Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Why I Have Something To Say

In the tradition of my father (courtesy of David Letterman), here is a Top Ten reasons why I feel like I have something to say:

1. I have three sons ages 9 and under, and a daughter (theoretically) on the way. Well, someone is on the way for sure, and while the ultrasound tech said it was a girl, I'm skeptical.

2. I am an LDS woman who grew up on the East Coast, moved to California, then moved to the bubble which is Orem, Utah. Life is different over here.

3. I'm not a kid person. While I have embraced motherhood and love my children, I was never the teenager who dreamed of being a mom. I don't know that I actually ever considered what motherhood would consist of, and the work entailed has surprised me. I was a lousy babysitter, the kind that I would never hire, mostly watching tv and eating all the good snack food that we never had. Most people's kids bug me to some extent, and I don't really care to hold other women's babies.

4. I'm our ward's Primary President. (See #3 for why that matters.) I think I do a fairly good job of it, and love the kids in our ward more than I expected.

5. I passed the test to be on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, but failed the interview. I say that as some kind of proof that I might be reasonable intelligent, although that happened 1 1/2 pregnancies ago and I do think my IQ has suffered.

6. I love to read, which gives people the idea that I must be able to write since I have such opinions about what I read. My current favorite genre is true life adventure books, especially mountain climbing. I've got a pile of Everest related books I've just finished, and absolutely no intention of ever climbing a mountain.

7. I'm an optimist who is married to a pessimist. (Well, he likes to think of himself as a realist. But that's what all the pessimists say.) We've both met somewhere in the middle on most things, he isn't quite as fatalistic and I've gotten more cynical on some things, but I still consider myself an optimist.

8. The pessimist and myself own a small business that we run together for the last two years. I work from home and he goes to an office about a mile from our house. We make a pretty great team, and despite the ups and downs of running a business (and there are many!) we've had a fantastic time working together. This might have been the best two years of our marriage so far.

9. I went back to college when I was 28, and 2 months after Boy #3 was born. I went back to take a basic business class, but I bought a year-long parking pass, because I knew if I started going back to college I wasn't going to stop until I have a degree. I'm still 9 or 10 classes away from getting my associate's degree, but going back to school has changed my life for the better. I'm trying to decide whether to stick with business classes (practical) or switch to philosophy (fun). Although I've watched enough Judge Judy and People's Court to breeze through a law degree.

10. I am tired of comparing myself to the "perfect" parents that I see in our ward, in our neighborhood, at the kids' school, and in my friends. My opinion is that if people saw what goes on in a regular family, the kind with some problems and some challenges, some kids that make us crazy and some bad habits, but trying hard to do the right thing, maybe all of us parents can let go of the guilt and discouragement that we feel sometimes.

My secondary goal is selfish - one day I'm going to be one of those adults sitting at the front of the chapel, wondering why it was so noisy and wishing those young parents would keep their kids quiet. I need this to remind me what it was like to be on the parenting front line, during that time of our kids' lives where we are the most important influence on them, the burden and the (theoretical) joy that comes from that. My friend Rachel's mom claims that her kids never fought, a claim that Rachel disputes and uses as proof that we will forget too. In some ways that's good, there are things that I want to forget - the absolute terrifying fear when you've lost your two year old in the grocery store, the exhaustion of months (years!) of sleep-deprived nights, the frustration of losing your temper at a young child who, after all, is the child in this situation and doesn't know better, but you do. I may want to forget those negative things, but the forgetting includes the funny things, the time I opened the cd drive on my computer and Boy #1 stepped on it. The way Boy #2 is the cuddliest thing in the world, and even the worst mood melts when you give him a hug. Boy #3's propensity to sing along with whatever is on the radio or ipod, for example Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" or The Beatles "Yesterday." This blog is proof of what life is really like to be a parent, for good or bad.

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