Monday, March 28, 2011

Society has rules and the first rule is: You go to college. You wanna have a happy and successful life, you go to college.

Emily is giving me a lot of grief for giving BYU fans a lot of grief over their sad loss in the NCAA basketball tournament. She keeps telling me I don't like the Lord's school and calls me a hater, etc... I really can't defend myself because it's true. I didn't have a great experience at BYU. Sometimes I tend to blame the school itself even though it was really my own fault.

I'm writing this post to help her understand why I didn't love it there.

I had a difficult time deciding where to attend college. I applied to and was accepted at four universities. They were all at least two hours from home. I was so nervous about leaving my dad and my sister all alone. I really wanted to give BYU a try because my mom told me that she really wanted me to go there. My stake president told me not to worry, that the ward would step up and take care of my family. (And they did in such an incredible way, but that's another post.) So, I prayed about going to BYU and I really did feel like it was where I was supposed to go. My dad was very disappointed in my decision and I don't really know exactly why. But he did not lend me any support after I made my decision. I'm not talking financially. I mean he distanced himself from me in a way that was extremely painful. I had a great friend take me to BYU after I was accepted and tour it. I remember my dad was so upset that I was going just for a visit. He wouldn't look at the pictures I took after I got home. I have felt like since that decision, I have never done anything to make him proud of me. (Again, probably an entire additional post.)

So while most kids had parents who were taking the reigns and helping their kids with financial aid and housing and choosing classes, I had no one but me. I didn't fill out the financial aid stuff right. I didn't choose wisely on my housing decision. All of you BYU grads are going to think this was my biggest mistake: I lived off campus my freshman year. I can hear you all going, "Yep, that's it." I choose extremely difficult classes for my first semester. Stuff like Honors Advanced Chemistry and Honors Advanced Calculus. I was a smart girl but didn't know that the first semester is for figuring things in life out and spreading your wings a little and having fun.

I left my house in Toledo for BYU on August 2, 1993, with my little Chevette crammed full and a dear friend by my side. A sister in the ward volunteered to caravan with me to Utah. Again, I had terrible disappointment that my dad wouldn't go with me. I know he had MS and that it was hard for him to travel but deep-down I think he really could have done it if he had wanted to. I saw him do incredible things when he wanted to. I cried myself from my house to the Indiana-Illinois border. Looking back, I just can't believe I left them-my poor dad and sister. It feels like a horrible, cruel thing I did.

I lost the sister from the ward that I was following outside of Chicago. Stacy and I were on our own-an 18 year old and a 17 year old-in the middle of the country. We drove ourselves from Chicago to Lincoln, Nebraska. In a car that would repeatedly overheat. And without cellphones or GPS or anything like that. If that was Emily, I would be beside myself. I would have police helicopters finding her. National Guard would be called in.

Anyways, I got to BYU on August 4. I found a job at the MTC in the cafeteria. I hated it so much and quit and found another job at Krystal Kreations in the University Mall. That was better. I lived at Roman Garden's Apartments. I moved my stuff in, knowing no one. We had three bedrooms. Two of them had girls in them that were friends with each other. They met living on campus their freshman year. (I know, I know...) The other room had one girl who was not a student. She was 22. She taught me some very interesting ways to disobey the law of chastity while still being "technically" a virgin. It was awful. I will never forget my first night there, on the top bunk, crying myself to sleep. But I thought things would soon get better because I had orientation things coming up and then I would meet people.

I went to the orientation things but all the kids had friends from their on-campus buildings. I was extra. I didn't feel any guidance. No one was there to help me figure out stuff. I had to do it on my own and I was not well equipped for it. When I talked to my dad, I would try to be excited about the things I was experiencing. Here's how conversations would go: "I was studying in the Lee Library and it's huge, Dad. It's really incredible." Him: "The library at MSU is the largest and greatest library on any campus on the planet." I know now that I was depressed and trying anything to make myself feel better. This included spending way too much time dancing at The Palace and The Bay in the modern room and too little time studying. And spending way too much money on things to cheer me up and not being wise in the use of my resources.

I was floundering.

I had one friend and I told him how unhappy I was and what should I do? He suggested we fast together and maybe that would help. Such a good friend. So we did. We fasted and I remember sitting on the grass with him outside the library after fasting and we shared a turkey sandwich and I felt better. I hadn't decided what to do, but I felt better. This friend had an aunt who lived really close to me and I walked to her house one day just to talk. I needed someone to talk to who could help me. She was kind and wise. It was so nice to be in a home. I hated my apartment. I hated the stupid guys all around like sharks sizing girls up. I hated not feeling like I belonged anywhere. I hated being lonely. I failed at being away from home.

I decided to go home. I re-applied and was accepted to MSU. I secured an apartment at the LDS Living Center there. I felt happy. I felt like this was going to be a good thing for me.

I left BYU on December 16, 1993. Good riddance, I said. I left Utah having made one friend. The best memories I have of being there are of food I ate. I haven't been back since I left almost 20 years ago.

I moved into the Living Center right after January 1, 1994. I made friends right away. I met my future husband on the first Sunday I attended the university ward there. The rest is history.

I vowed to help Anna when she applied to school and be supportive no matter where she chose to go to school. I helped her fill out her forms and made sure she had everything right. She chose MSU too. But I didn't pressure her in any way. She was just a really smart girl.

I don't really hate BYU. What I hate are the bad, sad memories that my experience left me with. Those four months were pretty awful for me so in my mind BYU is synonymous with a bad, disappointing experience. What I hate is that so many LDS people feel like it is the only valid option for LDS youth. And it's not. Just thinking quickly, I can name 16 couples that I know who met each other at the ELSLC and were married in the temple and are still married today. It's a wonderful place. I want my kids to know that they can go anywhere...MSU, OSU, Schoolcraft, even BYU (But not U of M. I couldn't stomach that one.) and they can be happy and successful. I will do my best to help them. And if they get 1600 miles away from home and have given it a good shot and hate it, I will go get them and help them find another place that fits them better. That's probably not a love and logic mom, is it? But its what I would do.

The only recourse I have to use against BYU is to root against their sports teams. It's just a little thing and probably a little petty but it works for me. This post has been extremely therapeutic for me. I feel much better.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Jerry, it was a whirlwind. They whisked us backstage, the media is sworming, champagne is flowing...whooo! I can't describe how great it is to win.

Last Thursday, we held the 2nd Annual Mom's Academy Awards.

We had some good food and good conversation. We played a couple of "mom" themed games. We watched a fun "mom" video and then handed out the coveted 2011 Golden Goblet Awards.

I hope that everyone who attended felt uplifted and had their decision to be a mom reaffirmed as the best decision they ever made.

Here's the list of the winners:

1. Most compassionate mom—Rachelle Beer

2. Most musical mom—Bethany Swalberg
3. Most athletic mom—Rachel Clawson
4. Fashion Plate Mom—Esther Rogers (2 time winner)
5. Most patient mom—Ramona Bertrand
6. Renaissance Mom (Great at everything)—Mari Noble
7. Beauty Queen Mom—Teresa Strum
8. Best Juggler (I mean her schedule)—Sue Barfuss
9. Best seamstress/crafty mom—Anna Onofrio
10. Mom that always greets everyone with her beautiful smile—Kimberlee Jensen
11. Most out of the box mom—Cathy Sullivan

12. Most organized mom—Teresa Murphy and Buffie Christensen
13. Mom most often found taxiing kids—Jennifer Vos
14. Mom with the best sense of humor—Melissa Farnsworth
15. Greenest Mom—Becky Soubeyrand

16. Newest Mom--Nettie
17. Most Plugged in mom—Patti Banka

18. Saavy Shopper mom—Becca Winder

19. Mom Happiest to Volunteer—Lisa Nielsen

22. Most punctual Mom—Angie Gardner

Friday, March 18, 2011

Oh, hey, you know...I had a piece of whitefish over at Barney Greengrass the other day...

On Saturday, Chris and I were arguing about discussing our Pack and Play. It is a brand new purchase and I really love it. It came with a little changing station and a bassinet and a hood. It has giraffe fabric on it and little giraffes that hang down. I really love giraffes. We needed it because Genny shares a room with Lizzie and sleeps in a Pack and Play in her room and then also in one in our room for naps. The one in her room was a freebie and I really wanted another one so that I didn't have to constantly take it down and put it back up during the day. (Why hasn't someone invented one that can go through doorways?) So we got this little giraffe one for our room. Chris sees all the extras, the bassinet, changing station, annoyances that we don't really need for this baby. His thought is, basically she's just sleeping in there so lets get rid of the stuff. And by rid he means toss in the trash. Let me repeat that. He wants to toss the brand new accessories to a brand new Pack and Play in the TRASH. I'm a little upset. You don't just toss stuff like that in the trash. I don't care how much you don't want to store it. You find a corner and store it. It's brand flipping new! But things are about to get a whole lot worse because then he says to me:

"Who even knows if we will have another baby and will ever need it again."

My heart stopped and my tear ducts opened and sobs escaped my lips.

What if I don't have another baby?

There is a certain feeling that can only be caused by one thing. It happens when the nurse puts a bloody, squirmy, red, squealing baby on your chest. You've just spent hours bringing this creature into the world and now it's here and you reach for it with your arms that are so tired and you feel it's little soft head and you look into it's eyes and it is yours. That moment, that feeling cannot be recreated, replicated or manufactured. It is is what I imagine heaven will feel like all the time.

So what if I never get to feel this feeling again in this lifetime? What if there are no more babies for me? I think there are. I want there to be. I want a Mitchell and a Maggie and a Grayson. Or maybe a Jeremy and a Suzie and a Sarah. I don't want to be done with my babies yet. I have a feeling that this might be something I am going to struggle with for the next several years.

I had a discussion with a seasoned mom about knowing when your family is complete. I don't "know" yet. I'm not ready for it to be complete.

Chris statement really brought it to the forefront of my mind and I can't stop thinking about it. I wish I could put it away for a while. Maybe in a bag in the corner of the attic and keep it there with the parts to the Pack and Play. Yes, he finally agreed that they could stay.
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