Monday, July 25, 2011

What I think

Patrick Hutchison was the object of my seventh and eighth grade affections. Man, he was so fine ... (remember when we used to say that?) He was in Mr. Jones' seventh grade English class with me. I remember three things about that class: Patrick was in it, Mr. Jones was nice, and on his bald, black head was what I'm realizing now was probably a ganglion cyst. But anyway... Patrick was also in others of my classes including my eighth grade Art class. One of my most prized possessions for many years was a photograph of Patrick, Randy, Christina and I all sitting at the back table in Art class. My hair was in a tiny little bun on top of my head with a bunchy around it and I was wearing a striped shirt from Miller's Outpost. Interestingly, I don't remember my Art teacher's name, but I do remember several details about that class. I remember my teacher's hands and voice. I remember doing a project where we were required to draw some kind of Halloweenish picture that would accompany some book title that had been given us. I remember Randy telling me that from the side I look like a witch (He was right! My darned chin and nose..ugghhh). And I remember one particular conversation Patrick and I had at that back table.
Patrick was Baptist, and pretty active with his church. We talked about religion--and the contrasts/comparisons between our religions/churches somewhat frequently. But one day I remember that for whatever reason, we had gotten into a little tiff about whose religion was right. I remember Patrick saying that his parents knew that his religion was right, and me saying that my parents knew that my religion was right. No doubt Heavenly Father was rolling his eyes at us at about that point. But I remember being a little confused about the fact that both of us seemed equally convinced that our respective churches were the right ones. Hmmm....So how was I to know who was right? I went home and asked my mom. I told her that Patrick's mom "knew" that their church was the right one, so how did she (my mom) really know that ours was? She told me she had prayed about it and that's how she knew. Of course! So I went back to school the next day and told Patrick that the reason my mom knew our church was true was because she had prayed about it. And then I asked him if his mom had done the same. Hmmmmmmmmmm?!! I can't remember what he said, to be honest. But I do remember him being a little uncomfortable with the question.
So that conversation has stuck with me all of these years. I've thought of it many times because it resulted in my recognizing a couple of very important things: first, that the way to know truth is by asking God; and second, that at that time I was only able to say what my mom knew because up until that conversation (and for a long time thereafter) I had not asked God to know for myself. (Side note: in college I took the most challenging grammar class at BYU, and I did pretty dang well. I remember, though, that my professor would always get after me for using too many extraneous that's. Nowadays, I'm sure my grammar is horrible at times and I'm still throwing in way too many that's. So sorry about that. Yikes.)

When I was growing up, I really thought my parents were always right. Don't be embarrassed, mom. I'm sure everyone thought that about his/her parents. Specifically, I thought that the way my parents parented... was the right way. Do you know what I mean? And then my brother Scotty died and a whole bunch of things started changing--like the way my parents parented. And it was really hard for me. It is still hard for me sometimes--not because they are doing anything wrong now( likely the contrary), but because it has forced me to confront the possibility that maybe my parents did not know and do everything right (and therefore I, too, was wrong), and it requires again that I find-out-for-myself what is right--or what will be right for my family. See what I mean? I have to work. It's been interesting because I've found myself feeling resentful toward my parents for (in the past) making me feel like some parenting technique or whatever was the right way to go and now making me feel like the better way is something totally different! The fact is--it's not my parent's fault at all. They didn't make me feel anything. Of course I shouldn't have assumed that they would do everything right. It's just that it is hard, and scary, for me to think and figure things out for myself much of the time. It's much easier to just have the people I trust (i.e. my parents and siblings) figure it all out and then believe and accept whatever they say. You see--I'm much more comfortable INside the box. :( The problem comes when they change their minds or views or beliefs or whatever. That's when it gets hard for me because I don't like change. I like to be right the first time. And I don't want to have to figure it out on my own.

Now don't worry. Don't worry. I know it is good for me to figure things out on my own...It's just hard.

My trip to Vegas and Utah was wonderful. I am part of families who love me and love my kids. They are generous and kind to us. I feel so grateful that Heavenly Father sent us to this earth in families. I love mine. My mom let me do chores to earn money...(Here I am at 32 and I'm still doing chores to earn money)...And she was SO generous in her compensation. And the kids swam, and ate treats and played with cousins and had a ball. Minus Janey breaking her leg in the final days of the trip, our whole vacation was really, really fun. And I feel so lucky to have the mom and sisters I have. They are different from me in many ways. They are more like Brian, and I am so grateful. When they discuss things with me, I can understand Brian more clearly and I am better equipped to be the wife he needs. And would you know it? I learned things about the ways my parents and siblings think and feel that I did not know before. To some extent, some of their views and opinions have changed; and to some extent I'm just now finding out what they've felt and believed all along. And the peek outside of my box is a little uncomfortable for me. But once again, I'm having to use my own brain to think for myself, and say my own prayers to ask for myself, and you know what the result is? Oh, that everything will be fine, of course. And I'll love my family even more.

P.S. It's after midnight and Janey just wheeled up to me in her wheelchair. She told me that at dinner she and Camp had asked for more corn but were not given any more because it was all gone. I asked her what she was trying to say. She said she was still hungry. I laughed, and when I did she started to cry. I tried again to explain to her that when I laugh, it is just a sign that I love her and think she is darling. I hugged her and asked if she believed me. She said she did but that she doesn't like when people laugh at her. Then I wheeled her into the kitchen to get her some cereal.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

You're jumping up and down and you feel something brown...

WARNING: This post contains details of experiences which would preferably happen only in the bathroom--your own bathroom. Reader discretion is advised.

I'd like to be classy. I remember that when Brian and I first moved here and I was working at the candy store, Liz Barnhardt commented to me how funny her family thought it was that Brian and I were married when we were so different. She said that I was "so classy" and Brian was so.......I'm not sure what she said about Brian because I was just so excited to have been described as classy. Come to think of it--I'm not even sure she finished the sentence regarding Brian. I think she just laughed and let her thought hang. I didn't misunderstand her; I knew they loved Brian. But apparently they were amused with what an unexpected pairing we were (are) and 'classy' just happened to be the adjective that came out of her mouth in an attempt to illustrate our different natures. Unfortunately for me, I'm confident that 'classy' was not the word she was thinking of. But what was she going to do? She couldn't correct herself at that point...
But ANYWAY....because I would love so much to be classy, I'm largely disappointed in my desire to share with you the following experience. It is not a classy experience and sharing it with you is even less classy. But the fact is--it happened. And it is the kind of story that typifies the conversations of my childhood. Shameful, I know. In fact, this experience has brought back many a memory of my siblings and I sitting around making up additional verses to the song referenced in the title to this post. (I'll refrain from using the actual word, so as to become a little more classy.) OK. Now I'm worried that I may be wrongly incriminating one or more of my siblings. I guess I don't specifically remember who was there with me all of those times; but at the very least, Scotty was. So anyway....
While I was on vacation visiting family, I caught the same bug that many of my family members got--the main symptom of which was a bad case of the runs. And I've been 'running' ever since, if you know what I mean. So on Saturday night, I made a trip to Fred Meyer to get groceries for the week. And about half way through my shopping, I got a little surprise...Let's just say I was spending all my money and I felt something runny. I'm not even joking. So I turned my cart around and headed for the bathroom, where I discovered that I indeed had a mess in my pants that in two places had already leaked through the linen pants I was wearing. And unlike the time when I wet my pants two days after Jane was born while I was day-after-Thanksgiving shopping, I did not have a sweater to tie around my waist. What in the heck was I going to do? I straight stripped off my g's, washed them in that nasty public toilet, wrung them out, and stuffed them in my pocket. I wasn't even carrying a purse to hide them in! Then I turned my pants around and put them on backwards, hoping that I'd be more successful at hiding what I needed to in the front than in the back. No luck. The fact that my pants were on backward was much more obvious than the fact that I should have been shopping for Depends. So anyway, I put my pants back on the right way, washed my hands good and well, and headed back out to finish my shopping. Lucky for me, it was about 10 o'clock and the store was mostly empty. By the time I got to the register, my bulging pocket was wet and I was worried that the cashier might ask what was in it. Seriously. What would I have said? My soiled g's, sir.
Oh, my heavens. The whole thing was horrible. But a good story--at least for Scotty. Do they even let you tell those kinds of stories up there, Scotty?
Anyway....other than having caught that bug, my time with the kids in Vegas and Utah was really great. More on that later...