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Look carefully...at the seemingly small moments...in the constant shaping of souls.- Neal A.Maxwell


We called our real-estate agent and told her we wanted to make an offer on a house.  She said she would be over at 7pm Friday to sign the paperwork.  6:30pm Friday my 8-year old, B, crawled in my lap and said that he did not want to move.  I was not surprised.  All 3 of our boys are reluctant to leave "their home" despite the fact that all three share a bedroom and we eat elbow to elbow in our small dining area.

I drew my 8-year old closer and asked what bothered him most.  He tearfully answered, "There's been too many changes lately."  "What changes?", I asked.  He answered, "Dad has a new job, Nona's sick, J bought a car and he's graduating soon and you bought a new vacuum."

It was all I could do to not laugh as he buried his face in my arms with a fresh burst of tears.  My husband's new job has required a lot of travel.  He was gone almost all of October and half of November.  The few days he was able to be home I would leave for Utah to be with my mother. B loves his big brother J.  He climbs all over him and delights when they wrestle.  The new car has meant more freedom so J is gone more than he used to be - after graduation it will be even more so.  All understandably stressful changes but a new vacuum?

Laughing about the comment with my husband later I realized why the vacuum was listed.  I purchased a carpet steamer in October.  I would clean sections of the house at a time while the boys were in school.  When they came home I would tell them where they could and could not walk because of wet carpeting.  "Walk skinny down the left side of the hall" one day.  "Walk skinny down the right side of the hall" another day.  A week plus of this could tax any 8-year old.

After telling this story to a friend she said, "That's ironic."  I did not understand the irony.  She explained that in her eyes I bought the carpet steamer to help relieve my stress from all the changes [true, true, I must add] but my stress reliever added stress to my kids.  She added that it's similar to the added stress an adult feels from children's stress relief actions.

Total light bulb moment!  What attracted my husband and I to the new house most was the huge recreation room in the daylight basement.  In the past 2 months our small house has seemed even smaller because of the constant ball bouncing, running, chasing, wrestling... - the boys' mode for relieving stress! 

The realization hit that while the new house would offer more space B was right there has been too much change lately and the larger space would come at an emotional price we are not prepared to pay.  


The Impossible

I have been taking voice and piano lessons for a couple of years.  My initial goal was to sing well enough to join a choir and to play well enough to be a substitue pianist in church.  I'm not great but I am now in our church choir and am singing in a choir for a Christmas concert.  I'm also playing half an hour of background music for a Christmas festival.  I told my family that I wanted them to either attend the concert OR the festival during the time I am playing.  I added, "I guarantee you will like my playing better than the concert."  Last year the same choir sang in an Easter concert that my family did not enjoy, it was too heavy for their liking.  The Christmas concert has similar music.

Sunday our church choir sang a Thanksgiving song.  Our strongest soprano was absent as was our chorister.  The organist forgot to transpose down so we were singing in a key higher than we had practiced.  Joining my family after the song my 8-year old whispered, "Was that the song you were warning us about?"  I whispered back, "No, the other song is worse."  With a very serious face he whispered back, "I don't think that's possible."


This weekend my 17-year-old High School Senior asked me to cut his hair.  I did not have the time until this evening.  After dinner I asked, "What are your plans?"  He said, "After I graduate?  Well I'm thinking of going to one year of community college, then on a mission for two years and then hopefully to flight school.  Why do you ask?"  I laughed and said, "I was wondering if you had time for a haircut this evening."

We had a great conversation during the haircut. 


I have spent many hours flying between states in my adult life.  For this reason I was completely surprised to find myself feeling panicked after boarding a plane recently.  I de-boarded and flew the following day with no problems.  Five flights later I was frustrated to find myself feeling panicked again.  Again I de-boarded but this time I could not wait and fly the following day.  My husband was gone on a business trip and my kids were expecting me home by the time they got home from school. 

I am frustrated, irritated, embarrassed, annoyed, inconvenienced and confused for feeling panicked BUT gratitude for the kindness of others far outweighs any of these other emotions.

"Episode One" occurred on a flight to visit my parents.  The day had been hectic, traffic had been horrific, airport parking had been difficult and to top it off my cell phone was missing.  When I de-boarded I tried calling my parents collect to let them know not to pick me up.  No luck.  I tried calling my husband collect.  No luck.  I tried calling a friend.  No luck.  No luck.  No luck.  No luck.  I went to the ticket counter to see what I could do about my "no refund internet special" airfare.  There I found more than luck.  The ticket agent periodically panics when he flies.  He totally understood how I was currently feeling and he had compassion.  He changed my flight, at no cost, to the least crowded flight the for the following day.  He changed my return flight, again at no cost, to the least crowded flight for that day.  He gave me tips for better travel and then made hotel arrangements at half-price so I would not have to battle the two plus hours of traffic home that night and then back again the next day.  Waiting for takeoff the next day I was concerned I might panic again and asked the gentleman next to me if he minded chatting until we were in the air.  He motioned to his ear and said he was deaf.  I must have looked disappointed because he motioned that we could write.  His conversation and humor put me at complete ease. 

"Episode Two" occurred on a flight home from visiting my parents.  Two of my brothers and I flew to join my third brother and father in celebrating my mother's 75th birthday.  It had been a wonderful weekend together and now we were all heading home.  My flight was booked for 8:30am, my Illinois brother's flight was booked for 12:20pm.  I knew he would still be on ground and have access to internet so I called him when I de-boarded.  I asked if he could get highway weather conditions and told him I was planning to drive the 14 hours home.  A few minutes later he called me back and told me he was concerned about my driving alone.  He offered to cancel his flight, drive home with me and book a new flight in Oregon.  I was standing at the car rental desk when he called.  I teared up at his offer (I still tear up when I think of it), thanked him and declined.  He had a family and job to get home to and I would be okay.  The rental agent, who had already given me a price quote noticed my tears and expressed concern.  I thanked him and told him I would be fine.  He excused himself and left for a few minutes.  He returned with permission for a lower price.  I asked directions for the quickest way to the interstate.  He smiled and said he had given me a car with GPS at no additional charge.  I called a friend to let her know I would not be there when the kids came home from school but I would be there sometime that night.  She offered to house and feed the kids.  I thanked her and declined - my 17 year old (as well as my 13-year old for that matter) could take care of things - I just wanted an adult to know where I was.  My friend called me at 9pm to let me know the kids were fed and tucked in for the night - she had checked just to make sure.

I have driven the road between my house and my parents' house many times.  I have never driven from airport to airport.  The GPS was helpful, the rental agent was kind.  I have left my kids for a few hours here and there.  I have not left them while I was driving hundreds of miles away for hours at a time.  The kids were fine, my friend was kind.  I have not had the opportunity to spend much time as an adult with my Illinois brother.  Growing up I once asked him if he loved me.  He told me he tolerated me well.  We both laughed and I knew what he was really saying.  His offer to drive me home lets me know he still "tolerates me well" and that he is most kind.

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