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Look carefully...at the seemingly small moments...in the constant shaping of souls.- Neal A.Maxwell
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A conversation I had almost two weeks ago keeps mulling about my head.  At a track meet I was talking to the parents of the anchor to the 7th grade girl's 4 x 1.  (Two months ago that sentence would have meant nothing to me.  Rephrased: she's the fastest 7th grade girl sprinter).  I asked if the girl ran anchor last year year.  The father replied while pointing to his wife, "No and it is all her fault."  I laughed and said to the wife, "So...it's all your fault?"  The wife shrugged and said, "Just like everything else."  The husband said, "But this time it really was your fault.  Our daughter wanted to miss track practice and you let her.  That was the day of time trials so she missed out on being anchor because of you."

I don't know this couple.  I realize I can't make blanket assumptions by one encounter but oh how concerning this one conversation was.  What lessons will the daughter learn to know the father blames the mother for her (the daughter's) decision to miss track practice - certainly not personal accountability.

Our family was listening to a talk by President Thomas S. Monson this evening. (http://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/general-young-women-meeting/2012/03/believe-obey-endure?lang=eng).  He was addressing the Young Women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  One statement stood out to me.  "Our decisions determine our destiny."  How empowering it is to know our decisions affect us.  How empowering to allow children the consequences, both good and bad, of their decisions.  How misguided to attempt to shield our children from any hurt, from any guilt, from any responsibility.

Again I don't know the family, I don't know their circumstances but I do know who was the ultimate cause of the girl missing the opportunity of being 6th grade anchor - and it was not the wife. 

Please tell me I'm not the only person...

At the grocery store chatting with an acquaintance whose last name I could remember but not the first.  A woman passing by stopped and greeted me enthusiastically.  My acquaintance said good-bye and left me to chat with the woman whom I did not know. The woman asked how I was, how the boys were, how track for my middle son was going.  She told me about her kids, her husband, how her daughter was doing in track.... I responded as though I knew her while racking my brain for where we could have possibly met.  I did a quick mental scan of places I go, things I do but came up blank for this woman's name or face.  As we parted I said tentatively, "See you Wednesday?"  She said, "Yes, I'll be at the track meet." Once home I called a friend to lament about my memory.  She sent me the following in an e-mail the next day:

I just thought it was really funny that this was what my daughter blogged about today:

So let's say you sit down next to someone, like maybe at church or something, and you ask the person her name and she tells you but she doesn't ask for yours in response but you just figure that she forgot to ask but then later when the roll is coming around she sees that your hands are full with your baby girl and so she marks off your name for you, but the thing is, she didn't ask you your name, she already knew it.
 Even your last name! 
So obviously you have talked to this girl before and introduced yourself before this day but you can't remember when or where. 
And when you talk to her some more she seems to already know information about your life like where your husband works and stuff like that but you still can't remember anything about her? 
And then you can't help but think, "How does this nice girl remember so much about me and I can't even remember meeting her? I am a loser."
This happens to me ALL. THE. TIME.
I don't even know how I have any friends.
I have to be introduced to someone at least 3 times to be able to remember the person's face and then an additional 4 times after that to remember the name that goes with that face.
Please tell me I'm not the only person that has this much of a problem with remembering faces and names.
I'm sorry if I've ever done this to you.
I'm a little bit slow.
The End.
(Incidentally: Grocery store woman was at the track meet.  We sat together and chatted.  During our conversation she said one of her daughter's names and I suddenly knew who I was talking to, where I knew her from and quite a bit about her family.  She had hosted a baby shower forone of my friend's daughters.  I had commented to her about her home's unique floorplan and she gave me a tour of the entire house while we got to know each other.  My "brain scan" at the store covered my usual places which did not include baby showers hosted by people I don't know.  I would love to see a visual of what happened in my brain at the store when I was clueless and at the track meet when the memory floodgate opened.)
Assembly Required

Saturday my neighbor asked what she should get for her very active great-grandson's 5th birthday.  I told her that he was definitely a Big Wheel kind of guy.  She agreed.  I looked online and was shocked at the prices for a plastic trike.  I told her for those prices a metal Razor Rip-Rider might be a better deal.  Sunday my neighbor called and asked if one of my sons would be willing to assemble a Rip-Rider on Monday.  I told her that I was pretty sure that J, the now 19-year old, would be thrilled.  When I asked J if he would assemble the trike his entire face lit up and he asked, "When?  Right now?!"  Monday, 14-year old C was the one to bring the Razor box into the house.  He asked if he could assemble it and was disappointed to learn J had been promised.  J was in the midst of the project when my husband D came home from work.  D said, "Ooooooh!", sat next to J and started putting parts together.  It was explained that J would prefer to do the job alone.  When the Rip-Rider was completely assembled every male in my house took a turn pushing it across the carpet and admiring its handling.  My neighbor offered to pay J for the assembly - I think she should have charged us an entertainment fee instead.


Mowing and more

Beautiful, sunny Saturday morning - husband mowed the back lawn and brought the mower out front.  I called out the window, "Don't mow the front - I want to do it."  He replied that he was just bringing me the mower.  He knows me well.


Being a stay home mom was a challenge to me for years.  It was a choice I made, that I would make all over again - but a challenge none-the-less.  When my husband would come home from work he would play with the kids while I mowed the lawn, sanded and painted the deck, prepped and painted the house.... Doing work that, unlike laundry and dishes, would not be undone within minutes.

Once when my husband was leaving for a business trip he said, "I really don't want to come home and find that you have installed the attic door."  (We had purchased a door/stairs kit for the garage.  He did not need to worry it was too heavy for me to do alone anyway.)  He did come home to a completely disassembled front deck.  He just shook his head and smiled.

Staying home is no longer a challenge - it is a pleasure.  But I still prefer doing outside work over inside work.  Here-in is an important lesson.  I recently learned that some of my neighbors have looked down on my husband because they see me out doing the "heavy" work.  My husband enjoys outside work and is more than willing to do it - he just knows how much I enjoy it.  It is so easy to assume the "facts" of a situation and then jump to uninformed judgement.  I try to not fall into the trap of uninformed judgement.  My kids are often quick to point out if I do. 

When my ten year-old was six, early in the school-year a classmate of his came to school with a bright blue, stick straight, 4 or 5 inch mohawk.  After school I asked my son what his teacher said about the mohawk.  My son gave me a disappointed look and said, "I think my teacher understands that the boy has a hard home-life and that he is just trying to get some attention."  Lesson learned.  I began giving the boy extra attention.  By mid-year he was greeting me with a hug and a, "Hi, Mom!"  At year's end the first-graders presented reports on wild animals.  Each child had written a report and had made a diarama of his/her animal and habitat.  The parents were to come and listen to the reports and then listen to a concert of songs.  This boy was sitting alone.  My son and I sat by him.  That day, no hug, no "Hi Mom!"  He wanted his real mom.  I told him that I was lucky that I lived close enough to walk because parking was a beast that day.  I told him that parents were circling the school trying to find a spot to park.  His eyes lit up, "Maybe" he said, "Mom couldn't find a spot."  I don't know the mom's circumstances that day.  I don't know the boy's home life.  I don't know much about him at all.  I do hope his mom knows how much she matters to him and how much he needs to matter to her.


On a final note, our family has been looking at homes in Utah.  We have made offers on a couple and have wanted to make an offer on a few more.  Each time something happens and the sale falls through.  This week our son received a letter informing that he has been called to serve a two-year mission in Salt Lake City, Utah.  What young man needs to have his parents an hour away while serving a mission?  Looks like Oregon is where we'll stay. 


Every work day for years my husband would show his badge to security and mouth "Morning!" as he drove through the gate.  Then...he saw himself in the rearview mirror.  He simply waved after that.

Wonder what the security guards used to think???

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