Tuesday, May 18, 2010

This Year's Mother's Day Gift

I had a surprising Mother's Day gift from Brett and Abbey this year.  They gave me a trip to Utah so I could go to BYU Women's Conference with my friend Lori, spend some time with Ben and Mary and my mom and dad, and then spend four days in Denver with Kristy and her family.  I think Brett and Abbey agreed that Mom was pretty much a lump and needed a big pick-me-up, so they knew a pilgrimage to BYU to get my spiritual and emotional cups filled up would do the trick.  They were right.  Seeing my grown-up kids and my two grandsons was a lovely bonus and did wonders for my happiness meter.

Ben and Mary picked me up at the airport - thanks AGAIN guys - and then took me to see their cute condo they moved into a few months ago.  It was so great to see their cozy home and feel their love filling up every corner and crevice as they prepare for this new little sweetheart who will be coming to rock their world this summer.  The baby's room is darling with the bed all set up, ready for my first granddaughter!  Oh, July will not come soon enough.  (At the end of my trip, while I was in Colorado, Kristy and I caught the buying bug and began the glorious experience of pink purchasing.  The outfits weren't ALL pink, but you get the idea.)  Mary looks so beautiful with her baby tummy and she and Ben are preparing for parenthood in such a thoughtful, purposeful way.  I'm so proud of them!  I forgot to take pictures of the baby's room or Ben and Mary, so you will just have to take my word for it - they are wonderful!

My friend Lori and I have gone to Women's Conference together a few times and have loved the time together learning and serving, so we were both very disappointed when we couldn't go last year because I was in the Middle East.  Well, Lori was pretty surprised when I called to ask her if she could make arrangements to go this year.

The conference was wonderful, as always, but this year both Lori and I took things a little more slowly and thoughtfully.  We kind of plodded our way through, so to speak.  Other years we have raced to get into lines for the more popular classes and worn ourselves out with strategizing and squeezing every last drop of opportunity out of the two days.  This time we promised ourselves we were just going to enjoy our time together and let the experience happen a little more naturally.  I think our ages and our health have forced us to come up with this new plan, but I really think it worked.

Lori is really quite talented!

My favorite classes had to do with having a merry heart, dealing with depression, and cultivating trust in marriage.  Both Lori and I felt the need to laugh as much as possible, so we gravitated toward the more hopeful class titles and let all the 20 and 30 year olds attend the supermom guilt-ridden lectures. 

We woke up to snow at BYU

This is the all important Women's Conference Bag.

One of my favorite general sessions was by Renata Forste and was entitled "Coming Together and Sustaining Each Other in Righteous Choices." She talked about how women sometimes sabotage each other instead of supporting and lifting one another.  Much of her talk was taken from a Dave Barry article entitled, "The Ugly Truth About Beauty."  If you google the title you will find a copy of the article and it is worth reading, framing, sending to friends on their birthdays, and passing on to your daughters.  Sister Forste said that as women we don't have to be victims of our socialization.  We need to step back and evaluate expectations of ourselves and see if they fit with our eternal goals.  We should also be mindful of the unnecessary expectations we put on other women to follow our same path.  She pointed out that personal revelation does not mean others must follow that same path.  We need to sustain each other as we make righteous choices.  This doesn't mean we can laud our testimonies and faith over other women and use them as a wedge.  She said that if we do we might meet some of these women we judged in heaven, and they will recognize us and say,  "Oh yes, you were a believer but you skipped the part about not being a jerk about it." It is funny but sadly true.

The class on dealing with depression was the most helpful and meaningful one for me.  It was kind of a miracle that we went because I hadn't noticed it listed in the schedule, but Lori did at the last minute, so we went.  The two psychologists who spoke were very positive, and I came away from the class with a lot of hope and some great resources I am already using.  As we were leaving the auditorium where the class was held there was a young woman sitting on the very top row crying.  She was all curled up and truly in pain.  I can only imagine what she has been through and what the class brought up for her.  I couldn't just let her sit there and cry alone, so I asked Lori to wait.  I climbed the stairs and asked her if I could give her a hug.  Her cries turned to gasps and she allowed me to hug her.  She didn't talk.  She just kept crying, but she wasn't alone.  I asked her if I could help, but she just shook her head.  I still think about her and pray for her.  I hope that the presenters were able to talk to her after I left.

"Grandma, do you know what a fork is?"

My four days in Denver at the tail end of my trip was so wonderful.  My grandsons were exactly the medicine I needed.  Before we even got home from the airport, four year old Thomas was telling me that he was going to teach me how to play chess as soon as we walked in the door.  And yes, that is exactly what he did.  I learned all the moves.  I learned what a fork is (a move where you use one of your pieces to attack two or more of your opponent's pieces), and luckily I got a phone call and had to turn the game over to Jared, or Thomas would have beaten me soundly.  As it was, Thomas did beat his dad and proceeded to celebrate by writing an email to Grandpa Brett about how he had put his dad in checkmate "at last." Yes, he had to wait until the ripe old age of four to beat his dad in chess!  (Jared told me he went easy on Thomas this time.)

Kimball cuddled with me every morning and all during each day.  That boy is a lover AND a fighter (he tends to get into mischief quite a bit).  Kristy and I talked about books, music, mothering, and her goals and plans for their future.  Jared and I took the boys to their new public library while Kristy taught piano lessons.  Thomas and Kimball really know their way around the book stacks and even know all the librarians by their first names.  One librarian talked my ear off about my brilliant grandsons.  I didn't mind a bit!

Kristy entertained me while shopping.
Kimball is a caution!

Kimball fed a goat at the farm.  He has no fear whatsoever!

 Kristy's cooking was amazing and so delicious.  She made enchiladas, corn salsa, strawberry/rhubarb crunch, lamb gyros (with homemade flat bread), caramel cake, and many other tasty delights.  I felt so spoiled.  We went to the zoo, the movie, the Littleton Farm, and the temple.  We packed as much into those four days as my body could handle.  I flew back to Doha with smiles and memories to last at least until we get back home this summer!


Kristy said...

Yay yay yay! We loved having you, Mom!

Amy said...

What a perfect gift for a very special Mom. I'm so glad you were able to enjoy yourself.

Jared said...

It was so much fun to have you in town. The boys hadn't been that excited/happy since Disneyland. They really love you, and so do Kristy and I.

Amber said...

what an exciting and rewarding trip! I love that your family did this for you...what sweetie pies! You are a lucky woman!

Amy said...

Happy Mothers Day! (This is the kind of gift that gets to WAY more people than the one going....)

terahreu said...

Thanks for sharing your Cliff Notes of the conference. What a memorable moment. I am sure it was gold to you, not to mention all the grandma time. I could use those uplifting talks as the heat sets in and summer is about to begin! Thanks again!