Sunday, August 10, 2008

Where I am today... (inspired by Amberly and Jaime)

Today I am 5 or so weeks away from turning 31. I've been married 9 years 3.5 months. Since my marriage I've lived in Las Vegas, Utah, Montana, New York, New Jersey, and Texas. With each place we learn, we grow, and we get stronger. We plan on being in Texas for a very long time. We're finally settling down, and this settling agrees with me.

I'm pregnant right now for the fourth time, and I still pray daily for the health of this small child and the others in my care. And I pray daily for the health and safety of my good husband who loves me and challenges me daily. All of these people are children of Heavenly Father, and he loves them SO much, even more than I love them.

Now that I've been a wife for nearly a decade, you would think that I'd have gotten it down, but I must admit that "wifing" comes less naturally than mothering and requires balancing acts of the emotional and mental sort. I've wavered between being my hyper-aggressive self and an unwilling, unhappy doormat, and have found that neither works for me. I've found at times, I must be led, and then, at other times, I must be bold in what I know is the right thing. I take constant comfort in The Proclamation on the Family, knowing that my primary responsibility is for the nurture of the children, and I've become bold in communicating what I feel is right and where I need help in fulfilling this role. And I've learned that my husband needs attention, too, even if he's not begging for it the way children do.

I don't feel so very different from the brand new mother that I was 8 years ago, but when I think about it, I've changed. I'm much more deliberate about keeping my kids clean and tidy, where I was hesitant to inhibit any exploration by Stacy or Pippi when they were small. (Though I'm still a sucker for a mud puddle.) I'm firmer about establishing limits. I've learned the power of a schedule, tailored to a child's needs. I watch my children more carefully, trying to get to know them, and I try not to react too quickly (this can be hard for me). I'm less likely to physically waver at the sight of a tear, though my heart still melts. I'm calmer, much more likely to take advice from an experienced mother, less likely to rely on the advice of a parenting book (though I still read them). I don't look at the misbehavior of my children as a reflection on my parenting skills. I don't judge other parents by their child's behavior, either. And I know that the way I act and behave has a much more powerful effect than any parenting technique I could use. So, more than ever, I'm trying to keep my behavior in check. I'm more focused than ever on being organized, and I've realized that I've got to change many of my habits. Yet, even knowing many of my "issues," I'm more confident than ever that I can do the things that are most important to me.

Right now we attend a very strong ward. We have plenty of willing priesthood holders and plenty of capable faithful sisters. While I don't get much from sacrament meeting due to Bardo's antics (discussing four-wheelers and the location of his gum (LOUDLY) during the sacrament), I feel the Spirit so strongly through the Sunday School lessons and even the sweet lessons the primary presidency prepared for the children when I was the pianist. I went on vacation, and they released me from my cushy piano calling. Now, I get to work with the Young Women. Now I really must keep my behavior in check!


Amberly said...

silly witch, I really enjoyed this piece. especially the paragraph on wifing. I read it aloud to denten and we both agreed that you said that very well... it is indeed a balancing act. it seems that while we've got things to improve upon, we've got a lot to be thankful for at the same time. love you today!

Jecca Lee Ivie Johnson said...

Geeze man, you are such a powerful writer! Everything you put down on paper (or I should say keyboard) is so enjoyable to read. I feel like I have gotten to know you so much better through blogging and that makes me happy. What a wonderful woman you are! I hope you have an excellent birthday, and also good luck with the Young Women, it is so much fun, but what a lot of work! I did it for three years and I have never had a calling that required so much time and heart, but was even more rewarding. I learned so much from my girls, they taught me more often than I taught them. You'll love it!!!

Kissy said...

Thanks for sharing what you've learned. I must admit that I think I've had things a bit easier than you at times, simply because you've taken the time to share your experiences with me. You are terrific! I wish we lived closer to each other. I'll never forget how fun it was to just pop in on you and talk when we were both down at BYU.

The Flora MOM said...

Young Women! You will be fantastic - I think we've talked about our mutual experiences together (one of the most difficult times in my life)and seemed to agree that we were glad that was over! As a former YW leader, just remember how you felt at that age - that helped me a lot to put into perspective their me-centered world. It's just a natural part of teenage life and they have an incredible ability to reach beyond themselves if given the proper time and place. You will be wonderful - I cried when I got the calling and I cried when I left. It will be an experience like none other in the church. Have fun :)

Sisyphus said...

The Warlock would like to go on record to say (1) you do the wifing thing just fine and (2) congratulations on a fantastic gerund.

Lisa said...

You will be great for the young women! You are just the kind of competant, fun person a teenager needs to know!