Friday, January 21, 2011

Reflections on a Birthday

Skye, Rachel, Allison, Johanna

Today is my niece Allison's 12th Birthday. When I think of a twelve year old, I picture a child standing on the edge of childhood- not quite a teenager, not quite a child. There are so many possibilities, so much excitement. This will be how I picture Allison- her life paused.

The last few months have been hard. They have been a time of mourning. I have felt sadness and a little shock at the way time marches on. Clothes get dirty, dinner needs to be cooked, children go to bed and suddenly it has been nearly three months since the sad night in October when we lost Allison.

Recently my sister Amy sent an email where she shared some thoughts on grief. Her description really struck home to me and I would like to share a few portions of her letter (with her permission):

It darkens. I have lost the ford.
There is a change on all things made.
The rocks have evil faces, Lord,
And I am [sore] afraid.
(Hilaire Belloc, with alteration by Elder Holland)

"Grief is a huge thing, it isn’t something we can fix by talking at it. It isn’t a pothole that we can repave with a sixty-pound sack of asphalt, although people sure like to try. To carry the image in the Belloc poem forward, I think that grief is instead like walking across a river at a ford, and all of a sudden the bottom drops out and you go under and you find yourself swimming, struggling through deep and turbulent water, trying to keep from drowning. There is barely any energy for anything but trying to keep your head above the water. You know that you are wearing a life jacket, but even with a life jacket, the dark, rushing river takes every bit of effort you have. After awhile, maybe months, maybe years, you start to notice that there are rocky footholds every now and then and eventually you find your footing again, but you find that you are crossing the river at a different ford, one that is much deeper than the one you were used to. The whole landscape is different.

I’m sure I could develop the image further, but I will end my comments on that subject here except to note that the one part I didn’t mention are the people who are wading on the edge of the river, who are also struggling with the current, but who aren’t in as deep, who are calling out words of encouragement and can sometimes point out a foothold."

So on this day, that should be a day of celebration, I would like to send my love and support to my sister and her family. Even though we are not in as deep, we mourn with you.

Happy Birthday, sweet niece, until we meet again.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What Questions Do You Have?

This morning (at 7:00) Rachel came into to kitchen and as she wrapped her sandwich for her lunch she said "Mom . . ."
I was expecting:

Where is the peanut butter?
Can I have those leftover Oreos for my treat?
Can I have yogurt with my toast?

Instead she said:

"Mom, in the scriptures and and church history, sometimes the men can have more than one wife. Can the wife ever have more than one husband?"

She continued "And why can only men hold the priesthood? And why do only the men hold leadership positions in our church?"

And that is what I faced at 7:00 this morning, before my brain could even figure out why it was awake.

I had all the answers (at least my own answers- I am sure that she will find the answers to those questions on her own as she learns and grows).

I am at peace and happy and know my answers to be the truth for me. It was a good reminder that I do love my answers/my testimony.

It was a better reminder that I love this girl and her questions. She has always been a challenge to me and yet everyday I am in awe of her. She has a grown up spirit in that little body.

PS Does your house ever look like a bomb just went off and you can't quite figure out how they do it? Especially the little one who is personally trying to polish off a 10 lb bag of semi sweet chocolate chips despite my best efforts to hide the bag and distract the child. Chocolate chips in warm little chubby baby hands and walls are not a good combination.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

What do you get?

When Katie opens the refrigerator and lets Nathan help himself to a snack?
Yum. Yum.
There is nothing like skipping the baking stage and going straight for a stick of butter to fulfill your calorie needs.
And doesn't he look so pleased with himself?
And would you like to try and take a stick of butter from an 18 month old?