29 July, 2014

Say Yes

I met a woman a couple of months ago who completely changed my life.

She told me about how she had nearly died the year before and is the mother of eight children. She lived (obviously), but spent many months sure that she was going to die very soon. She told me that it changed the way she lived in many ways, but mostly in the kind of mother she became.

"When my kids asked if we could have chicken for dinner, I was like, 'Sure!' What's chicken in the overall scheme of things? When my son wanted a cow for his birthday we got him two calves and he was so happy."

She said lots of other things, but the chicken thing stuck out to me. Why say no when I can say yes? I find myself trying to control so much with my kids. Why, though? I mean, really? I think I try to control them so much because I am so afraid of not being respected and seen as a figure to be looked up to and obeyed. But in reality, saying no to so much only makes them sad. And it doesn't glean respect, just fear and annoyance.

Anyway, something clicked in me after that conversation. The one about chicken. And I feel like my whole family is different for the better. I'm more fun. I'm more magical! I want to be a magical mom. Do you know what I mean? I find myself on the floor, crawling around more. I actually keep the kids up later so that I can read to them after a hectic day, rather than hurrying and getting them to bed as quickly as possible. I listen to them and look at them when they talk to me.

Not perfect, they can attest to that. But I'm trying and I'm aware and it's made all the difference.

When I was a little girl, my world was full of magic. No building was just a building. It was a dungeon or a castle or a rocket ship. Gage and KJ are the same way (Will, I'm sure, has no clue what a dungeon is yet, but someday). I have found myself jumping back into that world. Into a place where magic is real. It's insane and beautiful and weird and wonderful. It's like, "Oh hey, everything magical! Did you miss me?"

And when I'm surrounded by the glitter of imagination, all I can think to myself is, "Say yes, Brooke. Keep saying yes."

28 July, 2014

A Happy Mormon Woman

I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love being a woman. I love being a Mormon woman. I just do. Nope, not brainwashed. Not ignorant. Not unaware. I am very aware of who I am and where I am and what I am. And I love it. Right now there are some women in the church who are feeling dissatisfied with the structure of the church and the responsibilities they've been given. I want my kids to know where I stand in all this. Kiddos, here you go.

I love being a mother. It is the greatest privilege I have ever been given. I love being a wife. It brings me so much satisfaction and daily joy.

Heavenly Father has confirmed to me that what the prophets have said, that women and men are equal (though we do have different responsibilities), is true. It has always been true. Elder Ballard says it best:

“Men and women, though spiritually equal, are entrusted with different but equally significant roles. … Men are given stewardship over the sacred ordinances of the priesthood. To women, God gives stewardship over bestowing and nurturing mortal life, including providing physical bodies for God’s spirit children and guiding those children toward a knowledge of gospel truths. These stewardships, equally sacred and important, do not involve any false ideas about domination or subordination.”
For me, it all comes down to this. I sustain the leaders of the church. I follow their counsel. I trust them and I love them. They have been more than clear about the roles of men and women at this time on the earth. I have never felt that they've been unclear about it. 

Kids, here's what you need to know: I know that the doctrine of this gospel is true. I believe in it with all my heart. I have felt it too strongly, too often to deny it. I love it. I love the teachings, I love the leaders, I love the direction that they give us. I love the temple. I know that Dad and I are equal. I see him as my partner and better half, and I know that he sees me as his. Our love and marriage is something that I hold so sacred that I can't even really type about it without feeling warmth through my whole body. We respect each other, we esteem each other. I rely on him and he relies on me. We are true to each other, we are honest with each other. 

The world is not a perfect place, the church is filled with imperfect people. Mistakes will be made, offense will be given, improper beliefs and practices will take root at times. But the truth is unshakeable and if you take a moment to pray and listen you will be told the truth. Heavenly Father never withholds the truth from us, ever. 

I'm happy. I'm Mormon. I'm a woman. And that's that. 

24 July, 2014

Lessons on Seasons

I'm learning to love the season I'm in, and it's been a long time coming. 

It's important to note that looking at other people and comparing myself to them only makes me wish myself away from my current season and when I do that, I feel like I'm starting on square one again, of this whole learning thing. 

I don't want to just do my life, I want to live and love my life. And right now my life is lots of wooden puzzle pieces, decoding toddler language, small but sure and sweet moments of romance when Steven and I have a second to express them amongst all the busy needs of our lives and our kids. I am learning to love getting soaked during each bath time, to sweep the same space of floor multiple times an hour. I'm learning to love how small bits of oatmeal stick to KJ's thighs and to the chairs, and seem to glue themselves on. I'm learning to let go of how much I thought I loved said chairs. Because in truth, nice dining chairs aren't part of this season. 

Neither is a perfect body (no time!), or a beautiful purse, or a perfectly manicured yard, or a car that doesn't have banana peels strewn throughout the back half. Learning about seasons is as much learning what season I'm in as what seasons I'm not in. 

This season is about listening and learning with my kids. It's about experiencing childhood all over again. It's learning what is a good thing to spend money on and what is not. It's learning how best to utilize the precious private moments I have with my husband. It's figuring out how to get deep sleep even when I know I'll get woken up twenty minutes after I lay down. 

Most of all, it's learning to love. Maybe that's what every season is about. 

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