Thursday, July 9, 2015

Where I Got My Smile

A year ago today I got a call at work from my sister, Angie, she was sitting at the hospital with my mom who had gone in a few days earlier.  Angie was pretty upset and worried because the Dr. had come in to talk to her and he had let her know that things were not looking good for mom.

I remember that day.  I remember leaving work and going to be with my sister.  Talking with the Dr. the and pulmonologist and then finally with a nurse who was very kind but also completely honest with us, and then coming to the realization that I was going to have to say goodbye to my mom, and soon.

I remember it like it was yesterday, instead of a year ago.

Firsts without those we love are always hard.  These past few weeks have been especially difficult.  I had my first birthday without mom here.  It was a lovely day.  I don't dread birthdays as some do so I woke happy and even took a little bit of extra time getting ready for the day.

As I went in to work and sat down at my desk the realization that there would be no phone call with my mom on the other end, cheerfully wishing me happy birthday, no birthday card, hit me.  Mom loved cards.  She loved reading through all the cards and finding the one that was just right for the occasion and for the person.  There would be no perfect card from mom today.  And the tears came.

Not long after that I got a text from McKenna telling me that I NEEDED to come home for lunch.  I told her okay.  When I got home that afternoon there was a sweet surprise waiting for me.

I have no idea who the sweet soul is that did that for me.  But whoever you are, thank you.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.   McKenna told me that a lady and brought them by but she didn't know who it was.  They were dropped off not long after my morning cry.  People are good and kind. 

The Fourth of July was difficult because that was mom's favorite holiday.  She loved to have her family around her laughing and singing and enjoying life.  I think that those days were some of her most treasured times.  I know that they are some of mine.

This year I tried to keep the traditions going.  It wasn't easy but I'm glad I did it.  And I will continue to do them for her and for my family near and far.

Mom will have been gone for a year tomorrow.  

I love her.  I miss her.  I could use her wisdom in my life so much right now.  I could use her prayers. And I could most definitely use a hug.

But mom kept moving forward even when things were exceptionally difficult.  When mom was pregnant with me (and I am the seventh of eight kids) my dad was in a pretty scary gas explosion that burned his face and his hands badly.  I can't imagine how terrifying that must have been for my mom.  And yet she did what she had to do and kept going.  Usually with a smile on her face.

I tell you this, and I know it is true...

She is still moving forward.  
She still prays for me. 
I get hugs from her in my dreams.   
She and dad and my sister, Pam, and my grandparents are all doing their very best to help all of us that they love so very much, as best they can from the other side.  They are close.  I can feel them.

So I will keep moving forward. 
 And I will do my best to remember her and honor her with my life, my actions and my smile.  

Which in all honesty... I got from her.

Love you mom.  
Always and Forever.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Homemade Rainbow Confetti, Slacks on Sunday and What I Know

On January 26th, two days after her 12th birthday, with a confusing and, quite frankly unclear (to some), card trick and a shower of homemade rainbow confetti our youngest daughter, Jillian, told us she was gay.

I would like to say that it didn't catch me off guard but that would be a lie.  As I asked Jillian a short time later that night what exactly the card trick meant, she looked at me and simply said "I'm gay".  Tears welled up in my eyes and I pulled her into a hug and told her that I loved her.  It was a natural response.  I didn't even have to think twice about it. 

I want to be clear here, didn't cry because I was sad or upset that she is gay.  I cried because I knew that this was going to be hard.  And I told her that.  I said "This is hard. This is going to be hard. 

 And she said "I know."

Our families have been incredibly loving and supportive and have thrown their arms around our family and especially Jillian. We have also found wonderful love and support through groups like "I'll Walk With You" and "North Star".

I am so thankful that Jillian felt safe enough in our family to shower us with her homemade rainbow confetti.  Unfortunately there are many people out there that don't feel safe sharing who they are with those that are supposed to love them the very most.  Since Jillian has come out to us we have had another dear person come to us and share their proverbial "rainbow confetti".  I feel incredibly blessed and honored that they did so.

One of the ways that I chose to show support for Jillian was to wear  pants to church the first Sunday that we attended our new ward.  She doesn't like dresses and prefers wearing a suit instead.  When I asked her if she would like me to wear pants to church with her she was all over that.  My husband wrote a wonderful blog about our first week that you can read  HERE.

That Sunday as I prepared to walk into the chapel in pants I was surprised by just how nervous I was.  And the thought came to me "If you think it's hard walking into church because you are wearing pants how much more difficult has it been for Jillian for so many years?"   How difficult must it be for anyone who feels like they don't fit "the mold".

I was only planning on wearing the pants that first Sunday but after that realization I decided that I would continue wearing pants.  Not necessarily every Sunday but it will be a regular thing.  In fact I wore slacks again today.

I would like to start a "movement" if you will to let people out there who may feel different or who are clutching a fistful of  their own rainbow confetti afraid that someone might see it, that there are people in the church that love you and want you there. If you care to join me I will be wearing slacks every second Sunday.  You can join me in this "Slacks on Sunday" if you feel like it. You can take pictures or write about your experience and post to social media with the hashtag #SlacksonSunday.

If you see me on a Sunday wearing pants (or a skirt) know that I love you for who you are no matter what, and if you need a hug or someone to talk to, I am here for you.

And if someone feels safe enough to let you catch a glimpse of their homemade rainbow confetti please know that your life will be richer, fuller and hopefully you will come to a deeper understanding of the second great commandment.

And, believe it or not, if you are showered with rainbow confetti your life will be blessed.
It most likely will be hard but you will be blessed.
This I know.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


We are moving.

Three words that have rarely been strung together in my vocabulary.

We are moving.

For many people moving is the norm, a way of life, even, for some.
But not for me.
Where we live now is two blocks from the home where I was born and raised.
I never moved as a child.

I have seven siblings and some people have jokingly said that we have short umbilical cords.  We all live within either walking distance or a very short drive of our childhood home.  It was a good home. Not a perfect home but a good one. It was a safe place, as homes should be. It was full of laughter and tears and warmth and hugs.  And most importantly, love.

My mom used to tell me that I would be her child that was going to move far away.  That wasn't the case.  I settled down just two blocks North.  My children have gone and are going to the same grade school, Jr. High and High school that I attended.  Our youngest graduates from 6th grade this week.

We have lived in this house for just under 18 years.  Our two youngest were born here. And much of the raising of all four of our children has occurred in this little brown brick building.  It has been a good home.  Not a perfect home but a good one.  I hope my children remember it as a safe place full of laughter and tears and hugs and warmth. And most importantly, love.

I have lived in the Timpanogos 3rd ward for, I would say, 40 of my 43 (almost 44) years.  My grandmother was my primary chorister, my sister-in-law was one of my relief society presidents, two of my brothers served in different bishopbrics, one of my brothers was my bishop. And I have loved every minute of it.  I have seen people come and go. And now I am one of those going.

I love the people of this ward and they have loved me into the person I am today.  I am going to miss seeing their smiling faces, their warm handshakes and their gentle hugs on Sundays.

But now we are moving.

I will be honest with you.  I am nervous. Nervous about going to a new ward in a new neighborhood. And it's not even that far away.  (I am actually moving closer to my sister, YAY! although we will not be in the same ward.)  Will people like me?  Will they "get" me and my sense of humor?  More importantly, will they be there for my family, for my kids, like this ward that we have lived in for years?

How is this all going to go down? 

I don't know.  I just know that when my mom passed away last July there was a "loosening", for lack of a better word.  And I feel that this move is right, it is good.  We will take this new, larger, brick and siding building and make it our home.  And it will be a good home. It will be a safe place.  Not just for our family but for everyone. We will fill it with laughter and tears and warmth and hugs. And most importantly, love.

We are moving.