Sunday, October 11, 2009

Finding a little "peace" of heaven

My husband and I were sitting in the living room of our house this morning. We had spent a terribly stressful night with a child (our exchange student) in the emergency room. All morning we had talked to each other and others involved in the exchange program of all that had happened. We had little sleep and further worries to tire us. Then my husband made a simple comment. "This is a lovely room." I looked where he was looking and began to see not only the lovely objects, but the serenity of the room.

I remember in planning the house that it had been my desire to create a Celestial room for our home. I tried to choose soothing colors and objects to that end. My husband purposely added a stained glass that is found in the Celestial room of the Nauvoo Temple and I unwittingly chose a chandelier almost identical to the one in the baptistry of the Cuidad Juarez Temple.

As I looked about the room serenity and peace began to replace the stress, anger, and confusion I felt. It impressed me that our surroundings do indeed affect our mood and state of mind. I was grateful to have such a room in our home and that the clutter present to some degree in every other room of our house is absent in our Celestial living room.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Why I'm boiling mad

I usually don't write about when I'm upset, because I don't think it will be very good reading for anyone else, but today I need to vent.

Yesterday, Bill and I had an interview with the liason couple for our foreign exchange student.
That is why I am P.O.'d. First, I mentioned that I had had a hectic day and asked the woman how her day was, if it was busy. She replied in an arch tone, "Yes, I work ALL day long." In other words she is employed and feels that she works harder than a stay-at-home mom. Okay, I can be big. I let that pass and asked about her work. But it got worse.

This couple had taken Marion out to see a rodeo last month and talked with her. Marion had also gone to a sort of camp out at Ruidoso last month. I told Marion if she had any complaints and wasn't comfortable telling us, to tell the AFS people.

At first the couple just asked us how things were going and we said "Great!"; Marion is a jewel-a darling girl. But, we told them we thought she was experiencing depression lately and it was to be expected as the handbook told us there would be peaks and valleys and she was in a valley. We told them we had invited our daughter's boyfriend over to cheer her up, as he has become a friend. He brought another boy with him who came over to ask Marion to the homecoming dance, and Marion was very excited about that.

Then they began telling us of things that Marion had told them she was not happy about. One was religion. Our practicing our religion makes her uncomfortable. She doesn't believe in God. We were confused by that because we not only didn't force her to participate in family prayer, scripture study, family home evening, or church; we don't even ASK her. Sometimes she has been in the room and when we invited everyone to join us she came but didn't kneel or close her eyes. We were fine with that. Anyway, I told her after we came back, that she was not obligated to do even that, that she could simply leave the room.

Next: She is bored. She doesn't want to stay in her room and do nothing. Okay, well, I have told her she needs to extend herself and make friends. We are pretty boring, but when we do anything, we invite her. Sometimes she comes, sometimes she doesn't. What I tell my children is that, "Only boring people are bored. Find something to do." I haven't told her that. I know it's hard being in a strange country and not really having friends. I've actually been there and done that. But, like I said, you have to reach out. No one is going to do it for you.

Finally, at home she was used to family meals every night. She has a point. We always sit down together on Sunday, but during the week I average 3-4 nights of home cooked meals and we sit down to those, but the rest are either take-out or restaurants. With volleyball games two and three times a week, I find it hard to cook everynight. I would like to do better and plan ahead.

So, the reason why I'm boiling mad is not that Marion had complaints. I am glad she confided in someone and we can try to make some changes to help her and encourage her to help herself in making friends. The reason is the patronization of the woman liason. She told me, "I know when our (two) children were younger (they're both grown and gone from home) it was busy, but I always made sure we had dinner together. I had to leave abruptly to pick Chelsea and her friend up from volleyball practice, so I said, "You know, I want to make this work, but if Marion is too unhappy, maybe she would be better off placed with a non-religious family who do more fun things."

I felt like crying when I left. How dare this woman-who had TWO children- make judgements about my life. She has no idea what it is to mother six children, much less nine children, three daughter-in-laws, four grandchildren, two dogs and a husband who works all the time. I felt like crying last night, but I'm angry today.

I know I need to forgive this lady. She was trying to do her "job", and just had certain prejudices about SAHM's. I can accept that. I just hate the intrusive part of having a foreign exchange student. It started before she came and I almost backed out because of it, but I decided to stick it out. She's wonderful and we are very happy to have her in our family. Every family has issues they have to work out and I believe we can do this. But, the idea of meeting with this liason couple every month sticks in my craw.