Soon after I was married, I got a job working at the Las Vegas courthouse. Many times during my lunch break, I would go down and watch my dad in court. He was right in the middle of that case where the lady had killed her mother (and shoved her body into a garbage can in her storage unit) in order to collect her social security money. I remember hearing the defense team's closing arguments and thinking my dad had his work cut out for him. Then, when my dad stood to give his closing argument, he seriously blew the defense out of the water. He was magnificent, and I wanted to cheer. I felt the same pride I felt that day in fourth grade when we went around the class saying what our dads did for a living and I got to say my dad was a lawyer. I was proud--not because we were rich, because we weren't. In fact, I spent most of my childhood thinking we were kinda poor)--but because my dad wore a suit to work and he worked hard every day, and never compromised his integrity doing it.
But anyway, at the courthouse, I was on a team in charge of scanning old paper case files into the computer. We were not supposed to read the files, but it was awfully hard not to catch a few things, while were were straightening out pages and removing staples. And I remember that for several weeks, we were scanning cases from the rape unit. Oh, man. It was awful. I read so many horrible things. I remember reading a case about a girl who was a student at BYU and had been sexually abused for several years before going to college. Her case had finally gone to court... And during that time, I remember feeling so sick to my stomach every day--or more accurately--sick to my spirit. My spirit literally felt sick and depressed. Lucky for me, I remembered the lessons I had been taught my whole life in primary about listening to uplifting music as a means of focusing your thoughts on good things. So one day, I brought a portable CD player and earphones to work and I listened to hymns and Enya-type stuff while I scanned all those horrible files. And it helped. It protected my spirit.
Do you know what one of the best parts of being a mother is for me? It is a feeling of safety and approval and loyalty from my children. I always know they love me and that at the end of the day--even if I've been a tyrant--they would choose me. Because I am their mother and they know me and are comfortable with me. I think they just assume I am smart and beautiful and talented--just because I am their mother. You know what I mean? I could be wrong, but I feel safe with my kids, and that's the point. I am really grateful for that.
Yesterday, I was reminding Skip that he had a friend coming over. He told me that he didn't want that friend to come over because she hadn't let him hold the ladybug I had found the last time they had played together. I reminded him that right afterward, I had found him another ladybug that only he had gotten to hold. Our conversation continued as follows:
Skip: Yeah, but that ladybug pooped on me!
Me (in mocked disbelief): What?!
Skip: Yeah. Did you know that ladybugs poop?
Me: Yeah. Everything that's alive poops.
Skip: Yeah, but I don't like things to poop on me!
I treasure these days.