Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Always. Never.

I awoke with the sun this morning. I really wanted to sleep, but the light caught me, my eyes opened, my head starting spinning...and I found myself facing a day I had known was probably coming for over 19 years.

It's the day my son leaves on a mission.

And although I have always desired this for him, and I thought I had prepared myself thoroughly for this day, now that its here...I don't feel like I thought I would. A part of me never thought it would actually get here. I'm not even sure I can describe it, but I'm going to try.

I can remember when he was little, when my days were endless diapers and tantrums and soothing and feedings... I had this overwhelming feeling that it would last forever. I would always be changing diapers. I would never sleep a full night again. I would always have to carry a cutesy nylon bag roughly the size of Manhattan to accommodate any potential baby/toddler disaster. I would never again have any time be my time. Those moments felt like they were never ending. It felt like this is how life would always be. Even though I knew it wouldn't. I mean, logically, it can't.

As he grew, he obviously didn't need me as much to take care of his needs every minute of the day. And eventually he even aggressively drew boundaries. Thank goodness. I remember the first day of fourth grade. I walked him out to the bus stop...what I thought was my big 10 year old... I stood with him by the mailbox and waited. I saw the bus approaching our house and I bent down to hug and kiss him. He put his hand up between us and stated firmly "Step away from the fourth grader." I smiled and felt a little sad. But I understood. He was trying to be more grown up and need me less. Those elementary years were fraught with all kinds of fun. I would always have to sit with him while we struggled through homework. The testing and doctor visits to find out why he was struggling would never end. I would always have to attend some mundane and drawn out meeting or event at the school. I felt sometimes he never turned his brain all the way on in the morning and would never figure out how NOT to do stupid things. Those moments felt like they were never ending. It felt like this is how life would always be. Even though I knew it wouldn't. I mean, logically, it can't.

And then one day he was taller than me. And I mean wayyyy taller. And he needed me again, but more on emotional level than a constant physical one. And I think he hated that he needed me. I think there were moments he just hated me. He was becoming his own person and he and I are very different people essentially. So we had to learn how to interact on a new level. Plus, as he became fully aware of and tried to deal with the many unfair and sometimes overwhelming things that had happened to him and around him during his younger years, I somehow became the one to blame for most of his angst. Partly because in every moment good and bad, I was there. I was the only thing in his life that had been ever present, which put me at the scene of every crime (as it were). But he needed to work through that. With me, and without me. I would always listen to him vent and complain about my "obviously" inadequate parenting. He would never see it from my point of view and never forgive me for moving him away from his friends. He would always want to be doing his own thing and need more money and more transportation. I would never forget the moment when I had walked him into the high school to get something and he hugged me before I left in the middle of a crowded hallway in front of God and everybody. Those moments felt like they were never ending. It felt like this is how life would always be. Even though I knew it wouldn't. I mean, logically, it can't.

And now we are here. On this day. Time feels like it has both stopped and is rushing by. I keep looking at the clock thinking "Will 1:30 ever get here?" and at the same time realizing and hour has passed I didn't even realize it. The moments are coming and going. And obviously every other moment leading to this one that I thought I would always be in and never get out of has come and gone. And suddenly I see very clearly that every "always" and "never" I felt through the past 19 years, were never actually true. Superlatives are hard to apply to the transition of time, because time is not a stationary thing. It moves. Because any amount of time, good or bad, can never be always or never anything. Because eventually, it simply will not be anymore.

Now that I know,now that I understand,  I will apply my "always" and "never" to something less measurable than time, but something that I can promise will always be and never change.

He will always be my son.
I will never stop loving him.

And through every moment that has already gone and every moment yet to come, including every single one today... That's really the only "always" or "never" either of us need.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Timeline: February,March and April

So February and March passed without anything terribly significant. Okay, a few things. But I already blogged about them. I had my car towed in Provo and had to deal with the subsequent consequences that led to thousands of dollars of damage to my van. And in March I started the month with a surprise gall bladder removal and subsequent recovery. I spent a lot to time feeling very tired, watching "Call the Midwife" and eating tapioca pudding.

One kind of cool thing I got to experience at the end of February. My friend Josy Montie was in a play about the first black Mormon pioneer. She was amazing. And the night I went with her brother, President Uchtdorf was also there. He was sitting just a few rows behind us, but I didn't get the chance to meet him.

April was when things got a little crazy.

The first full week of April was Spring Break. I had used all of my vacation time with the surgery. So the kids were left to their own devices. I really wanted them to have a good week, so I arranged for them to go on different adventures every day of that week. I think it turned out well. Maryn actually got the opportunity last minute to go with Lisa, Sage and Brecken to Las Vegas. She had an amazing time! And it was a week that led up to her 14th birthday, so even better.

Monday... Bryant came and got them and took them up AF canyon a bit to make hobo dinners in a fire. They went on a little hike, then came back down and stopped at Cabela's before heading out to the west side of Utah Lake to go off roading in the Jeep. I called on my way back from work so I knew where to meet them for supper... to find out Bryant was being ticketed for trespassing. That was awesome.

Tuesday... Paul took Conner and Ashlyn, plus neighbor boys Parley and Ethan to Nickel City and swimming at the Lehi Pool.

Wednesday... This day was spent with Grandma Downs. They went down to BYU. They toured the art museum, saw where my grandparents used to teach, had lunch in the Cougar Eat and dessert at the Creamery. They really enjoyed themselves.

Thursday... Conner and Ashlyn went with Grandma Thacker up to Heber to see graves and homes that were occupied by our ancestors. She had them first fill out a pedigree chart and then they went on a hunt. It was amazing. That night we all went together to Noodles and Company for dinner and then to Color Me Mine to paint ceramics. It was a blast.

Covered in Crazy

I would say the last six weeks have been covered in crazy.
And that's putting it mildly.

So Paul received his mission call on May 14th. We had several friends and family with us as we found out he would be be serving in the California Roseville Mission, reporting to the MTC on June 25th.

This all happened about the same time I got a promotion and became the director of 2-1-1. I had already purchased tickets to go to Atlanta the first week of June for a conference.

He had seminary graduation on May 25th.

He had graduation on May 30th.

We made plans for Paul to go to Las Vegas to see his grandmother, and spend a week in Ohio to see his dad and my family
All of this travel necessitated that we also make plans to go to the temple the same day he graduated. We went to his graduation ceremony at 12. We met Marcus afterward at Pizza Pie Cafe. Soon after, Bryant and Paul left for the temple (they had to be there at 4:45). We joined them at 6:15. Then several of our friends and family joined us at Chili's for some celebration. It was a good day. Busy. But very very good.