Friday, November 21, 2008

Celebrating Reed

Reed is six today. I accidentally slept in (perhaps I'm in denial), and Reed ran into the room, stopped short of the bed, put his arms in the air and shouted joyfully, "Mom, I'm six!"

We spent about half an hour cuddling in my covers, tal
king about the scientific--and gross--aspects of boogers and volcanoes (a boy's dream), laughing and being generally silly and raucous.

My labor to bring Reed into this world was relatively, thankfully, short. I arrived at the Army base hospital around 9 in the morning, and Reed emerged at 5:18p.m. that same day. I remember that as I pulled him up close to me, his slick little body so tiny I felt as if my arms and hands were huge, his eyes were closed. I brought him close and his eyes opened and beheld my face.

I was his first earthly sight.

I remember feeling the both exhilarating and overwhelming weight of responsibility that descended on my shoulders in that abbreviated momen
t. I remember thinking, "But who am I to take care of you, so perfect and so new, so pure and from a place so untouched?" In that one condensed minute, I was bowled over by how much I knew I needed to teach him.

In those first few seconds of holding my first-born to my body, marveling at all
I was now responsible for, and wondering how the joy and worry did not make my heart explode, I didn't yet have an inkling how much Reed would teach me. It took me a long time to feel that confidence of a mother, that feeling of I-know-what's-best-for-you.

It took a long while for me to reali
ze that I was meant to be Reed's mother, and he was meant to be my son, and we really were both perfect for the job. :)

Amidst all the nagging worries and daily shortcomings and daily asking for help and forgivene
ss, sometimes there come moments when I realize that I've done something right. Moments where Reed says something that blows me away, and I am amazed at the kind of person he is, and then amazed that he learns and obeys so well when I, his teacher, am so faulty.

I really do believe, though,
that Reed already possesses a giant spirit in his gangly little body. I am just here to see that he is protected, nurtured, and retains as much of that goodness as possible.

Who am I to take care of you, so perfect and so new, so pure and from a place so untouched? I'm your mother, that's who!

His personality, much of his strength, much of what will make him happy in this life, is already intact and
included. It is up to me to see that this strong foundation is reinforced, preparing him for his life out of home, and ultimately, his return to that other home. Today on his birthday I thought it only appropriate to transcribe (many) journal entries that detail some of the ways he is such a wonderful little boy. This doesn't even touch the scope of it, but I am in an it-all-comes-full-circle mood today, and this best represents that mood.

October 4th
, 2001
No one can crush the human spirit...It can't be broken. It is the frame of life...I will have children! I will not be cowardly! I will fight the evils of this world by making a heaven on earth in my home...and Satan is powerless against me.

Thursday, May 16th, 2002

Last Friday, I had the scare of my life. I thought I had lost you. When I went to the doctor, though, and had an ultrasound, there was your tiny body--and I sobbed with joy to see your strong and constant heartbeat. At that time you were just 2.91 centimeters long. Your limbs hadn't formed yet, but I could see the beginning of your nose and the umbilical cord.

Reed, 2 years old, June 2005
You sad, mama? You cry? [wrapping his arms around me] Is okay. Daddy come home soon.

Saturday, July 6th, 2002
Yesterday you had the hiccups! You also "punched" me
twice when my stomach growled. I laughed hard over that.
Every time you move, I have this feeling that you're a boy. And each time I prod my belly, trying to figure out how you're positioned, you either p
ush back or wait 'til I stop poking and then you slowly move into a new position. You are quite an active baby! Especially when I lie down, it's like you decide that my quiet time is your play time.
Some people say that babies don't have p
ersonalities until a few months or years after birth, but I disagree entirely. You definitely have a distinct personality, as far as I can tell. You seem to be an athletic, curious, communicative, and even stubborn baby. I suppose we'll see if I'm right later! May 2005 Reed, to my large pregnant-with-Jaxon belly, "Wake up and watch Cartoon Network? [then to me] Baby's hungry. He needs milk. [then to my belly] Baby's hungry. He needs milk. You hungry, baby? You want chocolate? Wake up."
[Reminding me before bed] "We need to read the scripdures."
[to his "hurt" stuffed animals] "Oh, sakes! Mommy, I giving him sakes."

Friday, August 20th, 2002
Dear Baby,
I keep wondering what you're going to look like! Red hair? Brown or black hair? Maybe even blonde! And your eyes....brown? Hazel? Blue at first?
Tuesday, August 27th, 2002
Dear Baby,
You're growing pretty fast! I'm finally showing now, and sometimes I feel your little feet poking me above my belly button.
Last night I had a wonderful dream about you. I think maybe Heavenly Fathe
r gave me the dream to help me feel better about some fears and worries I've been having. In the dream, I was nursing you, and you were smiling and cooing and being very peaceful. I felt so connected to you, as if we were understanding each other's thoughts perfectly, kind of a silent communication. Also, your daddy was holding you, and both of you were smiling and laughing at each other, and you napped together. It was such a sweet dream.
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005
Me: Jesus will come again someday.

Reed: Jesus faraway?
Me: No. He's close by.
Reed: Daddy faraway.

Me: Yes, but he'll come back.
Reed: He play again. He rock me.
Then, speaking as if seeing something in his mind,

Reed: Daddy's silly. He's playing the toys. Is funny!

Me: Yeah?

Reed: Yeah...[then, suddenly more quiet]...he rocking me.

Oh, my sweet Reed! Your faith is unfailing. I draw strength from your tender little spirit and comfort from your kn
owledge that your father will return. And no, little one, Jesus is not faraway. He is with us. I feel His presence when I hold you in my arms.

August 22nd, 2005

Baby Jaxon is today two days overdue, and you asked me tonight, "Will you push out baby Jaxon for us?" You offer to "push him out" for me.
Reed, 4 years old: Mama, does Jesus sleep?
Me: Nope. He doesn't need to.

Reed: So he can protect us all the day. And watch us when we sleep.

July 2006
Autumn [Reed's cousin] was struggling to pick a weed, so you plucked it for her and handed it over and said, "There you go." She said, "That's perfect!"

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

My sweet Reed,

Today we welcomed your little sister, Savanna, into the world...Upon seeing Savanna, you grinned from ear to ear and climbed onto the bed to see her. You said so many sweet things and couldn't resist kissing her little face and stroking her soft, silky hair. "Hi, Savanna. I love you...[then, smiling] she's tiny!" Your commentary ran from how small she was compared to you and Jax, to how she could play on the playground when she's bigger, to how pretty she was, and finally how she's your 'sponsibility' and you plan on protecting her. You are the most kindhearted, fiercely loyal, protective little boy!! Your dad and I constantly marvel at the great capacities of your little heart. We're so proud as we watch the progress you are making. Reed, you are the bright light in our home. You illuminate the world of those around you. It is a blessing, honor, and privilege to call you my son.

I am blessed, I am honored, Reed, to be your mother. You made me a mother, and you continue to make me want to be better. My dearest ambition is that I can help you progress and find joy, returning the beautiful gift you have given and continue to give me.

Monday, November 17th, 2008
"Mama? Do you know what I want to do on my birthday?"
"Before the guests arrive, I want us to lay on the grass and look at the clouds and use our imaginations."

"Oh, we can absolutely do that."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What A Mighty Good Man

Today I find myself even more grateful for and in love with Phill. I'm grateful he's home, but today I'm just especially grateful that he's him. :)

At night after the babies are in bed, he sits down on the couch, pats the cushion next to him and says, "Come vedge. [Logical spelling borrowed from Q]" So we sit and watch TV or stare at each other and eat cookies and call to the children (one more time) "Go to sleep!" and talk about whatever is lately on our radar. And if I'm cold he lets me put my freezing cold toes in his big always-warm hands, or if my hands are cold I'm always allowed to tuck them into the front pocket of his sweatshirt.

Last night, before we were vedging, before the babies were in bed pretending to be asleep, he made cookies with the boys.

This morning as I got ready for my run I gasped dramatically and said, "I forgot to charge my iPod!" So I took Phill's, which isn't really the best for running (because his has the touch-screen and it's bigger). I wasn't too disappointed, and my run was fine, but not stellar. I came inside (from the wonderfully bracing cold) and Phill had to leave for work. I sat down at the computer and noticed that he had plugged my iPod in. Something small--but it made me glow with happiness.

And later on this morning, he left work for a while to come home and go with all of us to the book fair at Reed's school. After which we played all together at Reed's park before school started, sending Savvy down the slide with Reed so that her hair stood straight up from all the static and Reed could barely breathe for all the laughing. Phill was in uniform and a little boy said, "Are you a soldier? I saw another soldier once. But he was here
after school." :)

That's all. I'm just happy. Those four little things are making my eyes sparkle today.
Oh, I love my Phill.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


After dinner he danced around the kitchen with Savvy in her darling polka-dotted sleeper, and sang to her and smiled so big that his crow's feet were highly visible--like I like them to be. (I told him I missed his crow's feet.) When Savvy saw Phill walk through the door, she went immediately to his arms, inspected his face with her hands on his cheeks, a concerned expression on her face, before giving a tiny smile and resting her head on his shoulder.

The boys ran to hug him when they saw him, Reed bonding himself with Phill's right leg until he had to walk (eventually).

I went completely jelly-legs the minute he walked in and didn't answer my phone for a long, long time. (Sorry, Abby. I told you I'd be MIA today.)

Right now we are in the living room with the lights off so that the boys can play with their hand-held LED lights Phill bought them, and Savvy is drinking her bottle and holding her ear (sleepy posture), laying on the floor with her head right next to Phill's and her legs draped over his shoulder.

Only three weeks, but it seemed like so much longer!
Home, home, home.
(And then, with her last ounce of strength, she crawled into bed and slept for five days.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Because she is so awesome....

....and because she writes it so well, I HAD to post a link to my little sister's (Kate) blog. Her latest post is so wonderful that I found myself about to copy and paste nearly all of it, then realized that I ought to just post a link to the post itself. :)


Although some of you may have thought from my post yesterday that I had decided not to vote today, I did vote today, and was absolutely undecided until I was standing looking at the ballot for nearly a full minute.

I'm still not happy about my choice. But I'm happy to exercise it. I feel oddly resigned and pretty keyed up about watching the results tonight.
No matter who wins, changes are coming, and instead of feeling like I'm embarking on some grand adventure, I feel like buckling my seat belt and putting my head down over my knees.

Still....*woohoo* for the right to vote!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Rock the vote? Or rock the boat?

All over the airwaves are orders to "rock the vote" to "make yourself heard", to make sure you go and vote because if you don't you have no voice.....

Today when waiting for Reed to come walking out of school, I heard a man say this on his phone: "Nah, man, I ain't gonna vote. Don't make no difference, do it? I mean, Bush got elected anyway, didn't he?"

I may have mentioned a few times how much I hate apathy. But just in case, let me drive it home. All of these sentiments are near-infuriating to me: -"My efforts don't matter. I make no difference." -"What's the point?" -"I don't know. I don't really care. I don't have much opinion on the matter." I tend to feel really awful when I find myself guilty of apathy or complacency.

Inwardly, this is what I was shouting, "What's WRONG with you?! What are you SAYING?! Way to negate your voice and your influence!! Choose, darn you! Choose!" And that's when I started to laugh. Indeed, what would I have said to him? Choose! You HAVE to voice your choice!

You see the irony here, don't you? And now it seeps out of the television and out of the radio: Vote! Do it! You MUST!

I remember my mom giving me a home-school lesson about voting, democracy, freedom, etc....she expressed her joy at having the ability to vote, the ability to contribute to the future of the country, and often in the direction she prayed for. But then she said that because we have that freedom, that right, that it is ALSO our right to choose not to vote.

*GASP!!!* My patriotic sensibilities were completely offended! I understood what she was saying, but I was disheartened by the thought of anyone giving up their chance to vote.

So when I heard this oh-so-eloquently expressed opinion today, I had to try very hard not to say something back. So much is done to protect our freedoms, but especially--specifically--our freedom of voice, our right to express and make known our deepest beliefs.

I called Phill. What else could I do?
Me, breathless: "Honey, this guy at Reed's school was talking about not voting because he doesn't think it matters at all!!....isn't that crazy?"
Phill: "Well, that's silly. Of course it matters. Actually, um, I might not vote."
"WHAT?!" (Actually clutching my throat melodramatically, breathing very fast)
"But for the opposite reason. I know my vote matters. And I'm not sure yet that I want to take responsibility for voting for either candidate. I don't know yet if I can live with the effects of either choice."
"Oh." (Pausing for a long time, feeling my heart slow down as I process this....)
"Do you know what I mean?"
"Yeah.....but vote anyway? Just write in Mickey Mouse?" (Pleading)
"We'll see!"

Which leads me to this: I'm not going to yell from the rooftops ROCK THE VOTE! (I think that was last election's slogan? Heh...maybe I'm way off the mark there....that'd be funny.) But I will say: EXERCISE YOUR FREEDOM OF CHOICE! Enjoy your agency! Whatever you choose: Be it Obama, McCain, Mickey Mouse, or even the absence of your vote. Rock the vote or rock the boat. :)

P.S.-For the record, because I know some of you are sitting with bitten fingernails about to fall off the edge of your seat, I AM voting, and I am voting for.....

.....gotcha. I knew for about 32 hours who I was voting for, and that was the longest I had remained decided. I am--once again--undecided, hardly a day between now and my turn to vote, and thinking that I will be surprised to see whatever I choose. But I'm happy I can choose.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Photos

We started out with Reed as Anakin (I would like to mention that his costume except for the long-johns was homemade, because my sewing machine does not work, and it took me five hours to do, and I had no be gentle with any critique of its quality!), Jax as a pirate, and Savanna as a ballerina--that was for the ward trunk-or-treat on Tuesday. But we ended up with: Reed as Anakin, Jax as "an army", and Savanna as a fairy. I was lazy and it was eighty degrees outside. Some shifting was necessary! It was kind of a huge day for them yesterday, what with all the sugar, heat, and clothing changes. By the time we got to the actual trick-and-treating itself (at the Zion Outlet Mall), they were pretty much done. It was still fun, though, I think? :)