Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Yes, it is a cheesy name for this post, but it's late, and all I really want to be doing is eating cold cereal and watching tv in my jammies, so I'm going with it. I guess that makes me a "real" writer.....I write even when I don't really want to. Tangent over- here's the beef: Why, as mothers, can't we all just get along? We spend so much time telling our kids to play nice, and yet we often don't set a good example of this. Case in point: Two of my babies have been formula fed. Due to very personal reasons, breastfeeding does not work out so well for me, and well, my babies need to eat something, so they get formula. You would not believe (unless you have been one of the offenders, in which case, you may want to stop reading my blog) the looks of open disaproval I have received from other moms. After some of the hateful looks/head shakes/open mouthed gapes (only slightly exaggerating here) I have gotten, I have expected child protective services (or at very least a representative from La Leche League) to roll up to my front door at any moment. All because I have committed the unspeakable act of giving my baby a bottle.
I in no way claim to be the best mother in the world. I dropped out of the mompetition long ago. I found I just couldn't keep up with the homemade bread, scrapbooky, halo wearing moms a while ago. The few times I have felt the need to make bread, it has ended up serving as a better doorstop than as part of a well balanced meal. My idea of a scrapbook is a notebook filled with random quotes and design ideas I cut out of magazines (and I use Scotch tape to adhere them to the pages). And the halo has fallen off every time I reach up to pull my hair out. It's too exhausting trying to keep up with the super moms. So, I sit back and quietly admire their work.....kind of like when you see a magnificent painting in a museum. You know there is no way you could ever create something that beautiful, but you can understand and appreciate just how beautiful it is. I'm not saying I think that I am a bad mother. I love my children fiercely. I would walk through fire for them. I would loose sleep for them, forget to eat my own meals because I am too busy preparing theirs', forget to shower or comb my fact, I have done all of these things in the name of motherly love(save the walking through fire thing- might not be typing this if I had tried that one). And I guess that is just my point. From one mother to the next, why can't we, first of all admit that being a mother is the most screaming into a pillow, banging your head against a wall, pulling your hair out, hardest thing we've ever done (or maybe it's just me). And why can't we all just admit that our kids aren't always perfect, and that sometimes we let them eat a cookie that fell on the floor (sometimes we eat it) or heat up a frozen pizza for dinner, because we just didn't have it in us to make that five course meal tonight? Instead, we spend all of our time trying to look perfect.
Why can't we step back and realize that we all love our children, and all we want for them is to be happy? Wouldn't it be setting a much better example for our children to show them that, aside from being able to clean the house, run a 5K, and make the most delicious and most health conscious meal this side of the Mississippi (where food is tastier, but much less health conscious, as it is all deep fried)all in the same day, that we can also have compassion for those around us, that we can agree to disagree about breast vs. bottle, clean vs. cluttered, halo vs. straight jacket.....that we can be united in trying to help one another raise a generation of compassionate, understanding individuals who can follow our lead, work together and try to improve this crazy world we're living in? That was a lengthy question- short version: Can't we all just get along? Let's start a mom petition on the mompetition (wow- my level of cheese amazes even myself at times) and start trying to uplift one another. Let's teach our kids by example how to live the old adage, "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Last Saturday began with a plan. The plan was for our little family to drive up to Palisades reservoir and admire the beauty of the changing leaves. On the way there, we were going to listen to the morning session of the General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (a general meeting of the church held bi-annually in Salt Lake and broadcast throughout the world). We would stop in Swan Valley for lunch, head up the road a little further to the dam, where we would skip rocks in the river (which actually amounts to Morgan and Hyrum thrusting the largest rocks they can find into the river and scaring away all of the fish for the fishermen upstream). Then we would turn around, stop at the Rainy Creek convenience store for some square (yes, square) ice cream, and drive home listening to the afternoon session of Conference. This was the plan. I must also mention that the plan involved a peaceful, rather quiet drive, during which we could ponder and reflect on the messages being shared, and the beauties of nature around us. This point of the plan was foiled by one very stubborn 4 month old who did NOT want to be in his car seat. The screaming stopped about halfway to our original destination......just about the time that the radio signal got lost and we could no longer hear Conference. We stopped at the Angus Cafe. If that name alone isn't enough of a description for you, I will expound. It is the kind of place where the locals hang keep in mind that the locals of Swan Valley live in the mountains because they don't like to conform to the general rules of society. It was fairly apparent to me that none of them had come down to buy new clothing in a few decades. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing......It was almost like visiting a foreign country. And do they know how to make a BLT!! We finished our lunch and took off in our minivan, which looked alien thronged by pickups, SUVs and motorcycles. (I think if we hadn't left by our own accord, we may have been thrown out soon-minivans are for sissies). Next, it was off to the dam. We stood on the bank in the forty mile an hour wind as the kids hoisted boulders into the water. Well, if the people at the Angus didn't take us out, I think the fishermen at the dam may have had a good mind to. After more than a few disapproving looks, we hopped back in our sissy-mobile. The next part of the plan was to turn around and drive home. It was nearly 2:00; the time that the afternoon session of General Conference would begin. As we were pulling away from the dam, Dirk had a suggestion......we were so close to Jackson, WY.....why not just drive a ways further up the road and see it. The kids had never been there. By nature, I am not always a very spontaneous person, but something about the change of seasons that lingered in the air inspired me. Ryan was full, and looking pretty sleepy. We decided to go for it. We told the kids we were going to "Cowboy Town" (which Jackson is.....if you are a cowboy worth multi-millions). Ryan slept, and the Tangled soundtrack kept Morgan and Hyrum thoroughly entertained.
As we weaved through winding canyons of brilliant fall foliage, I thought of something my dad said once. It was a few years ago, and for some reason, just our little immediate family was in my parents' Montero. I can't remember where we were driving, but I remember my dad remarking on how long it had been since just the five of us were together, and that he wished he could just keep on driving. Suddenly, I wanted nothing more than to turn off my cell phone, not tell a soul where we were going, and just keep driving........away from house work, yard work, phone calls, meetings.......away from the thousand daily tasks that divert our focus from one another. And we did keep driving......all the way to Cowboy Town. It was overcast, with the clouds promising rain at any moment. Everything seemed so still and unhurried. We found a little ice cream shop (where I enjoyed THE BEST Belgian chocolate ice cream in the world). We took our confections to the town square, found a bench and sat. We just sat. At least Dirk and I did. Hyrum could not pull himself from the antler arches, and he kept speculating on just how many elk must have been killed for their construction. Morgan collected yellow leaves. Ryan slept. And Dirk and I just sat and soaked it all in. It almost seemed to play out in slow motion.....Morgan with her youthful buoyancy twirling in the chill fall air, Hyrum, in his boyishness trying to pull antlers off of the arch, and Ryan, with his little cherub face, asleep in his stroller.
I suppose that is what we had been missing.....the chance to just sit and behold the wonder that our children are. Somehow, a few hours down the road had brought us much further than that. For a few hours, we were in a world where all we existed to do was to be with our family and soak in the beauties around us, without a care in the world. So, we may have begun the day with a plan, but instead we ran away to Cowboy Town. It was a day that will play back in my mind as one of the fondest we've ever spent as a family. I can't wait until our next "runaway day".