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Look carefully...at the seemingly small moments...in the constant shaping of souls.- Neal A.Maxwell
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In the Future
hidden falls.jpg 

Grand Tetons, Jenny Lake, 2.5 mile hike to Hidden Falls.  Six people, numerous "Bear Aware" signs.  10-year is concerned about bears.  I tell him that as long as we stay on the trail which was quite populated we would be fine.  Part way into the hike 14-year old is done.  Husband stays back with him.  Further into the hike husband's sister (who seems like my very own sister) is satisfied with her distance.  19-year old stays back with sis.  Three-quarters through the hike 10-year old is ready to turn back.  I head down with him.  We run into husband and 14-year old going up.  Husband turns around and goes back down with 10-year old.  I turn around and go back up with 14-year old.  He bounds up the trail.  I jog.  Periodically he stops and waits for me to catch up.  At some point I tell 14-year old I may need to turn back.  He wants his picture taken while standing on a rock formation before heading back.  

photo op.jpg

The rest gave me the energy to continue upward.  I took a headstart while 14-year old climbed down the rock formation.  He did not see me head up so he headed down.  I tried to catch up with him but was not fast enough.  I tried to call to him but was not loud enough.  The trail branched off in a couple of places.  Other hikers had seen my son ("a tall boy in black with 'referee' on the back of his shirt") take the trail that led to a boat dock.  I figured he would realize I was not downtrail and would either head to the Falls or head to the parking lot.  I was not worried - 14-year old is responsible and able to look out for himself.  I continued back up to the falls.  Heading back down from the falls I saw a group of panicked hikers.  A bear had been sighted crossing a bridge on the trail ahead.  Now I was worried.  Two rules regarding bears: 1) do not hike alone and 2) do not run.  My son was alone and very likely running.  A trio decided to head down the trail.  I joined them.  They branched off to the boat dock, I continued alone down the other path.  About 15 minutes later, I rounded a corner and three different hikers motioned for me stop.  They pointed toward some trees.  There was a bear.


The picture is not good but it shows how close I was to the bear.  The three hikers headed up.  Now even more worried for my son, I continued down alone.  When I finally arrived at the parking lot I was relieved to find my 5 at the van waiting for me.

The evening before our hike the motel clerk told me to NEVER go out without bear spray.  Advice I plan to heed in the future, as well as following safer hiking practices.
Father's Day
Yesterday 14-year old told me that my father was one of the people he respected most in the world.  I told him that my father is one of the people I respect most in the world. 

The details are sketchy but imbedded in my memory.  My father had sent one of my older brothers to the back porch for being disrepectful to my mother.  Dad expressed concern for my mother to my mother. He sat on the back porch talking to my brother with his arm around his shoulder.  He talked with me, telling me that any disrespect toward my mother was unacceptable.  I had two thoughts running through my head as he talked 1) "But I was good - why are you telling me." and 2) "I hope I marry someone just like you."

We were sitting in church.  The child in front of us was standing on the seat of the pew facing us when he started violently throwing-up. His parents grabbed him and their personal items and left as quickly as they could.  I don't remember the rest of the meeting but I do remember when we got home dad got a bucket and some disinfectant and headed out the door.  I asked where he was going.  He answered, "Well, somebody needs to clean the chapel and I think the mother of the sick child has other concerns right now."

The car was brand new.  Dad let me drive it to school.  I did not notice the extended side-view mirror of the truck parked next to me. I backed out scraping the car with the truck's mirror the entire way. The side of the car was creased so badly that I could not even open the driver's side door.  The rule was to not call dad at work unless it was an emergency.  To me this was an emergency.  I burst into tears the minute he picked up the phone.  After telling him about the car his first question was, "Are you okay?"  His next question was, "Are you able to drive the car to where you need to be?"  Not once did I get scolded or lectured about something he knew I already felt horrible about.

Until recently Dad did not say good-bye when he was done on the phone - he just hung up. (My best-friend in High School set a goal to get him to say good-bye at least once.  A goal she never met).  One day, after I was married and had moved to another state, I called home frustrated from a very difficult week at work.  Dad listened - it helped.  At the close of the conversation I said, "I love you."  All I heard in return was a click and dial tone.  The help from listening dissolved and I started crying, homesick and heartbroken.  Two days later I received a letter in the mail from Dad.  He had heard my "I love you" as he was hanging up. The letter was filled with humorous stories and good advice.  He closed with "A son's a son 'til he takes a wife, a daughter's a daughter for all of her life."  He then expressed his love and care for me before closing the letter.  I read and re-read that letter.  I have it saved in a special spot both in my home and in my heart.

I have heard that a greatest gift a dad can give his children is to love their mother.  My dad loved my mother.  His care for her to the very end was evidence to that fact.  He frequently tells me that he loves me at the end of our phone conversations now.  I am grateful to hear the words but even more grateful to have been raised by the man and to have seen and felt his love in action.

Twelve minute mile(s)
14-year old came home excited the other day.  He had run the mile in under six minutes in PE that day.  Less than was required for the distance-running portion of the Presidential Fitness testing.

Yesterday 14-year old, 10-year old and I were far below less-than-excited to drive 10 consecutive 12 minute miles.  

Note to all who will listen: beautiful Friday June afternoons are not the best time to choose to drive in or near big cities - esp. if there is a timeline to be kept.
Seeds and Weeds

Yesterday 3-year old neighbor boy helped me plant corn, cucumbers and squash.  His dad came over while 3-year old was watering the freshly planted seeds.  I told the dad how impressed I was with his son.  The dad replied that of all his 6 kids 3-year old had the "highest work ethic" plus he just plain enjoys what he is doing.  Later that evening 3-year old fell off his scooter and scraped up his knee.  He was running into his house crying, stopped, did a double take and then ran back to pull a weed poking up out of his lawn.

I know this could read OCD - it really wasn't.  It was adorable.  I had gone over to check on his knee.  Instead, he wanted to show me the "yucky" weed that he had pulled - the knee completely forgotten by him. 

3-year old's grandpa and uncle are farmers - he's well on his way to joining them.

"What youse doing?"

3 cubic yards of wood chips and 2 cubic yards of fertile mix were sitting in my drive-way ready to be moved.  Yesterday 10-year old and I started shoveling and wheelbarrowing wood chips.  3-year old neighbor boy came over. "What youse doing?"  "Why?"  "Can I help?"  and help he did, until the pile was gone.

Today, home alone, I started shoveling and wheelbarrowing the fertile mix.  Over comes 3-year old neighbor boy.  "What youse doing?"  "Why?"  "Can I help?"  and help he did, until the pile was gone.

Yesterday, 10-year old, 3-year old and I operated in assembly line mode.  A lot of work, not much talking.  Today 3-year old and I worked in tandem.  We shoveled together [actually, after the first few scoops with a garden shovel 3-year old used a dustpan - less weildy of a handle].  We wheelbarrowed together [I would wheel and dump the full barrow, he would bring the barrow back after it was emptied].  We chatted the entire time.  I loved our conversations - he is curious, interesting and smart.  I told him that Mr. B. [my husband] was going to be so surprised to come home and find the dirt all moved.  About 10 minutes later my husband pulled up.  3-year old got an "oops" look on his face.  I said, "I guess we won't surprise him."  My husband went in for lunch and 3-year old said, "Maybe we can surprise him for when he comes back out!"  3-year old does not speak clearly.  He uses "s" "z" "ch" and "d" to replace a lot of letters and letter combinations.  I am getting good enough at deciphering to understand that he has five chickens "size chichens" named Licorice, Snickerdoodle, Hazelnut, Ginger and Brown Guy.  Licorice is his favorite.  He ate rhaspberries from my bush, ["What are these blueberries called?  They're good."].  He looked at my baby grapes, baby blueberries and green strawberries.  He asked why I had baby grass that he could not walk on.  I was reminded of when I was little and my grandma would let me help in her yard and would show me what she had growing. 

Someday I hope to be a grandma.  Right now I am happy to have a 3-year old neighbor boy who asks: "What youse doing?"  "Why?"  "Can I help?"

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