Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thank You for the Music

Yesterday I was taking a break on the couch watching a DVR of "The Mentalist". Rachel came waltzing into the kitchen (next to the family room where I was) and was singing one of her classical pieces in full voice. I turned up the volume to better hear my show when it seemed that the more I was turning it up, she was getting louder. I know now that wasn't that case, what was growing louder was my annoyance. I finally hollered into the kitchen,"Hey, Rachel, I can't hear!" She abruptly stopped and came into the family room. I could see by the look on her face that I had offended. I felt a little bad, but was anxious to finish my show.
It wasn't until later that night that I was reviewing the day and going to bed that I realized, "wow, I blew it!" How often do you get a full concert, unawares, out of a teenager? I wish I'd have muted the television, paused my show, (because, yes, DVR allows you to do that), and taken in the beauty of her voice.
I remember back in my high school days when I was in the musical, "Carousel". Many of the songs for my role of Julie Jordan were far above my second soprano range. Every time I tried to reach those daunting notes, my voice would fade and get breathy. I could picture my vocal chords running and screaming, hiding from any breath that might even think it could produce a sound. My heart would tense up, my throat would close, and I'd want to run off the stage at rehearsal. We tried vocal lessons from one of the vocal coaches of the Young Ambassadors at BYU. She gave me many techniques to try: "Yawn while you sing"."Put the sound over the top of your head." "Do the siren exercise before you sing." I employed these techniques the best I could as the performances came and went. I still, to this day, (20 something years later), go breathy when I am singing in the ward choir. I hate it!--That's where my dear Rachel comes in. She is doing things with her voice that I only dreamed of at her age and still do.
Does she realize she has that "ping" (as her vocal teacher calls it) in her tone? It's beautiful, clear, and rich. She's only 15 (well, tomorrow she will be)! She won't realize it if I shut her down when she's singing, that's for sure. So, I'm off to apologize.
Before I do, though, I want to say thanks, Dad and Mom, for instilling in your children the love of music. Most of my fondest memories are connected in some way to music. Singing with my dad on a Telethon when I was four, singing with my sister, Felicia, in our family band, TKO, hearing my brother dying of cancer sing, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives", hearing my oldest brother and his wife sing a song he wrote to each other at their wedding,standing around the piano with my sisters singing while Mom played for us, caroling at Christmas, knowing my little nephew, Robbie, who died at the age of 2, listened to the song "In This Very Room" on our family church CD every night before he'd go to bed, watching Dad sing in the Tabernacle Choir every Sunday, the list and memories go on and on. I am grateful that they are continuing to be made in my own family. Music has been the bond, the balm, and blessing of my life--next time my daughter comes waltzing through the kitchen singing I will listen with awe and gratitude.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Waiting Up

It is 2:20am. Happy Mother's Day! I have been waiting for my Senior son to get home from his high school prom. He took an adorable girl from our stake. We parents went to take pictures of them (the group he went with) at the park before they took off in their limos for dinner and the dance. As I was snapping pictures, I couldn't help but shake my head in denial that my own prom in high school was more than twenty years ago and more unbelievable than that, I have a child graduating from high school in one month! Where has the time gone?
I have been trying to catch up on his photo albums and organize his memoriabilia lately. Something akin to that nesting instinct I had when I carried him in my tummy, only this time it's to prepare myself for pushing him out of the nest so he can fly. Heaven knows I am not ready to do that. I don't want to. I want to nestle him under my wing and shelter him from the storms that may lie ahead. Among his photos and keepsakes I found something I wrote long ago in a far distant time and place:

"I'm watching you sleeping in your little carseat;
so peaceful and innocent.
In the summer's heat your little head shines with beads of sweat trickling slowly down your plump, rosy cheeks.
As I gaze at you in awe, I feel overwhelmed with gratitude to be a part of your life-and you a part of mine.
Your special presence has caused many wounds to heal, suns to shine, and brighter, happier days in my life.
Your small, upturned nose and cherub mouth are sweet as they can be.
I love you, Jordan, and I am grateful to be your mother."

Next month, we are strapping him in, or rather, he will strap himself in, a car seat and we will drive him to college. I imagine that I'll keep turning my head to look at that face I still wish to gaze at. Only now it holds years of a battle with a world shouting to come in and overtake his innocense and sweetness. He has fought valiantly and, in my opinion, victoriously, to maintain purity in an ever-darkening arena. His face holds sincerity, sensitivity, wisdom, diligence, and strength forged by years of right choices, trials, and opportunity.

Next month will bring a rigorous exercise in letting go and trusting. Much like that first day of Kindergarten when you leave them in someone else's hands. Hoping the love and training you've provided is enough to help them succeed in their new environment and journey as a student. Only this time, I will release him to the world and the path he will travel trusting again that the love and training we have given is enough.

Not sure I am up for the challenge, but it is coming ready or not! I can't help but marvel that my own mother had to push all of us out of the nest. (Some of us left more reluctantly than others:) How did she muster up the courage and strength to do it? I wonder how she has managed at all given the trust and faith she has had to forge in a world that takes children in their young years and even adulthood from your loving arms, leaving them aching and empty?

He's home now. Walked in from his date. Happy and tired. I am going to actually miss waiting up. I look forward to when he walks through the door and I get to ask if he had fun with his friends. I think in a month's time, my heart will still be "waiting up" when he's gone. Hoping he is happy, having fun, and success in his life. My heart will still wait for him to walk through the door.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Shhh! Don't tell my family!

I have a confession to make: If you have ever read Ruth Reichl's "Tender at the Bone," I am her crazy mother! I bought two tubs of Ricotta Cheese a month ago to make a lasagne. I used a full tub of one and just a bit of the other. Forgetting that I had used a portion of the other, I put it in my future plans to eventually use the other tub. This was the week I decided to use it. I didn't want to make lasagne again. I perused my box of recipes-clipped from magazines that sounded good at a glance (most have yet to be tried) and found a recipe called Lasagne-Style Ziti. It uses 15 oz. of Ricotta Cheese which would be perfect for what I had. I remembered that the expiration on the tub said June something, which left me certain it would still be in a decent state when I was ready to use it.
I did my shopping this week, tres excited to buy the needed ingredients. Timing the preparation and cooking time perfectly so I could bestow my creation upon my family at the dinner hour, I pulled everything out of my fridge and pantry that the recipe called for. I was happily chopping and sauteing, (Rachel Ray, step aside)looking forward to tasting this promising dish. I opened that carton of Ricotta and beheld that it was teeming with mold. Not just your normal green, fuzzy mold, yes, that, but also a beet-red mold that I had never seen before. I was aghast, agog, and bewildered. How could it have gone bad? In my mind, I had never used any...but then the memory came back to me that I had indeed used some (a month or so ago). What was to be done? I had all the other ingredients. The pasta was boiling. The onions sauteing.I contemplated running to the store, but I couldn't leave my post. I asked my 18 year old if he would like to run to the store for me. He said, "Sorry, Mom, I can't. I'm practicing voice"...Every parent knows that when your child is practicing for any lesson or doing their homework, you don't want to stop them for fear they will lose their focus and never return.
I stared at that mold for quite a while. I thought of our elders who lived through the Great Depression. What would they do? I thought of my aunt raising nine children on a limited budget, what would she do? "Of course", I boldly declared to myself, they would cut out that mold and use the untainted/salvagable "parts". I grabbed a spoon and started scraping. I only had to dig a 1/2 an inch or so. The rest of the contents were pristene, white, creamy and smelled relatively normal. Glancing about me to make sure I was alone, I discarded the evidence and emptied the remaining contents into my shiny, clean bowl. As I added the fresh Parmesan and spinach to it, I felt waves of guilt and worry. "What if we all get sick?" "What if those mold spores are still there, just not visible to the human eye yet?" I brushed these thoughts aside and rationalized that it will be baked at 400 degrees. Surely THAT should kill anything lurking.
Yes, I did it. I baked it and served it to my unassuming family. Jordan had 3 or four servings. It tasted good. I have argued with myself all evening that I should be proud of myself for being so "resourceful" and "brave" while the other part of me, upon remembering that book, keeps saying "you're that crazy mother!" I suppose if we're all still alive tomorrow, it won't matter. And if we're sicker than dogs, I'll confess to my family and start a support group called CICI. ("Chuck it or Chuck it".)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010's been too long

Wow! Can it really be that I'm actually blogging again? I have been "putting it off"' because I still haven't figured out how to add all the bells and whistles to my site. I keep thinking I can figure it out for myself, but I'm thinking I need a major tutorial...Melissa? Sara? :)
I can't believe how much can transpire in one year. Rachel did make the Concert Choir. Life has gone on since she didn't make the dance team. She has had a good Freshman year and it is quickly coming to an end!
Jordan has been accepted to both BYU and Eastman Schools of Music with scholarships at each! We are so happy for him and proud of his hard work. It looks as though he will be opting for BYU as the tuition is much more affordable and (thank Heaven, for me) it is closer to home. Rochester, New York is a "fer piece" from home for a Freshman boy.
I have been thinking of what I should blog about apart from the crazy workings of my mind. I have recently read some fantastic books and thought I might at least post them as I highly recommend them.
The first is called "Left to Tell" by Immaculee Ilibagiza. It is not a light/happy read as it involves her survival of the Rwandan Holocaust. It is, however, hopeful and amazingly redemptive. I am inspired by her faith and strength and ability to forgive.
The other book I just finished last night is "Hotel Paradise" by Martha Grimes. I just found it as I was perusing the book shelves at the library. It smacked of the last book group book we read; a mystery about an 11 year old sleuth who tries to piece together a murder. In this book, the narrator is a 12 year old girl. I was fascinated with her thought processes and the characters in the novel as seen through her eyes. I was sad when I came to the end for I wanted there to be more...not for want of a story, but to hear more from this protagonist I grew to adore. I wish I'd marked my favorite passage-I can't find it now-it was so profound. That'll teach me!
I am making preparations for going to New York City with Jordan and Rachel's school choir. We leave next Wed.! I am so excited! I love NYC! I will get to see my dear friend, Kristin too! Maybe if I can figure out this blogging thing, I can post some pictures of our adventures!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Today Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett passed away. It whisked me away to my youth watching Charlie's Angels; pretending with friends that we were one of the angels. Everyone would fight over being Farrah. My brother, Rich, was totally in love with her.
The music of Michael Jackson is memorable to me because I spent hours dancing to his music. I have fond memories of my brother, Rich, singing Michael Jackson songs. I like to think that they'll have a chance to meet now.
I am saddened more by MJ's passing because he was such a tragic figure these past few years. The accusations and allegations he faced as well as the financial detriment/situation he got himself makes me sad for him and the loneliness in his life. Farrah Fawcett was surrounded by good friends and her lover, Ryan O'Neil when she passed.
Anyhow...I've been doing laundry trying to make preparations to leave on vacation to Utah, New Jersey, and Maine. It's all coming so quickly. I hardly feel ready.
I'm off to eat Subway with Smith. It's quiet around here with Jordan at work and Rachel at camp. I'll hopefully get to blog when I'm on vacation.
Til then...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tales from Tuesday

Today I took my life into my own hands and let Jordan drive home from his dermatology appointment in Newport Beach. He only got honked at once and I only swore once (am I really admitting that?) I read in the parent manual when I got home that we're to remain patient and calm. I will work on my instructor skills or lack thereof. He is really learning quickly and is braving the California roads like a champ. I just can't believe he's driving...I feel old.

Rachel left today for girls' camp. She was excited. She did all her own packing and I didn't even check up on her to see if she remembered everything. I hope she did...she's such an independent girl. It would have been an insult to her, I'm sure, if I had checked in on her packing. I took her and Sara to Walgreen's to load up on their candy/snack supply before they embarked. It's a vegetarian camp. No meat for four days can do wacky things to these girls.
I finished my book today; Rilla of Ingleside. It was a good book, but I didn't enjoy it as much as Wallace Stegner's Crossing to Safety. I am hoping I can retain them a little for our discussions in Maine. I am looking forward to spending time with my mother and father-in-law and sisters-in-law there.
I am especially excited to see my dear friend, Kristin, in New Jersey before I go to Maine. It's been such a long time since I've seen her. She's my "bosom friend" as Anne Shirley would say.
I am also excited to spend time with my family in Utah and Nauvoo. I've been missing my sister, Sara. I love to be with her and her contageous laugh. It's medicine to my soul.
Well, as usual, I'm blogging at night when my brain begins to shut down and render me senseless.
I'll write again sooner than later.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I came out of denial yesterday and realized I am one of those people who could easily walk around with toilet paper on her shoe or hanging out of her pants, oblivious to the world. I was half way through my work out before I realized I had a dryer sheet stuck up in my pants. Once I realized it was there, I couldn't pull it out without looking rediculous and I didn't want to stop my walk on the treadmill and go all the way downstairs to the restroom to extracate it. I suffered through the itch and scratch of it until I got in the car.
I had a hard mommy day yesterday upon finding that Rachel didn't make the dance team at the high school. She was trying so hard to see the positive side of it when she first found out, but last night it was too much and the tears and sadness came. It's so hard to see your kids struggle and hurt and feel such disappointment. How do you help them keep their self-esteem in tact when they feel rejected and not good enough? Telling her it's probably a blessing in disguise doesn't help. I just tried to hold her and listen. Today she is trying out for Concert Choir and Troubadors. Her confidence has been shaken and now she's worried about a similar outcome. She could be put in a "lesser" choir. I hope she will feel good about her audition and that Mr. Tison will hear her potential.
Today is a crazy day. It started with sewing at the church for Joyful Blankets. I went to Rachel's doctor to drop off a health form to be signed for her Catalina trip. Then, to the post office to send a Joyful Blanket off to Annette who is starting her chemo. treatments tomorrow. I then went to the T-shirt store to buy costume pieces for Jordan for his choir concert. Rachel and I will be getting her ready for Catalina this afternoon/evening. She gets to go for two days with her fellow 8th graders.

So, I'm off to pick her up and take her to her audition...I'm putting on my mommy gear again and hoping I can help her through whatever happens. TTFN.....