Sunday, May 30, 2010

What do you know for sure?

I posted this as a question on a family website, mostly as a conversation starter, but one of my amazing cousins took it and really ran with the idea! She wrote a fantastic list that inspired me to do the same. I gave myself about 15 minutes, and just let the ideas come as they would. Give it a try! I'd love to hear what YOU know for sure!

What I know for sure…(in no particular order, not all inclusive, subject to change)

…that my Heavenly Father knows ME, loves ME, and guides ME.
…that my Heavenly Father has a sense of humor, because he often answers my prayers with a bit of a chuckle.
…that hard work is a beautiful thing.
…that no one is successful without the love and support of others.
…that the most important job that I will ever have is that of being a mother.
…that the skills and gifts that I have are given to me to use in the service of my fellow man.
…that I don’t deserve the wonderful family that I have.
…that my children are more important to me than anything.
…that I depend on my parents – both Earthly and Heavenly – and would be lost without them.
…that licorice snaps are the greatest candy ever. Not only are they yummy, but they bring back wonderful memories of Utah.
…that I would give up much to spend one more day with my Grandpa Powell.
…that I have been given the disease of depression as a trial in this life, and that it is not a failure on my part. I have only failed if I refuse to use the tools that have been given to me to defeat it.
…that I have been blessed beyond measure, and don’t even recognize many of the blessings that I receive.
…that I like being a redhead.
…that creativity heals us in ways that nothing else can.
…that being good to others feels better than any worldly success.
…that letting go is difficult, but often necessary.
…that Sundays are a day of rest for many very good reasons.
…that no matter how far I roam, Utah Valley will always be home.
…that a good writer can paint pictures with their words, and move mountains with their pen.
…that I could not live without the internet!
…that I cannot take away the pain that my children experience, no matter how much I want to.
…that I resent anyone who assumes that I will do things wrong.
…that there are lessons to be learned every day.
…that you cannot drag anyone into the Celestial Kingdom against their will.
…that the more difficult the weather, the longer it will take to open the rear entrance at work.
…that no matter how awful my day has been, my dog will be happy to see me.
…that I do not see myself in quite the same way that mirrors and cameras do. Thank heavens for that.
…that I will cry every time I watch the movie Armegeddon. I have the first 28 times, anyway.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What would you like on your headstone?

What an odd conversation to have with business associates, but just the other day, we were doing just that.

My supervisor, who is a character and a half, said that he believes that credit should be given where credit is due – especially if that credit is due himself. He wants his headstone to read, “I WANT CREDIT!”

A beautiful, stately woman that we work with chimed in. Now, mind you, she is absolutely lovely, inside and out. She is poised and gracious and would give you the shirt off her back and be grateful to do it. She said that she would want hers to read, “She thought she was funny.”

Her husband agreed, laughing. Apparently, it’s a bit of an inside joke, as she tries to be the comedian, but often falls short of the laughter that she is hoping for.

How funny that this accomplished man wishes only to receive credit for his ideas – when his entire career is one big testament to his creativity and foresight! I have some theories on why this is, but we’ll save that for my next discussion of LOST. (intrigued?) And how ironic that this successful, socially gifted woman would wish to be funny.

I thought for a moment, then commented that I would want mine to read, “What I lack in real talent, I make up for in enthusiasm!” I vacillate between this and “You are not a winner, please try again.”

I guess both of mine speak to the idea that I’ll never be the smartest, the cutest, the most beautiful, the first in line. I won’t get credit, and I’m not as funny as I think that I am. But darn it, I’m trying. That’s gotta count for something.

And it’s a lot less pressure than hoping for your headstone to read, “Beloved wife and mother”, of which I am neither tonight. I have teenagers; I’m not sure that they even approve of me breathing, to be honest.

Quick, one line – what would yours be?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Gram!

I dreamt of my Grandma for Mother’s Day. It’s not really unusual, I often dream about being “home” at my grandparents’ house, mixing with my cousins and wanting to stay longer. I’m always just about to leave, and sad that I have to go. I never get to stay there long enough.

But this wasn’t your happy, flowery kind of dream, but one in which I was wandering in her home, watching my aunts move things around and pack things up. They were all distracted and talking amongst themselves, but not really to me. I was becoming frustrated that no one seemed to notice that Gram was not there.

“Where is my grandma?” I asked repeatedly, finally becoming tearful and angry. “Where is my grandmother?”

A reply was absently tossed at me.

“But that’s not far from here!” I cried. “I want to see my grandmother before I leave!” I was indignant, and yet, they went right back to what they were doing. I awoke with that choked up, something is not right in my world feeling. I was weepy through most of the morning.

I was a little worried. You see, some years ago when I was young, I dreamed of my Uncle Bruce. In the dream, I walked up the stairs and found his twin sister sitting in his wheelchair in his room. She was crying. “This is all that is left of him,” she said. Two weeks later, he passed away after battling Muscular Dystrophy for 19 years. I thought that I had caused his death.

So at first, I worried that this might be the same for my Gram. I tried to remind myself that it was Mother’s Day, and I was likely thinking of the women in my life. I know that my mother and her siblings are meeting soon to discuss the future. I recently taught a lesson in church on Joseph and his interpretation of dreams. It all added up.

I was also feeling guilty because I haven’t called my Gram in ages. She’s in an assisted living home, and even though her body checked in, her mind did not. It’s a stranger living in my Gram’s body. She doesn’t know who I am when I call, and doesn’t remember afterwards that I have called. My sweet cousin V visits faithfully every week, and Gram doesn’t even remember her.

Another beautiful cousin lost her grandfather a few years ago, and I expressed my condolences. “Oh, it’s okay,” she said sweetly. “He’s been gone for years.” I understand that now.

Is there any part of her that knows that we are there? Will she remember when the veil is lifted? Be upset that we didn’t spend more time calling or visiting? Or will she understand that it was hard to communicate with her from so far away?

Is it abandonment if she abandoned us first?

I wished that I could call her, could tell her all that I needed to say. I wanted her to be my Gram – ornery and all – so that I could talk to her.

My dearest Gram,

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope that your day is filled with joy and laughter!

I love you, Gram. I miss you.

I want to laugh with you about our memories – how you told me when I was a teenager, “Don’t be yourself! Just be nice!” How I winked at you to tease you. How worried you were when I allowed a man – GASP – my grandfather – into my bedroom at Heritage Halls. About the time that you lost track of me at age two and I tried to go to school with the big kids.

I want you to remember them, too.

I want to share my successes with you. I want you to know how proud of Tux I am, for making the President’s Honor Roll in college. Even taking Japanese! I want you to know that he’s becoming himself again. That Addy has lost so much weight and is finding himself to be a handsome young man. That Toddy is finally pottie trained. That one of my graphic designs is being displayed prominently in the resort that I work for.

I want to tell you how exciting it was to see Tux graduate from Seminary. How proud of Todd I am because he says prayers in Primary. I want to talk about the things that I read in the scriptures, and how it applies to my life. I want to share these things because you devoted your life to teaching your family about the Gospel. I know that you would want to know that we got it.

I want to show you that despite all of your worries and concerns about our morality and poor decision making, we turned out okay. I want you to know that we understand why you were so adamant and sometimes…okay, often…critical. We know now because we are mothers. Grandmothers.

We are a family of strong women. We fight for the things that matter. We raise our children with equal amounts of discipline and love. We are good wives. We are a good family. We love each other. We support each other. We are there for each other. You’d be proud of us, if you knew who we were.

Yes, I’m a coward. And I’m ashamed of that. I’m afraid that if I call to talk to you, it will break my heart.

I'm sorry that I'm so weak. I'm sorry that you can't be with Grandpa like you desire. I'm sorry that your time here on earth is dragging on without you really being in it. I'm sorry that I didn't talk to you more often when I could.

Happy Mother’s Day, Gram. I love you. I miss you. And I’m hoping that in the world that you live in, you are happy. That when it’s all over, you won’t remember the time that you spent trapped in a stranger’s mind. And more importantly, you won’t remember that I was such a wimp.

Someday, we’ll look back on this and laugh. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.