Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Finding What Was Lost

My mom.  Honestly, she is one of the truest, kindest, most genuine, Christlike souls on this Earth.  I am not into flattery and sunshine for feel-good sake.  I don't say things like that unless they're true and I mean them.  And those things about my mother?  They're true.  And I mean them.
A few weeks ago I flew to Utah to celebrate her graduation from BYU's bachelor of general studies program.  She's been finishing her degree for seven (maybe eight?) years.  I wish I had a shred of that kind of discipline and stick-to-it-ness.

It is incredibly difficult for me to leave my family.  It always has been.  Like my crooked teeth and my long fingers -- it's something I came with.  My discomfort with separation is so intense it probably qualifies for "disorder" status -- an unnatural anxiety.  As I lay awake in my bed the night before my little trip to Utah I wished I could live in someone else's body for a while (at least that night) -- just to feel what it would feel like to be excited to go away, instead of laying awake all night long, anxiety-ridden.  I am not being cheeky or dramatic when I say my separation anxiety is "disorderly" -- it is.      

My first night in Utah was rough, too.    

But my goodness am I glad I went.  (Those are always my famous last words. *guilty shrug/sideways smile*)  I got to celebrate with my mom, Kate, Jason and Ryan as they all earned degrees - three bachelors and a masters -- more affectionately dubbed "the four degrees of glory!"  I was proud of all of them.  Fist bumps for education!  Kate was chosen to speak at the commencement exercises for the BYU college of nursing -- and she just dazzled that JSB auditorium with her courage and grace.  Honestly, it was such an impressive, moving speech mostly because of who Kate is.  Her dedication and dearness came across in her delivery just as clearly as the message in her words.  Amazing, that one.

Notwithstanding the accomplishments and achievements of the others, it was my mom I was there to support.  It was an emotional weekend --  the reasons why can pretty much be summed up in a little blurb I posted on instagram while we were in Provo.

 "This is me kissing my sweet, sweet mom.  Today she is a college graduate!  To honor her accomplishment I gave her this Kershisnik print titled "she will find what is lost" and I've cried over its poignancy several times already.  It is the perfect illustration for this chapter of my mom's life.  She has laid many, many things on the altar of motherhood.  And she has done it with the heart of a saint and a warrior, not a martyr.  Today was a day of relishing and reaping -- finding what was lost for a season.  It might take a long, long time and we might fail a final or two, but we will find what is lost.  And more."

I just loved watching her receive something she'd worked so hard and waited so long for.  And I couldn't help but think that even though that was the day the institution deemed her "educated" -- she had been learning wisdom from the angels themselves for decades.  One other thing I have to mention that was incredibly sweet was watching my dad that weekend.  He beamed with pride for his kids but he wept for my mom.  No one knows her sacrifice like he does. Any place she wanted to eat, any BYU memorabilia she wanted to purchase, anything she wanted to see or do or stop and take a picture of -- he just wanted to relish in all of it for her.  Those two have left their footprints in the low, hard places of life together.  I love watching them savor the summits.

We had so much fun while we celebrated the graduates!  Halley cracked jokes and played candy crush with me to distract me from my homesickness on the way there :)

 After a few hours in Utah I started feeling happy and independent.  Took a selfie to prove it :)
 Hiked the Y - one of my favorite things to do, ever.  Even better sandwiched between my favorite ladies.

Our whole crew at the trailhead -- Lauren was such a trooper to keep up with our busy agenda!   
 The Sacred Gifts Exhibit was life-changing. (nice photobomber, eh?)  Made me nostalgic for my college humanities classes.  Art History is my jam.
The handsomest and funniest in the sea of graduates :)  Loved spending time with Ryan & Lauren in Utah -- don't get to see them very often and really enjoyed stepping into their world a bit.  Good, dear, fun, striving souls, those two.

I love Provo.  I love BYU.  I love to celebrate with my dear ones.  And dang...there are so many tasty places to eat in Provo.  Mmmmm, we pretty much just lived from one meal to the next.  

And when I got home to Nate and the kids -- they had hardly even missed me.  Nate probably missed me more than any of them because he was trying to do my job in my absence.  The kids loved the time with their dad.  Caroline didn't seem to care a bit whether I was there or not.  Ha!  But I was so, so happy to be back with them!  

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