Tuesday, November 29, 2011


You know how sometimes you don't look in the mirror too closely; just a quick cursory glance to make sure that everything is still (for the most part) in the right place? Well, a few days ago, with the aid of the new lighting in my bathroom, I really looked at my face, up close. And there they were......two undeniable crevices running from the bottom of my nose to the top of my mouth. I tried holding my face perfectly still and expressionless for a few minutes. I looked again. They were still there. My first real wrinkles. The topic of aging has been on my mind a lot lately. A few days ago, I sat dumbfounded for about 15 minutes after coming to the realization that if Morgan marries and has a baby at the same age I was when I did, I could be a grandmother in 12 years. Forgive me if I have now lost my train of thought......that required another good ten minutes to absorb. Last week, Dirk and I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It is based on such an intriguing concept. Imagine if you could live your life physically backwards, and could have the strength, stamina and beauty of youth combined with the wisdom that comes with age and experience.
Sometimes I feel that I am living my life backwards in a way. For one thing, I have always thought that perhaps I am an old woman in a young body. My favorite color is purple, I have completely lost my long term (some days short term too) memory, and I drive like a grandma. Oh- I also love old movies and shows like The Golden Girls. I still like to hand write cards and letters, and I am not too adept when it comes to anything technological. The other day I was talking to my best friend, and the phrase "new-fangled devices" actually came out of my mouth. I think I may very well be an 80 year old trapped in a twenty-something body. I also sometimes feel that I am living my life backwards because I have made some major life changes in an order that is less than typical. I was a "child bride" and technically a teen pregnancy in a world where it is now commonly accepted to marry in your thirties and have children in your thirties or forties. I used to bristle at terms like "child bride" and I used to be hurt by the looks of open reproach I received from many when they saw me at the store with my (then) two children. Apparently, I skipped over the period of life in which I was supposed to "find myself". I don't think I ever really lost myself. Of course, it probably doesn't help that I apparently look like I'm nineteen (or so I've been told). My husband has been told that he looks about 35.....this was when he was 27! So people look at us like we are polygamists, or like we are the gold digger and the cradle robber, when really we are only 3 years apart in age. What is age really, but a number? There are some people in this world who will never have the emotional maturity necessary to nurture a loving and successful relationship. And there are definitely people who should never have children. Then there are people like my parents, who married young, and have grown together and have a stronger relationship because of it. I have wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember. It's all I've ever wanted to do really. And I have "found myself" through raising them as I have come to discover unrealized strengths (and weaknesses). I have also realized even more what is important to me. The things that I most want my children to learn and which I strive to teach them are obviously the things that are important to me. I may have missed the stage where I was evidently supposed to learn how much alcohol I could consume before passing out. And I suppose I will have a few less wild stories for the grandkids, but I will be young enough to actually play with my grandkids and to really enjoy them!
As for my wrinkles, I am growing sort of fond of them. For one thing, maybe they will help me to look a little closer to my age. For another, they are laugh lines. What does that say about me, other than "She must smile a lot"? Is that really such a bad thing? The number indicating my age may be alarmingly small to some. But just think.....in my relatively short time on this earth, I have laughed and smiled enough to leave a permanent manifestation of joy on my face! In a world where 20-year olds are getting Botox, I couldn't be prouder of my wrinkles. C.S. Lewis perhaps said it best; "Why shouldn't we have wrinkles? Honorable insignia of our service in this warfare." He also said, "When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of being childish." I like to imagine myself as an old woman, surrounded by my grandchildren, possibly great-grandchildren, reading to them the favorite books of my childhood, and enjoying the stories just as much as I ever did as a little girl. What is age, but a number?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


First of all.....does anyone know exactly what the function of tonsils is? Or appendixes for that matter. Gall bladders?......It seems like these things must be a part of us for some reason. I'm just not sure what that reason is! They can all apparently be removed with no future ramifications to our general health. So, why do we have them? The only answer that I can come up with is so doctors can make a living. Before I digress into a major conspiracy theory involving the entire health care field, I will get to the point. My sweet 4- year old boy had his (apparently useless) tonsils as well as his (equally as useless) adenoids removed last Wednesday. My Hyrum is a tiny boy and his tonsils and adenoids were huge. This caused him to suffer from sleep apnea. Every doctor/dentist I have ever taken him to has remarked on the size of his tonsils. After much consideration, Dirk and I decided it was time for them to come out. Early Wednesday morning (5:30 to be exact), I roused Hyrum and carried him to the van in his footsie jammies. The doctor said he could bring along one toy, so Buzz Lightyear came along for the ride. We arrived at the hospital by 6:00 and followed the blue line on the floor that led to the surgery floor. Now, before I continue this story, you must understand one thing: I have a VERY hard time seeing my children in pain. Once when Morgan was a baby, I cut the tip of her finger while clipping her fingernails. I called my mom in hysterics and it took her a good half hour to calm me down. I don't like seeing my babies in pain! So, needless to say, as we walked past more and more signs with words like surgery, recovery, O.R., I was a nervous wreck! But, I tried to remain composed and calm for Hyrum's sake. To him, this was still just an early morning adventure. We finally reached the desk of the surgery floor, after what seemed like one of the longest walks ever, and checked in. We were promptly led to a waiting room, where I was handed a pair of hospital pajamas that were at least 10 sizes too big for my tiny boy. I helped him into his over sized jammies, and then we waited....and waited....and waited. Why they make you drag a 4-year old into the hospital at the crack of dawn, two hours before he is scheduled for his procedure, I will never fully understand. Thank goodness for Nick Jr.! We lay on the oh so comfortable hospital bed and watched Little Einsteins. Hyrum was heroically brave. At that moment in time, he looked so tiny and helpless to me , and yet, he sat and waited patiently, not fully knowing what he was about to go through. I recalled one other time when he had looked just as tiny and helpless, and similar knots had wrenched my stomach. It was three years ago. I took him in to get tubes put in his ears. For that surgery, he wore a hospital gown. His hair had been cut a few days before, and with his short hair and gown, he looked like a leukemia patient. The moment they took his tiny body out of my arms and carried him away from me toward a room full of sterile metal and glaring lights, it took everything within me not to follow them.
Through both of these experiences I have developed a deep sense of gratitude for my childrens' overall health. And I have also developed a new sense of awe and admiration for the parents of terminally ill children. I have friends who watched their daughter die of leukemia. They fought for two agonizing years before they selflessly and silently sent their prayers up to heaven as she passed to a place of no more pain. I don't know exactly what they went through for those two years of watching their precious child suffer. But, this experience has given me enough of an idea of what it may have been like, that I hope I never have to find out. I imagine there wasn't much sleep. I imagine they must have sat by her bedside near the end and cherished each breath, knowing it may be the last they would hear her take. I imagine that every single day for two years, they desperately wished there was anything they could do to take away her pain.....that they could suffer it for her. I imagine they put on a smile every day as they read her her favorite stories, and tried as best as they could to make her life feel as normal as possible, when each day, a major piece of their lives was vanishing slowly. This is only what I imagine. And I am so grateful to know that my boy will very soon be out of pain, and will hopefully be healthier for having had this operation. And, as I mentioned before, I am even more awestruck by the silent heroes among us who fight every day on behalf of the tiniest soldiers who are too weak to fight for themselves.