Mother’s Day 2021

This is my mom and I, sometime in 1976. My resting face has not changed all these years.

I love my mom. I love being a mom. Every Mother’s Day I think about people who didn’t have wonderful mothers or had a particularly difficult childhood, or struggle with becoming a mom or are striving to be a good mom. Or mourn or grieve in any way because of Mother’s Day. And it’s weird because I don’t know how to think of these people without them thinking that I think I’m superior to them. Or that they want pity. Or that I’m gloating. I don’t want to be condescending. I hate comparing, and I hate being compared to.

But I do think it’s important to acknowledge people’s individual weariness. Because I want them to know they’re not alone. Maybe that’s also being condescending. I hope to get this right someday. I’ve found value in listening. That’s probably the best I can do.

I am grateful, though. And I want to acknowledge the amazing women in my life and how they’ve empowered me. My mom is wonderful. Generous, kind. Good teacher. I’m grateful to have known and grown to love my mother-in-law. She showed gentleness, strength, and grace through her last moments on this earth.

I’m grateful for friends who’ve shared wisdom and courage in and beyond their own circumstances.

I’m grateful for my daughter’s continuous patience and endless forgiveness.

I don’t ever want to take any of you for granted.

Ink

21 August 2019 I got a tattoo. I had been thinking about getting one for a long time: what it should be, how big it should be, where to put it.

I decided on a hummingbird. In many cultures this animal represents joy, happiness, good luck, and positive energy. Love and playfulness. These are all things Z embodies. I mean, spend two minutes with her and there’s no denying it.

I also like the idea of how quickly its wings move yet gives the impression of stillness and calm. The average hummingbird beats its wings 53 times per second. This speed allows it to hover mid-air, to take its time as it siphons nectar from various flowers. As hard as it works it presents beauty while seeming to enjoy life.

That’s important.

There are tons of images of hummingbirds all over the internet. At first I didn’t know if I wanted something more realistic or fantastic or simplistic. Somehow I decided on simple and clean.

I went to a tattoo studio that a coworker likes and set up an appointment. A week later I walked in with a printout of the image I wanted. We talked about size and placement. I wanted it on my right shoulder, and if I got it big enough, he could use the colors that were on the printout, and they would be easy to see. I went for it.

The artist made a template of the printout. He suggested that the hummingbird should be facing inward, aesthetically speaking. I trusted all of his advice, because this was my first tattoo, and I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.

I lay on his table, and the artist got to work. The whole thing took just over an hour, maybe 70 minutes. A few times the pen buzzed against bone, which sort of hurt, compared to the merely annoying pressure of the rest of the piece. All in all, relatively quick and mostly painless.

I spent the next two weeks applying ointment to the tattoo and covering it with clingwrap. I spent the two weeks after that moisturizing it with lotion. Reilly helped with applying ointment and bandages from time to time.

It still looks as good as it did a year and a half ago. I love this reminder of the people in my life who possess hummingbird-like qualities, especially our glorious Z.

No regrets here.

Teacher’s Note

Yesterday was Z’s first day of preschool. It should have been Tuesday, but there was a mixup with the buses. They reversed our home address and the pickup address. I was annoyed, but things got straightened out, and when I picked her up from daycare yesterday, the workers said she’d had a good day, that she was a happy little girl. And had a nice nap. And that she’d gone potty just before I got there. The bus pickup and dropoff had no glitches, and the bus aide told the daycare that Z had a good day at preschool. I was so pleased to hear all of this good news! To top it off, Z was holding a clear plastic cup with some animal crackers. I buckled her in the car.

Then we got home and had about 20 minutes before Z’s ABA session. We sat at the patio table and ate some chips, then Dadda got home. And then Z’s tutor and the tutor’s supervisor came over. The supervisor talked with us about the additional things she’d like to implement in Z’s program and asked us if we had any questions. Reilly mentioned that Z sometimes reverses the sounds of letters in a word, like saying the “K” sound first in the word “drink.”

Then the supervisor brought up apraxia. The way Z tries to say some words may indicate apraxia. None of this is conclusive right now. But it’s another thing I have to research and worry about. I wasn’t told not to worry. I was going to worry anyway, but it makes a difference to be told not to worry.

This afternoon Z’s preschool teacher sent us an email:

Z’s day two has gone great, she really likes snack time, but wanted to walk around with the “juice” (gatorade) that she chose so we put in in her sippy cup and then she was able to drink from it when she was thirsty. She is listening and following directions so much better than when she first started in April which is awesome, especially considering the long summer break.
Just wanted to let you know.
As I was reading, tears streamed down my cheeks, and I’ve yet to really identify the emotions I experienced. Maybe I felt a combination of happiness and relief. But I felt most strongly pride. I can never articulate what all my concerns are for her, especially when it comes to navigating the world and discerning trust in and from others. Her safety, her knowing who she is, her ability to contribute to society. The preschool teacher’s email gave me great hope.
The other day, I tweeted this:

I’m grateful for the tools our biggening girl has acquired in her life so far. We can’t wait to see what else she can do.

The Degree of Like

Facebook is such a great way to keep up with friends. I like being able see what my friends’ opinions are on all sorts of subjects. I can tell political stances, movie/music/book preferences, games people play. I love when people post interest pictures or clever little memes. It’s actually pretty fun getting to know people this way without actually taking off my hermit hat and making an effort to interact with them. Especially if they live far away or if you can tell by their preferences that you wouldn’t get along with certain people in person. I can appreciate a healthy and occasionally overwarm discussion, but if I had to argue with certain people every day in real life, my head would probably explode. And then I wouldn’t be able to decide if I “like” things. Which would make me sad.

I enjoy being able to use Like on just about anything my friends post. I can “like” as many comments, photos, and status updates as I want. But I also understand the power of Like. And its nonpower. I have tried to be consistent in the ways I have liked or not liked certain things on facebook, but the more I use the process, the more I can see the nuances of its influence. Maybe the following doesn’t list nuances as much as my mere whimsy.

likefb

 

 

 

  • I have read the comment/article/whatever, and I understand it.
  • I have read the comment/article/whatever, and I agree with it.
  • I have read the comment/article/whatever, and I appreciate the point of view.
  • I am acknowledging this post on my newsfeed, but I haven’t read it.
  • I don’t want to be too imposing on the conversation that involves the post, especially if the post doesn’t directly include me.
  • I do not want to participate in a conversation, but I have read the comments.
  • I’m about to unlike the post.
  • I don’t really like the post, but I don’t want you to think I’m ignoring you.
  • The post is clever, and I will most likely comment and/or share.
  • The post is beautiful.
  • The post is cerebral or literary or strikes a chord with one of my interests.
  • The post acknowledges me in some way.
  • The post made me laugh.

likeyetfb

 

 

  • I do not like the post.
  • I do not understand the post.
  • I’m feeling particularly snobby.
  • I have read too many posts, and my clicking finger is tired.
  • I missed the post.
  • I am ignoring the post and may like it later.
  • I do not want to like the post because I don’t want to have to unfollow or unlike the post later.
  • I do not want to participate in a conversation, but I have read the comments.
  • I disagree with the post.
  • I do not like the person who made the post.
  • I don’t feel close enough to the person who made the post to like the post.
  • The post is not relevant to me.
  • The post is not clever.
  • The post has something to do with genuinely liking Fifty Shades of Grey or Twilight.
  • The post is gross/crass/most likely rednecky.

The Like link has gone expanded from facebook to blogs, news sites, music sites, to just about everything on the internet. It’s a fascinating power to have and exercise, and it’s interesting to observe how people respond to what they like or don’t like. Just know if I Like or choose not to Like a post, it can have any meaning or a number of meanings at the same time. Or no meaning at all.

How do you like that?

Top 10 List for May’s 2012

I cannot believe this year. So much has happened, and I have only 56 entries to show for it. At least there are fewer blog posts to choose from for the annual countdown.

10. May: No one told me I’d eventually get to play against the BYU quarterback. I joined an intramural kickball team, and tonight was our first game.

9. July: Smartphone apps have a tiny dear place in my heart.  I looked around to see that I wasn’t the only one crying. I loved it.

8. July: This is the year I really got into hiking. And most of it during the season of a broken camera. Thank the Lord for making geology pretty.

7. August: Reilly’s birthday, and first time in New York City. We wondered about Glenn Close.

6. January: Careful to put ego-puffing somewhere in the middle. Being published in an academic, peer-reviewed journal would be a nice touch to my last semester.

5. September: The Oklahoma visit went along with going to NYC. Dad still finds happiness in little things. In simple things.

4. November: What an election year. I’m sorry to the friends I may have pissed off. But,  I spent maybe at least 5 minutes voting/playing with the fancy machine.

3. October: Recap of April’s commencement ceremony. I only slept because my friends who sat by me made me so very comfortable.

2.5. April: Full of transitions and excitement and bending rules for lists of 10.  The past four days have knocked me squarely on my rear. Three flights, up and down, up and down. My things, my books. His things, his books.

2. December: Can we distinguish the source of our tears in December? We talk about future names, but what is the name of our future?

1. June: Well, duh. Mindblowing. Incredible. Fantastic. Amazing. This.

This list doesn’t even include events like Christmas and wedding showers and getting jobs. It’s true that I am often vague in my blog posts, but know that these top 10 entries include the top people in my life. You’re always in my thoughts and prayers. You’ve done so much for my happiness and helped me to become a decent person. Thank you for your support. Thank you especially for your friendship and kindness and generosity, which I know will carry over into the new year and our upcoming and continued lives together.

I wish you all the blessings and happiness you deserve. Nothing less.

Graceland

Today, my student loan grace period ends.

It’s hard to believe six months have passed since graduation. Sitting in the Marriott Center, falling to sleep to Elder Oaks’s commencement speech. I only slept because my friends who sat by me made me so very comfortable. The hour before, we happened to find each other in that giant mob of the School of Humanities, all of us scattered about in the ASB parking lot, and it’s not like we planned it. We’re humanities majors; our degrees were not in planning. But we stood in the sun, waited for our cue, marched into the arena. Passed by professors in their regalia while “Pomp and Circumstance” blared. I wonder if Sir Edward Elgar ever got annoyed by how long his piece could be.

I could not have been more honored sitting with these friends:

Maddie thinks big and likes small houses. She’s passionate for noble causes and homemade pickles.

Jen, “Ms. Magna,” was so very ready to take her vacation to Ireland and wants to take on a certain spritely dancing violinist.

Stephanie, was more or less on her way to an internship in France, because if you can change France, you change the world.

Bridgette has already landed a job, and her mind is anywhere but Provo. She might be too smart for her own good.

The five of us. A juggernaut of awesome women. BYU graduates. Ever so ready to take on the world.

I wish we would have gotten a picture.

Always, I’ll feel indebted, but friends are the kind of grace never ends.

I Like This Movie

This movie is truly one of the best child actor performances I have ever seen. Of course Lee Pace is cute and stuff, but the little girl really steals the show. Her innocence, her role melts into her being. It doesn’t even seem like she’s acting.

In other news, my life seems to be crumbling before my very eyeballs. That is, if I kept my eyeballs open long enough to notice. I’m overwhelmed and frustrated, and sleep is my newest and best friend. It doesn’t judge or yell; it just lets me be.

Six weeks of class left. I don’t know, you guys.

Small Request

I know I don’t talk to a lot of you on a regular basis, and sometimes the conversation goes a certain way. Most of the time. You know what I mean. I’ve been having this kind of discussion for 18 years, ever since I was old enough to date?

If you decide to ask me if I’m dating anyone, just be aware that I will know:

  1. if you’re merely curious
  2. if you are concerned about my overall happiness and would meddle if you could
  3. if you want to brag about your current amazing relationship, which, if you’d just tell me already, I’d be very excited for you.

Now, I can hold up my end of the conversation, and my intuition serves me well. I may call you out on your intentions, or I may not. But please also be aware that:

  1. if I want to tell you if I’m dating, I will
  2. if I’m not dating, it doesn’t mean I’m sad or pathetic
  3. I really do appreciate your company, but if I’m not outright complaining about dating, you really don’t have to worry or try to fix anything. I’m doing great. I promise.

Thanks.

On 3.5 Hours of Sleep

This really isn’t anything new, this lack of sleep, but this semester has really hit the ground running. I’m actually current with my homework, but then again, it’s only the second day of class. Keeping this pace is going to be the challenge.

I’m starting to take time to do the “little” things. Daily half-hour of scripture study; prayer. Temple attendance is more of a big thing, but yeah, there’s that, too.

I do have priorities, and that means I’m going to have to require respect of my time.

Have I written about this before? Like, a few days ago?

Ah, yes. Focus.

It’s time to hit the books again.

Noticing

I have a friend here who, if I asked, would drop everything and do anything for me. He’s always asking if I need anything, and I’m always telling him I’m fine. We get along pretty well for not knowing each other for very long.

I’m pulling an all-nighter, and I felt myself fading earlier today, so I asked this friend if he’d mind bringing me a little caffeine. He asked what kind, and I said, either this or this, fully expecting just one 20-oz bottle of either of my preferred poisons.

He brought over one bottle of each kind. But they were 2-liter bottles.

He wouldn’t even let me pay him. Little punk. What a good person.

***

I know this is coming completely out of the blue (ha), but it feels as if I’m going through a rough patch. Surprise, right? It’s not debilitating, the days go on and on, but it does make me a little sad, and I can’t help but think I’ve kind of messed things up.  I know I’ve done nothing but whine since I’ve returned to Provo, but I guess I just didn’t expect the transition to be this rocky. And for some reason that entitles me to take out my frustrations on the rest of the world – specific pockets of the world that have subsequently closed off and may take a while to open up again. How can I learn if I try to ignore the consequences of my actions?And, haven’t I learned this lesson before? Not well enough, apparently.

I’m really trying not to be the victim here. Or the martyr.

I guess I’m just trying to say I’m sorry.