Saturday, July 17, 2010

You should know...

Dear Lily and London,

It is Saturday morning. Lily spent the night at Gamma and Pop's, London is pantiless in the living room watching cartoons, Daddy is enjoying a much needed break golfing with his buddies, and I am working my way clockwise through the house barefoot and half-dressed trying to catch up on some sorely necessary cleaning. It's often when I'm cleaning and listening to my Pandora mix that I think and think and think. Usually about you. And occasionally during these thought bursts, I know I need to sit down and record them before they go. I've already missed too many opportunities to sit and record what I want you to know about this life - right now - raising you both.

Thank heavens for this blog. It's been such a good outlet for me, allowing for quick moments of memories that I can upload and record without too much effort. It has spared a boat-load of guilt for not being a scrapbooker, or in depth journal keeper. By the time you're old enough to appreciate any stories about yourselves as toddlers, a "blog" will probably be a laughable antique. And I will try and keep it from you until I think you're really old enough to appreciate these little stories and moments, because they are such. a. treasure. to me.

I sat in Relief Society*(see below)* a couple weeks ago at church, crying. I am the Laurel's advisor (which is the adult leader for girls 16-18 years old). Once a month, we join the Relief Society during church. This particular day was one of them, and I sat lined up with all my teenage girlies. They all frequently roll their eyes and occasionally protest at the idea of joining with the Relief Society...there is simply too much adult woman emotion and sentiment and conversation flying around for a 17 year-old to process. And as a previous 17 year-old myself, I understand.

But I couldn't help it this day as we all sat in class. The emotion just came, and I sat privately trying to quickly wipe the tears rolling incessantly down my cheeks. Don't let the girls see this...Don't let the girls see this....Don't let the girls see this.....

The topic of the day's lesson was helping our youth understand their worth and value. Leading them down good paths as mothers, church leaders, and friends. We discussed the seemingly insurmountable challenges every young girl seems to face in this world, and the instructor briefly elaborated on that golden time - from birth to around 8 years-old - when children are relatively free from the realities of the world. The time when we, as mothers, have an easier upper hand of influence on our children. She looked at me with a smile as she spoke of the joy contained in that brief window of time when you're raising little ones and said, "Right Rachel? You certainly know what I'm speaking about right now."

Enter floodgates of emotion. Oh boy do I. My mind instantly flashed to a day last month when Lily asked to go ride her bike with her "friends" down the street. It was the first day I really allowed her freedom to go out solo, on her own, suited up with a helmet to roam our street with a group of children. Sarah was visiting, and we both walked out and watched her ride excitedly in the distance, peddling as fast as she could to keep up with the 'big kids', smiling from ear to ear. It was the cutest and dearest sight, her bright red cheeks and princess bike cruising along, and yet I turned to Sarah and said, "Why does this make me want to collapse in fetal position and bawl my eyes out?!"

There she was, my soul on training wheels, riding away with her friends. And me left, standing there watching in the distance, muttering every prayer of protection and love and security to always blanket her. And I felt it. The time is closing in. She's growing up so fast.

I promised myself I wouldn't take this time for granted. These few years of small children in my home, exhausting me to no end. I wouldn't let the monotony or the peanut butter on the walls win over the larger perspective of how utterly delightful this time is. I would soak in every. moment. And I am proud to admit, barring a few days here and there, that I remain firmly aware of this sacred time I'm living. I want you, my Lily and London, to know that. I am excited (and a little fearful) of all the wonderful things the future has in store for you, but I'd also be perfectly content with time slowing down to a more eternal crawl.

I can't remember all the details. In fact, it infuriated me the other day as I watched baby Finn crawling through the house, and couldn't for the life of me really remember what it felt like to have either of you doing the same thing. The memories fade so quickly, and my mind is so inadequate.
Which is why I consequently blog. It remembers so many things for me. So many things that I hope will convey the ultimate message: that so far in my short existence in this life, I have been surprised to find that the belly laughs and the deep seated joy and the engulfing comfort have arisen in the oddest places.
It's in London's naked bottom sitting on the couch with her sippy cup as I type this, the way she says "I shorry Mom, I shorry", or Lily soaking up the story of Rumplestilskin and looking for "Lithzards" at Gamma's, or the weeds taking over our backyard as evidence of Tyler and I's fatigue in this pursuit of life and all its opportunity. It's in the fact that Tyler and I can both sing, from memory, the theme to the CareBear's soundtrack. Or our excitement over escaping to the movie theaters tonight together. Or watching you two squeal in as you slid down the water slide at Wild Waters on Thursday. It's walking around my very own home, cleaning up and feeling Ellie kick at the same time.

It's in these moments that I'm recording to the best of my ability for you, where I'm happiest. You may not even find much entertainment in them, but I do. And someday, my greatest wish for you (among the many) is that you will experience it too. I wish for you both to have little you's. And then maybe, someday as you recall sitting uncomfortably next to me as a 17 year-old in Relief Society, you'll understand why I cried so much.



** (Relief Society is the women's organization for all women 18 and older in the LDS church and meets every Sunday as a part of our church services. More info here).


Mrs. Officer Andelin said...

That was beautiful.

Not that you did this for me, but thanks for saying the words that don't come easily to me.

You have a way with words Rae.

Alex said...

I just balled my eyes out reading this! You're an incredible writer, and your girls are so lucky to have you record all these precious moments/memories.

P.S. Today we made the chicken and veggies recipie you shared...HOLY COW, AMAZING!!!


Amy DK said...

Lovely. As you know I'm so not in the same place as you but your writing puts me there and I always well up at your words.
This one made me think of a home video we have of Jennie and she's pulling on my dad's shirt saying "Please dad can I go ride bikes with the other kids down the street? Please??" And he says "No Jennie, not today" and then films her sad face watching the kids from far away. It's adorable. And he still won't let us go ride bikes too far. ;)

Joan said...

I have been feeling this way too especially recently as James is weeks away from KINDERGARTEN! I am going to be a sobbing miserable mess! I can't think about it or I might just change my mind about school altogether and lock him in my house forever!

HILL HESS said...

You are killing me! I feel like I need a box of kleenex! I hope you don't mind your mom sent me your blog. So fun to catch up with blogging! Feel free to browse mine as well. Love your posts,
HILL (peters/hess)