I cancelled, my soul started flicking me 'you need to go. Stop being a butt. GO."
So, I texted again and said we were coming.
I don't think she got either text, though. Perhaps the Lord of Technology spared me exposing my crazy a little.

We loaded up the kids, sent the ex on his way and went over to Bishop's house.
I braced myself for a family full of happy happy we love our mother and grandma and they love us and happy happy super happy.
 It's good to be happy- I just was not feeling much like being good or happy. It was 100% something broken in me, not in them.
But I went and I thought "If I can just get a hug from Leah, who gets shy around me or have Abe sit on my lap and let me tell him how much I love him and what a good boy he is for a moment, I will get in a better place."
I went there and the love of that home embraced me breaking heart. The faces of people here that I love completely and who I know love me smiled and welcomed us in and just like that- my dark cloud started to lift.
They kids all took off to be with their friends and as I listened to them play and yell and not have to worry about anything but being children...I remembered that these are those perfect moments and I wasn't going to let Mothers Day ruin one more moment that day.
I saw the faces of my friends, all who carry their own hurts and struggles as daughters and mothers and I felt like I was going to be okay.
And Leah gave me a hug as she looked at me, still with unsure eyes.
Abe sat on my lap and told me that he was a good boy today in Sunbeams and he sang a song. I told him he was always a good boy. Maddie cuddled up to me and asked when she could come over and play, I promised her we would soon. Hannah sat on my lap and we talked about what pretty shirt she had on and I told her I was so happy that she was such a kind girl and I was proud of her. Helena called me a rock star and Issac have me a hug too after I called him "Bishop's kid' and called me "Olson's mom."

 (Alien or President Monson? You be the judge.)

(Good luck getting one past Zane, Joe)

We played games, and ate creme' brulee. I'd never had it before- holy yum.

When it was time to head home hugs were shared and Tyra said quietly to me "Now this day is finally over!"

I am not alone.
For different reasons and to different degrees, Mother's Day has hard things for women. There is always some bittersweet in there, even on the best years.
Our children grow, they change-we grow, we change. 
I think, Mother's Day is hard for us all. 

(Tyra and her kiddos)

(Michelle and her sweeties)

 (Rebekah and some of the kids who wish they would adopt them)

(Ruth and her darlings)
We can choose what we do with hard/happy days like Mother's Day, but I think next year I will come at it with a plan in place to not let my emotions and memories consume me, but I will also allow myself some space and time for the tears that come with this growing thing that we do here on Earth. 

This was a long post and probably a terribly insane post but I'm still figuring things out in my life and this was my Mother's Day in the little white house with tulips and violets and the crooked front porch .

Friday, May 10, 2013

Because Laughter is Better than Cake

Today is weigh in day for Weight Watchers, I'm down 11 pounds. 
My fat pants are back to being 'fat pants.' 
Good times.

I've finished a couple more bonnets.
That first one was a beast, but I've made some adjustments to the original pattern and I finished one in just over an hour this evening. 
I found that I can get 5 complete bonnets out of one flat twin sheet. Walmart has them for 5 bucks each, so that makes the cost about a dollar. With each bonnet taking less than 2 hours, it's a pretty good service project for me. 
Here I am, sporting one of my bedsheet bonnets.

Good Lord, why was I wearing dark lipstick? I look like a pioneer prostitute.
Rugby season is almost over.
I can't say I am sad about that.
It's been a ton of driving and an emotional roller coaster for us all, especially Zane. 
I love the kid, love the sport, but I'm sick of driving to Linden three times a week.  It's not so bad now that it's light outside so I'm not driving in the dark, but it's still just become a massive pain in the rear.

While driving to practice yesterday though, I saw something that I had not seen since we moved here.
(No, not a car wash. I have stopped parking under the big poop perch tree though.)

I saw it and said out loud "is that...nah..it couldn't be..."
As I got closer, I realized it totally was.....

Two missionaries, riding their bikes down the road.

I honked and we all waved, and they waved back.
I'm going to guess that isn't something that happens very often here to the Elders, even though in Utah it happens about every 10 minutes when they are out. It certainly isn't something we have encountered here yet.

It reminded me again that the world really is just our home, filled with people who really are in our families, we just haven't met them yet.
I am not so lost in this crazy place with so many people, I'm the same old me and my same old life that I choose exists wherever I go.

It was a little thing, but for me, things that remind me of  'home' also remind me that this is also home.

I leave you with more things I swiped from the Internets to bring a smile to your face today......