Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's Important

About ten days or so ago I decided I wanted to unpack all my wall pictures. Most had been packed for over a year and a half since we lost our house. As I pulled out picture after picture of my kids and nieces and nephews at varying stages of development, I quickly caught on to the theme.

My family.

This is what really matters to me. The truly important things are brought into sharp focus at different times of our lives. Say a house fire. Or even the less traumatic cross country move. In a fire, you're only concerned that everyone is safe. With a cross country move, you whittle down your belongings to the most important.

I've had this picture for decades. It's rather large, and difficult to pack, and has no glass to protect it. Rather than packing it this time, my son took a picture of it--an improvement, to my estimation--and plan to get an enlarged print to frame down the road.

When he took the picture, he didn't notice the clouds reflected on the plastic, which to me makes the picture. Don't you agree?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I had a whole post all set to go about my stubborn daughter and how she purposely threw a test she didn't want to take, but I decided you all really don't need to listen to me rant about someone I love so much. You get it--if I didn't love her I wouldn't care and get so bent out of shape. You're smart.

I really miss Bryan. Parents work best in teams. And this isn't just my opinion, I do have some facts to support it. Remember, I grew up in a single parent household. And, in different stages of my kids' development, Bryan has had jobs where he's gone large chunks of time. Most of that was driving trucks, but he has spent months at a time at different airports on assignment with TSA.

And each time I've noticed a distinct shift in my kids' behavior.

When they were little, they were simply more unruly. Less quick to obey, more willing to get into trouble. Stressed, I guess you'd say. And it's harder when we're broke and I don't have ways to distract them. I don't mean going to the movies every night, but with gas prices as they are I can't even justify going for a nice drive out to the lake.

As they've gotten older, and Bryan's been away less and less, their angst manifests itself in physical ways. Primarily, little arguments get blown WAY out of proportion and escalate into stupid fights. The boys are really bad about this right now. It's all the hormone fluctuations and the testosterone. Two Saturdays running, I've woken up to fighting. And, with the oldest, he will keep repeating himself until you acknowledge him--even if he has to be louder and angrier each time.

In short, I'm done with this stupid separation and I'm more than ready for his transfer to come through.

That's not to say life is perfect because Daddy's home. The kids still bicker and such, and chores get neglected, etc., but--and this is what I don't understand--the kids seem to respect me more when Bryan's around than when he's gone. I'm still me. I'm here the same as always. But I don't get the same level of recognition and respect when he's away. Weird, huh? I'm sure it has something to do with the little changes I experience having him away. I'm different, so they treat me different. Sometimes I feel like a psychiatric study in progress.

And I'm tired of being experimented on.

Friday, September 16, 2011

We're Never Done

I learned something amazing about my son yesterday.

He. Is. Incredible.

To be fair, I thought I knew that already. Really. This kid has survived 2 near-death experiences, he's zany, tender, and can draw like no other kid you've ever seen. He's just as incredible as my other kids, who are all incredible in their own ways.

But this kid showed me something. He showed me the depth of his heart. And it rocked me to my core.

This is how my journal would read, if I kept a journal:

He entered her hospital room, and nothing in the world mattered except her. He sat down next to her bed, took her hands, and asked her how she was doing. Then he asked her how she was feeling, which are two different things. He held her hands the whole time. Talked about his day. Talked about school. Told some stories. LISTENED to her stories. They laughed together, and they also sat in silence. I had to end it, because I have 4 other kids to tend to--but I promise you I wish I could have left him there a couple hours more. I witnessed something miraculous: A 12 yr old boy's love for his grandmother.

I take no credit for this child. He is the personification of the love Heavenly Father and Jesus has for each one of us. He is an angel walking among us, masquerading as a lively--and occasionally irritating--preteen boy. His capacity for love and compassion are astonishing.

This is the boy the school wants to evaluate and test to see if they can find something "wrong" with. I promise you I will not let him be labeled. I will protect his heart with everything I have. He sees the world differently, but that does NOT make him wrong.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Which Way is Up(hill)?

I promise I will post pictures of the house when I get it in some sort of order--and when I find that sweet little cable that connects my phone to the computer to download pics. It's in a box...I hope...

So far, I've only managed to go for a couple of walks. I timed how long it takes to walk up to the high school at the other end of town (to prove to the boys it can be done), and I had an appointment Monday that I walked to rather than using my lovable, but gas hungry, Durango.

Couple of things I noticed. One, dogs are funny. If they are barking their heads off at you and you conversationally talk to them--it really confuses them. Two, I know I can expect OK to be a lot flatter than UT but, really, the difference between uphill and downhill is really minimal. For instance, it's uphill to the school. At least, that's what my poor, underused leg muscles tell me. And my meeting Monday was downhill, but, oddly, coming home wasn't uphill. Why? I basically returned in the opposite direction that I left. Still working on that one.

I'm starting to feel that near-psychopathic need to stop living out of boxes. Thing is, I don't have enough furniture yet to justify the change. It's starting to bug me, though, that there are a few things I can't find. The camera cable, for instance, that I mentioned earlier, was not in any of the computer desk related boxes I unpacked. And I can't find the dang pencil sharpener, which I only think about when the kids' pencils break while doing homework and we have to scramble to find something else for them to use. At this rate, the boys may have to take up whittling just to perfect that sharpened pencil. On the up side, I did find the power cord for the sharpener, so I may be on the right track. Maybe.

I am loving the quiet life. Things are hectic, mainly because we're still settling in and Bryan is still living in UT, but it doesn't diminish how wonderful I feel being here. The best part? A couple of the airports out here opened up positions for screeners last week, so he may be joining us soon.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm Not Going to Whine

We're here, in Oklahoma! We made it. I've chosen to focus on that aspect, and not the things that went wrong. First of all, let's go over what went right.

The truck didn't break down.

The kids didn't kill each other.

We didn't get into an accident.

We didn't get charged extra for the trailer.

We made it.

I'm focusing on all of that for two reasons. One, the trip ended up being more expensive than we'd anticipated, and that has caused some issues that may be problematic. And two, people went to our apartment in Tooele mere hours after we left and looted the area, despite the fact my husband was going back to finish up later that week. Even that had a silver lining.

Our neighbor was paying attention, got a license plate number, and we were able to retrieve our camping gear and my husband's tools. What bothers me about the whole incident, and continues to bother me, is the mind set behind it.

Point one: It's impossible to hide from anyone driving by that we were moving, since it was a chaotic mess for three days and we had a U-haul trailer parked in the driveway.

Point two: We were sure to put out anything we didn't want at the curb, so that people would know it was being discarded should they care to take anything.

Point three: We weren't done moving yet!!! People not only scavenged the curb, but also went ONTO the property, i.e. trespassed, to claim things IN THE SHED and IN THE YARD. Did they go up the stairs and check to see if the apartment was locked, too?

There are some of you asking why I'm making an issue of this. It's the mind set behind the actions. I personally wouldn't dream of going onto someone's property, whether abandoned or not, to take things that I may be able to use or that I need. When did this become okay in our society? That disturbs me immensely. These strangers had no way of knowing we'd payed rent through Sept 5th and drove away believing the things we'd put away would still be there when my husband returned. They didn't bother to approach and ask. They just went in and took. Not because they are evil, horrible people, but because they felt they understood the situation enough to believe we had gone for good.

Thing is, people, you can't just assume. As the guy who had our camping stuff now (hopefully) understands. The police explained things to him, and he returned it all. We opted not to press charges, as it was a misunderstanding, but at the same time I have to shake my head and wonder when looting became okay. Because even if the people are gone, you don't own the property, and are, if nothing else, trespassing. Last I checked, that was still illegal. Not to mention rude.

Okay, pretty sure I'm done venting about this now. I've been processing this for a week and still had some fairly strong opinions that needed an out. Being robbed, even by people who don't understand what they're doing, is a violation, and it takes some time to get over.

Next post: The joys (and other things) of small town living!