Sunday, May 16, 2010


I feel like I should catch up (thanks for the nudge, Kate):

Recently, I've been trying to turn my thumbs green, adoring my little zinnias, cosmos and dahlias and feeling especially fond of my foxglove (a blooming (hopefully soon!) reminder of my mother in my very own front yard). Also trying to fight off the earwigs and slugs that threaten their well being.

I took Henry to kindergarten round-up last week. It was ... interesting. I am excited about some aspects of school (Henry really needs some friends! and the teacher I met was absolutely wonderful) and not so excited about others (I was totally underwhelmed by the principal and a little unsure about the group of parents I was surrounded by). But we're focusing on the positive aspects of the upcoming school year - yes we are. And trying to be brave in the face of change (both Henry and I). I know it will be a transition for our family; we're looking forward to it.

And last weekend we got away. To the coast.
It was just what we needed. Salt water. Fresh, cool air. No computers, no clients, nobody/nothing waving its arms for our attention (except our children -- whom we were happy to relish and indulge). We picnicked on the beach. Found crab shells in the sand. Kissed a lot. Fed the flocking seagulls and got woozy over the beauty of a coastal sunset.

Saturday morning (back at home) I woke up, rolled over, and begged Nate to take me back.
It was such a fun trip. Somehow we managed to leave every single care at home and truly escape.

Our life's felt out of balance lately, which is fine and to be expected considering the circumstance. Lots and lots of work. And it seems that even when we're not working, we're talking and thinking about work. So maybe the best thing about getting away was clearing everything out of the space between us and just being together. And playing. I love that the Proclamation includes "wholesome recreational activities" as one of the principles successful families are built upon. It's good to play together.

I've been feeling so many things lately. And so heavily. I think it's one of those double-edged-sword type of gifts to feel things deeply. I'm thankful for it. But it's also a weakness. Some things just don't need to be worried over and internalized a million deep. And my children need a less-wearied mother.

I've been a bit weary. While I should be relishing in Lily's independence and strong will, I often just feel ... tired. (And no, I'm not pregnant - I think it's a byproduct of the worry). Sometimes being the mom is so, so hard. And nobody really talks about that part (at least not very often in my circle of friends). And I've felt a little bit isolated. This afternoon I was feeling really tired and I wanted to lay down so badly - but I knew that neglecting my children for 10 minutes would result in a catastrophe of some sort - a huge mess to clean up, a chemical ingested, or the neighbor bringing Lily to my doorstep, telling me she'd escaped and had been ringing their doorbell repeatedly (no, that has not happened before! stop looking at me like that...)

My most uttered prayer is for more capacity. More patience. More ability to see clearly and savor the sweetness that is all around me, especially in the two dear little people I care for.
On our drive home from the coast Nate and I each took an ear bud and listened to a few conference talks on the iPod. Those words (Elder Scott's talk and Elder Uchtdorf's priesthood talk) went right to my heart. The more of life I experience, the more I know that there is safety and peace in following the counsel of the prophets; I need to be more familiar with what they're asking me to do. It's hard for me to explain what I feel about their counsel other than that I really want to understand and follow it. And as I listened, I felt that the antidote for my fear and anxiety surrounding this season of our life is faith.

And as long as I'm sharing completely unrelated thoughts and waxing confessional - every time I sit down to blog, I feel stifled, unsure, hesitant. I don't like that. A record hardly seems worth keeping if it's not real. Sometimes it's hard to be real when you know your words will fall under various sets of eyes. But rosy stories of fake perfection don't serve anyone. So I've kind of been avoiding it - because sometimes I feel like I don't have the guts for it. Or the time, really. Oh, the blogger's conundrum...

Anyway, in all the ways that matter, we are immeasurably blessed. In every regard, we have more than we deserve. And our families are so good to us. I don't know how we would manage this mammoth task we've taken on without their love and support. They give us courage. My mom and my mother-in-law have been so kind and helpful; I adore them and appreciate them more than I could ever show.

And my children, though they wear me out and remind me of the most unrefined parts of my nature, are so precious. Today I asked Lily, "Who does Mama love?" She didn't say anything, but Henry chimed in, "ME! You love me!"
"And how do you know that?" I asked him.
"Because you always tell me that and grab me up and kiss me."
I grabbed him up and kissed him and told him he was absolutely right. And I was so glad that he knows that. And feels that. Because even when it is hard, I love those children to the point of pain. I love the way Lily loves "Goodnight Moon" (it's the only story she'll sit through) and how she wraps her arms around the back of my neck for a "big squeeze" and how she breathes nonsense in my ear when I ask for a secret (oh, I love that!) And I love the way Henry helped me make a breakfast calendar a few weeks ago and his first order of business upon waking up in the morning is to check the calendar and see what's for breakfast. And how he is such a nice big brother - Lily couldn't be luckier. And how he loves to snuggle with me, and play with me and read stories with me - I know that's going to change and I need to do a better job of loving it while it lasts. I don't want anything more than to be their mother.

I go into their room almost every night after they're asleep and I fix their blankets and smooth their hair and I put the half of Henry's body that's fallen off his bed back onto the mattress (that kid is the craziest sleeper!) and I kiss their cheeks and ask them to forgive me for the blemishes of the day and I whisper love into their ears.
And I hope that it all sinks in.


  1. I know where you're coming from with this, Em. This is something that I feel I'm constantly working on--balancing on a multi-faceted knife's edge of so many different roles and responsibilities.

    Something you noted about the Proclamation's guidance to hold wholesome family activities resonated with me. I've noticed that if we just go through our normal daily routines, inevitably I end up feeling drudge-like. Or that I'm stuck on a hamster wheel of endless "good things" that don't seem to have much eternal significance. But I've found that if I can create something just a tiny bit magical--something that we're NOT going to repeat the next day--then I cherish that moment, and I look at it as something that's building a strong familial relationship to have these neat experiences together. It gives me something to look forward to that's unique in each day. I actually blogged about my plan for this during the summer a couple of days ago.

    For me, it's the chance to just spend time with my family--away from my normal responsibilities and chores--that helps me remember WHY I chose this. Why I love these people so much. And then it's easier to pick up and start again cheerfully.

    Anyway, I just want to say--you're not alone. This post captured many of the feelings I have every day.

  2. thank you for always being so real. thank you for this post.

  3. I know it's hard to put your feelings out there like this, but I am so thankful you did! And I love the pictures. I grew up in Eugene and miss the beautiful Oregon coast.

  4. Posts like this are why I love your blog . . .

  5. Your post made me weep and long to be your next-door nieghbor so we could be best friends. I feel exactly the way you feel. Every single word. (Even the parts about get-a-ways and the Oregon coast.) It struggle constantly with my own little "Monster Mom." (Ok, she's not so little. Most days I feel like she's the more part of me.) I get so overwhelmed. I just want with my whole soul to be a great mom. I want nothing else, really. And when you want something that you know is something that Heavenly Father wants more than anything . . . you find yourself trying to mold yourself into what he wants you to be . . . which means lots of tearful prayers, repentance, hard work, and forgiveness. And faith. The great thing is there is also usually a lot of success . . . gradually more and more every day. You are such a wondeful example of motherhood to me, Emily! I think you're doing a wonderful job. Not necessarily because of what you do with your children (although I love that too) but because of how you speak about them. Thank you so much for blogging. It's really been a blessing to me in many ways. We love your family and hope you keep blogging lots (despite the blogger's dilemma!!). ;)

  6. Happy to see you back! I have virtually nothing in common with you, yet I love reading your perspective on things. You keep it real. :)

    ps. Oregon is gorgeous. Wow.

  7. loved this post. loved the pics of the coast! we need to go there someday. thanks for chatting the other night. and i think you're a good mom. one that i admire very much.

  8. love you em! hang in there. you are doing a great job i know. and i love the pics.

  9. Oh, Emily. This post makes me miss you even more (is that possible?). I just love you dearly.

  10. We just moved back and there is nothing like home! I Love your blog you are such a good Mom. Gaven needs some more friends too and I wondered if you wanted to get our boys together to play?

  11. You have a such a beautiful heart. I'm glad for the times you share it. Love the beautiful pictures of your time together as a family. Best wishes in all of your endeavors, friend!