Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Guess who's coming to dinner?

A warning: I wrote this and just put my feelings out there. A real posterity post.

You know how the Chinese have Year of the Dog or Year of the Boar? Well, this is my Year of the Family. I have long lost relatives that I had pretty much written off coming out of the woodwork. I reconnected with my much younger sister Amy, my charming brother Tom and my totally wacked cousin Todd.
(Who I hope never reads my blog, but with my luck....)

So Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

My Father.

The only baby picture of me in existence. My father has the short sleeved shirt on. My mother is taking the picture.

After 19 years of no contact, zero, zip, nada....I got an email saying he was hitching up his RV to his truck and coming to visit his kids in the lower 48. I don't know what to think! He is 72, is this his farewell tour? What possessed him? Why now after all these years? AND he sounds excited to see us!!!

I was thinking of doing the ABC's of my emotions over this:

You get the idea.

I remember as a little girl absolutely adoring and idolizing him. He has a quick laugh and a warm smile and he could sing, oh my can he sing! I remember that I loved being hugged by him and having him scratch my face with his whiskers. He was so handsome... And then he was gone.

I lived with him for a summer when I turned 9, and then I was sent to Alaska to live with other relatives and I was too young to be told why and probably wouldn't have understood anyway.

Then, when I graduated from high school my foster parents sent me on a summer trip up to Alaska to see him. I was again infatuated with my Dad. But he somehow wasn't fascinated with me. At that time I was old enough to wonder why he didn't want me...why didn't he love me?

The morning of my wedding in the Oakland Temple he showed up! Absolutely unannounced. Invited yes, but with no dreams or thoughts of him showing up...but he did! That was a day of conflicting emotions also.

Then nothing until one summer when Lauren was turning two and he flew his plane down to see us. Later that fall we went to Seattle and met him there and spent time with my Grandfather and my father. Two times in a year! And then, nothing.

For 19 years I have sent Christmas cards, announcements, pictures has my brother and sister in law, and nothing. My brother called him before he went to Iraq thinking this would be a turning point. Nope.

I don't want to paint a picture of him being a bad person, he's not. At least I don't think he is, he just doesn't know how to be emotionally involved. His mother died when he was six and he was raised by a rather cold and stiff step-mother. I don't think nurturing is in his emotional make-up.
(unlike me who has nuturing instincts on overdrive...) Maybe age has mellowed him?

All these thoughts are jumbled up in my mind and my heart, (which I am wrapping up tightly so it won't break again) . Funny thing is that again I find myself wishing I was thinner, more beautiful, more talented, more everything. Why is that?

One thing about me is that I am who I am. I am no different on this blog than I am in real life. I have bad luck, I laugh and blog about it. My kids do cute things, funny things, things that make me proud, I blog about it. I make goals, I break goals, I blog about it. And I feel pretty okay with myself, I like me. (I'd like me more if I were smaller...but I am okay with Jeni) But all of a sudden, today, I wish I were more wonderful. Today I wish I was a person that my parents could love, both of them who are living. Today I am thankful for my foster parents (who have both passed on ) who taught me to love, to forgive and to find the good in everyone.

My father is coming to visit. Today I am a wreck. But I think I'll loosen the bindings on my hearts' protection. Seriously, I can't wait to hear him laugh and to meet my boys and see that despite everything, I'm okay.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Time out for a little Vacay.........

I'm taking a little blog break to go spend time with my family. We're heading back east to West Virginia for a family reunion (thank you Grandpa!!), to Virginia, to Pennsylvania to meet Gabi and see our old friends the Lewis's. Then on to Washington D.C. to see my (second) favorite young mom, Erin (City Mama). It's going to be fun.
Don't forget me while I'm gone!!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Memories for a Mommy

It's no secret that I am excited about the grandbaby that will join our family in six short months. When I think about it, I am filled with curiosity, joy and plans. I wonder how my mom sustained that same excitement through 24 grandchildren?!? As much as I love my kids, I think I'm just a bit more excited for THIS baby.

Lauren, 7, very focused on creating something wonderful

One of the things that I am excited about is that my little girl gets to know the simple joys of motherhood. Along with the trials and pains that children bring, there are those sweet moments that you tuck away and hold close so no one can take them from you. I have some memories tucked away; some in my heart, some tucked in my drawer. Memories of little things like sitting Lauren on the counter everyday to curl her hair. Memories of her one and only dance recital. Winning her first ribbon in swimming. Memories of her sitting and reading to her "babies", watching her be silly at camp, going on dates, leaving her behind at college, watching her kneel across an altar in the temple. And now, she will get memories of her own of her little one.
She will get to snuggle, get wet little kisses, soothe owies, cheer at games, dry tears,
get sweet little unexpected notes.

She's going to love being a mommy, it's all she's ever wanted.

I love you too Shorty.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The best kids in the world

I have wanted to pay tribute and to show the blogiverse the most wonderful kids in the world.
(Well, second only to my own kids....)

It has been such a blessing and a thrill to spend my mornings this school year with them as we have learned the New Testament together. Not everyday was perfect; I wasn't always on my game. Some days they were squirmy and squirrely, others I was very emotional and even a little grumpy a time or two. But all in all, it has been so rewarding and I wouldn't change a minute. I love them with my whole heart, every one of them. (okay, some of them tried our patience, but we still loved them...)

My team teacher Alisa, she's amazing and I love her!

We took a little survey....and made a memory book for them. My sweet friend Lisa Marie made them a little necklace with "Remember" on it. They loved them, thank you Lisa Marie!!!

The girls in my class, aren't they adorable?

They also loved:

The story of the adulterous woman
The Garden of Gethsemene
Christ walking on the water
The Nativity
The Book of Revelation
Passover, Purim & Hanukkah
Learning to be Childlike, not Childish
The Prodigal Son (oh the tears of the teacher on this lesson...)
Peter and Paul
Mary, the mother of Christ
Cinnamon Rolls
Muffin Mondays
Scavenger Hunts
Human Tic Tac Toe
Flying Candy
Our Savior, Jesus Christ

Brentwood Seminary Freshman Class, 2009

McKenzie, Sadie, Lauren, Chris, Max, Alisa
Me, Abbey, Jordyn, Jeremiah, Hayley, Zach, Kimberly, Travis
Caden, Tim, Jeff, Brandon, Marcus, Tyler, Alex and Ryan
Missing: Caleb, Kaylee & Katelyn

It's been wonderful.