Monday, June 21, 2010

A Hike in the Franklin Mountains

This morning I awoke at 7am to the sound of Emma crying on my bed,
"We missed it! They already left!"
 I would have loved to sleep longer. I really would have, but it meant so much to her.
"No, we haven't missed it. We're supposed to meet at the pool at 7:30. Quick! Go get ready!"

We made it in plenty of time to join the rest of her summer swim team for a hike up the mountain at Mt. Franklin State Park. We covered ourselves in sunscreen. Emma put red Gatorade in a camelback. I put water and food enough for a week in my backpack plus a first aid kit in my backpack and we were off.

It was hot and it was hard. There were huge rocks on the trail, whether intentionally or from a rock slide, I don't know, but it made for very difficult walking. Had it just been dirt it wouldn't have been nearly as hard. I twisted my ankle a couple of times and Emma slid over a cactus and got spines in her behind, but other than that we were good. Emma saw a couple of large lizards and some scary looking bugs.  I was just glad we didn't see a tarantula.  On the way up the group stopped a couple of times for water breaks and once we reached the top we stayed and ate our lunches.

The way back down was quick but treacherous. I realized part way down how lucky I was to be there. If I hadn't lost all this weight (58 pounds at this point) and gotten back into shape I could never have made it. I would have had to let Emma go by herself. I'm so glad I could do this with her, that I didn't have to tell her as I have so many times,
"Sorry, Em, you got the "old mom".
That made me a lot happier about the whole hike!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Feminism and Motherhood: Can they peacefully co-exist?

Live and let live!
Respect and RELISH differences!
That is my philosophy.

I re-read Julie B. Beck's talk entitled "Mothers Who Know". It made me feel guilty, but I recognize truth when I read it. My darling daughter-in-law, Emme, wrote an excellent post about the topic of motherhood and feminism and how distored the world's view has become on the subject with reference to this talk. Then there were some excellent comments and as I wrote my comment it turned out to be a page and a half long. I realized that I just needed to make a post of my own.

My son, Mike, always says that I am a feminist. I am to some extent, I guess. Maybe I need to look that up and find the true definition. Okay I did and if you want to know more here is the link. I do, apparently qualify as a feminist of the Third Wave. But, this is my version of feminism: I believe that women are equal- to each other and to men. I hate chauvinistic, misogynistic remarks and jokes. I hate when my own daughters use terms for parts of their body that were coined by men who consciously or unconsciously (it doesn't matter which)intended those terms to be demeaning to women. Example: "boobs". A "boob" is a stupid, witless person. Hello?
And all other word substitutes for breasts and buttocks imply that we are simply interchangeable body parts for the use and exploitation of men. If believing that we are more than breasts and vaginas makes me a feminist then I'm a card carrying feminist. And, I feel sorry for women who don't get that!

But, if believing that I have to work outside the home to gain respect because rearing children isn't as worthy and valued an occupation as any work-for-pay job is what defines a feminist-I'm out. I once prayed to Heavenly Father telling him I could do so much more (in church and in the community) if I weren't always pregnant or nursing babies. His reply was, "You could do more, but you couldn't do better." I understood. But not everyone is called to have nine children. I understand that, too. It's an individual decision made between three people: the woman, her husband, and Heavenly Father. If you leave Him out of the decision you could be making the mistake of a lifetime.

But, when you make the decision to have children you should take full responsibility for them and not hand them off to some "care-giver" who, quite frankly, doesn't give a damn. I've worked in a day care. I have been a paid babysitter and I have talked to other women who have and, please, believe me, no one-NO ONE- will love your child or really care for them as you do, or will. It's just a job, and an under-paid job at that. They might not abuse them, and hopefully they will be nice to them, but they WILL NOT love them. And, it takes love to raise a child-24 hour a day, seven days of the week love. And, no one will give them that except you. I once heard a woman say, "I brought them into this world, I figure it's my job to show them around." Pretty simple, don't you think? Julie B. Beck said it in a more refined way: "Mothers who know are always teachers. Since they are not babysitters, they are never off duty."

So, these are just my opinions and feelings. Does that mean I look down on or condemn a working mother? No. I don't know all her circumstances. I can't read her heart. I'm not living her life. That's why I say, "Live and let live." Most people are doing the best they can with what they've got. Everyone is at a different place dealing with things we'll never know about. I like to think the Golden Rule applies to our thoughts as well as our actions. "Think about others the way you would like to have others think about you." I hope everyone is cutting me some slack, so that's what I try to do, too.

Thanks to my daughter-in-law, Emme, for her post “Slightly Controversial” and to my daughters-in-law, Miriam and Courtney, for their comments. That was a very thought provoking post, Emme.

And, to my own wonderful mother, “You go, girl.” That was a great comment! And, thanks, for being there for me and my brothers. It sure went fast, didn’t it?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Engine, engine number nine

This post is all about our ninth child. Our adorable caboose (to continue the train metaphor). She is as the song says "a strange mixture of a woman and a child". She is only ten, but sometimes acts much older.

She enjoys dressing up, doing make-overs, and playing with the boys in the neighborhood, especially our next door neighbor (and best friend since she was three), Reed, whom she used to call "Weed".

She has turtles and catches tadpoles and bugs for them, wants a rabbit again badly, but Mom doesn't, and loves our dogs, Jack and Pearl. She loves having a cell phone, handed down from our short-time foreign exchange student. She will happily make me a gourmet salad at the drop of a hat (or plea from me)and enjoys using her play baking oven. She has loved pink, pink, pink all her life, but is beginning to like green and torquoise,too. She likes to climb trees and goes everywhere barefooted. But, she loves to cuddle with Mommy and DaDa still, and that's my favorite part.

Being the youngest has some perks, but also some challenges. Before she was born her oldest brother, 24 years her senior, told me, "You know, she will never really know me." It turns out that he is her favorite and closest sibling.

She loves being an aunt to her three nephews and one neice. And they love her! They come in our door shouting her name.

I wish she could stay this age forever. But, she will grow up and I just hope she can be one of our easier teenagers. We are, after all, getting older. The other day she asked me how old I would be when she graduated from high school. "Sixty-two", I tell her. "Why?", I ask.

"I just wondered if you would be still be alive to do that thing where you made fun of Hayley (the Senior Salute) for me."

"Yes, I'll still be alive when you graduate from high school and when you graduate from college. I'll still be alive when you get married and when you have children. Remember, my mother is almost 87, thirty years older than me, and she's still alive. I'll probably live a long time, too. I may not be alive when your children get married, but I'll watch from heaven, okay?" "Okay."

I just hope I don't look like this at her graduation.