It’s only the beginning

puzzle

They say you never forget your first love.

There are so many things that I never will forget about mine. I will never forget the way I felt when I first realized that he cared for me. I will never forget that first time that he hesitantly reached for my hand. I will never forget that terrifyingly wonderful moment when I realized I was about to have my first kiss.

I’ll never forget being at work and getting a simple text from him asking if I had been drinking my water (something he knew I had a hard time with) and suddenly realizing that I loved him. I will never forget the thanksgiving day when snuggling together on the couch he whispered to me that he loved me.

I will also never forget the moment standing on a hillside feeling as though my world had come to an end when he told me that it was over for good between us. Things had never been perfect. But I had loved him with everything that I had in me. And although it is over I don’t regret giving my heart. It has grown so much bigger, and is so much more capable of love now than it ever was.

This week I found out that he got engaged.

I may never see him again and I may never get a chance to tell him all that i have in my heart so I will say it here. Here where he will probably never see it, here where I can send it out into the internet universe and put it to rest one final time.

I would tell him, that I am happy for him, that the man that I loved, the boy that I saw inside of him, the friend that knew my heart like no other is still someone that I love. I would tell him that I want his happiness and that I hope that she and he will have all of the hopes and dreams that I know he longed for. I would tell him that after everything we have been through together I just hope that one day if we run into each other I will get to see a genuine smile, from both of us. I would tell him to please not worry about me and to know that I too will find someone and find the happiness that I longed for.

I would tell him thank you for the good times, for the memories and for helping me to become a better person.

Before we broke up I worried that I might not be able to love him in the way that I would need to love and respect a husband. I prayed that I would see him the way that God saw him, so that I would know what kind of man he really was. That prayer was answered and I saw a man whose heart was so full of love and kindness I saw a man that God loved.

When things ended between us we walked and talked for a long time, and he told me that he loved me and probably always would in a way. But that it was just like a puzzle piece that just didn’t fit. Heaven knows we tried hard enough and long enough and it just never clicked. All of that is over now. He found the missing piece of his puzzle and I will start on a new and exciting journey to find mine.

I hope that I will forget the pain of that moment when I saw on his face the love that I waited for too long to see. I hope that I will forget the plans that I had for our future. I hope that all that will remain will be the joy, the growth and the memories. I don’t want to cry over this, I know it was never in the cards for us to be together. He fulfilled his role in my life and what we had will always be a part of who I am. I always said that everyone needed to have their heart broken once. Well now I’ve had mine. And while I will never forget him, I also will look forward with faith knowing that good things, wonderful things are in store for me. It truly is just the beginning.

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The Tale of the Infamous Crik

This blog post is kind of random, mostly a bunch of random memories. But stories of the crik always come up when my siblings and I get together. And it always leaves us laughing till our sides hurt as we remember.

When I was growing up we lived right next to a crik. And yes that is right, it was a crik. A creek was a cute little stream whose crystal clear water flows laughingly over smooth round stones as it gurgles through the canyon. What we lived next to was a crik. It was about 3 feet deep and 3 feet wide it’s banks made of stones covered in chain link. It ran directly behind the fence in our backyard and we thought it was OUR crik.

I have so many memories of that crik, from as early as I can remember everything went in that crik. And I mean everything.

Leftover food that had gone bad

A favorite toy of a brother who had teased you one too many times

A racy romance novel that I was reading to my sister, until she became too afraid that one of the mothers was going to find it.

My brothers peed in it from a hole in the fence

I even remember one time in particular a cousin of mine was particularly getting on my nerves. I had been sick with chicken pox and he had come with his mother who taught my siblings to play the piano. I was sleeping curled up in a chair when he snuck up behind the chair and scared me.

In my 6 year old mind all I could think was that I was so angry I thought I might turn inside out I already had a particular dislike of that cousin because I had to sit on his lap one day when we were piling too many people in the car. I had been mortified and he had teased me. So I had decided that I would hate him to my dying day.

So when he scared me I reacted in a very typical way for me. I threatened to kill him and boy did I mean it in the very fiber of my being.

“How are you going to kill me…” he taunted,

“I’ll…I’ll throw you in the crik!” I threw out the first thing that came to mind.

“I’m too heavy and you are too little…you won’t be able to get me over the fence.”

“Then I’ll bury your head in the sand in the sand box and you’ll die!” I said.

I’m stronger than you what if I won’t let you bury my head, he said, pushing the limits of my fury.

But I digress, the point of this blog post was to just share a memory that I had about the crik. I only just recently realized how strange and inappropriate it was that we threw so much stuff in the crik. I kind of thought thats what it was for and I wondered how other households got by without one.

My brothers even threw a tv in the crik at one point. Unlike most of the other things we threw in there that one didn’t sink into oblivion or float out of sight. It sunk but remained visible from the bottom when the water level was low.

THe boys had found a TV repair shop  and found out they could easily break in. THey did and successfully stole a small TV. Then they got greedy and went back for something bigger. Also the little TV was only black and white and they wanted something with color.

So they went back and found a nice big TV. It was around midnight when they were crossing state street carrying their loot when they were stopped by a police officer.

“You boys taking your TV for a walk?” he asked them.

“Um…” no excuse came to mind fast enough, but the officer didn’t need one. He knew why they ewre running across the street carrying a TV.

He asked their ages, names and birth date. then he asked, where do you live?

The boys really didn’t want to answer that question. They didn’t want to be iin trouble with the parents.

Um we are here visiting from Oregon, they said.

Where

um…they looked at each other, we are staying with our grandparents and we don’t know the address.

You are brothers? He asked, understandably with a good deal of scepticism since the coloring between the two boys was pretty different.

Yes,

But you are both 13.

We are twins!

Twins… whose birthdays are 4 months apart?

The boys were caught and they knew it but they didn’t want to give up their address.

Come on I know where you live, the officer said, and he took them home.

Later after getting in trouble with the parents and lying about that being the only time they had stolen TV’s they threw the other one in the crik to avoid being caught.

Moral of the Story: If you can’t find it…its probably in the crik.

The Tale of the Midnight Bacon Station

I was home for thanksgiving today and while I was there I was going through a bunch of my moms pictures. I have been scanning all her pictures so that we would have an electronic version. I came across these pictures and I had a funny memory come to mind.

When I was about 4 or 5 years old there was a song that my mom thought it was really funny to get me and my brother to sing. It was two characters, Mr. Did and Mr. Didn’t. My brother Al was always Mr. Did and I was always Mr. Didn’t. It always made me so mad and I didn’t want to sing. These pictures that I found pretty perfectly showed our personalities and looking back with a slightly different perspective I imagine that it was pretty funny that we both fit our parts so perfectly. I had no idea we were acting…I was just being myself. I guess that’s what made it so funny.

The song went like this

I’m Did!

I’m Didn’t

I did obey!

I didn’t

I’m hap hap happy all the while!

I’m not

I washed my hands and combed my hair when mother told me to!

I ran and hid and said that’s something I won’t do!

I’m did

I’m didn’t

I did obey

I didn’t

and everybody loves me cause I DID OBEY!

I DIDN”T!

And finally my story for the day.                                                

           The Tale of the Midnight Bacon Station

Back in the day my family had a strict policy about food. You were only allowed to eat what was put on the table. You weren’t to get into the food otherwise. They were pretty strict about that.

One night my brother was in bed when he decided that in spite of  the fact that it was midnight, he wanted something to eat. But not just anything, he wanted bacon. So in the middle of the night Marc got up to cook up some bacon.

Now one thing that you need to know about my mom is that I am quite certain she could smell the sun rise. Somehow Marc didn’t take that into consideration and so he was surprised by the sound of her footsteps coming down the stairs just as his bacon was almost finished.

He left it lying in the pan and ran back to bed. Mother came into the kitchen to find a pan of bacon cooking on the stove and no one to be seen. She turned the flame off and went looking for the culprit. Meanwhile, my brother Hyrum also smelled the bacon and had come to investigate. He too so the pan sitting on the stove with perfectly crisp bacon and no one around. So he gathered up the bacon in a paper towel and went back to bed to enjoy his midnight treat.

After that, we always joked that Marc ran the midnight bacon station, and that Hyrum was his favorite customer.

Moral of the story: Take your bacon with you when you run.

The Tale of Dudley Hogarth

Dudley Hogarth was always called just that, Dudley Hogarth. No one ever just called him Dudley, or Mr. Hogarth or maybe Dud for short. (Although it might have been fitting). He was always Dudley Hogarth plain and simple.

In our culture often men will go to the leader of the group and suggest that perhaps a certain girl should be his wife. When this happens we always say that he “asked for her”.  There was usually a fair amount of speculation as to who was asking for who. One thing there was not any speculation about however was whether or not Dudley Hogarth had asked for you. He had. He asked for everyone. I swear he keeps a calendar where he meticulously keeps track of all female births and as soon as a girl turns 15 he makes an appointment to go explain how he has received a revelation that she belongs to him.

Dudley Hogarth asked for me. He asked for each one of my 24 sisters. He asked for all of my friends. He even asked for my mom back in the day. And I’m quite sure he is well aware of my 14-year-old niece’s upcoming birthday.

Most children play “the last one in is a rotten egg” My sisters and I played “the last one in has to marry Dudley Hogarth.” I remember one of my sisters decided to switch it up one day and she said “the first one in has to marry Dudley Hogarth. It threatened to be a long afternoon as all of us refused to move. We finally realized that game was going to be pointless.

Dudley Hogarth was short and fat. He was mostly bald but he liked to let the few strands of hair that he did have on the top of his head grow out kind of long. I guess he thought that would make up for all that was missing. It would kind of swirl around on his sweaty head in a greasy mess and sometimes would flop over when he would turn around in his chair to stare at you. Which he did. Often. For as long as I can remember Dudley Hogarth sat on the front row at church and used his vantage point to turn and stare at the girls.

He had a fat shiny face and eyes that kind of bugged out a bit. Dudley Hogarth had a mental disorder and probably should have garnered a bit of sympathy. But we women left it up to the men to provide it. He didn’t need any encouragement from us. In fact we avoided him at all costs. If he did ever catch you unawares he would sidle up to you stick out his sweaty hand and grin at you with his yellow gap toothed smile, while he waited for you to shake his hand.

One day when my dad was building our new house I was in one of the room working when I heard Dudley Hogarth’s unmistakable whiny voice coming down the hallway. Desperate to not find myself in a position where I would have to see him and shake his hand I looked around frantic for an escape route. There wasn’t one. His voice was getting closer and finally I lunged for the closet and pulled the door closed behind me. Surely I would be safe there until he left.

I stood quietly peeking through the tiny slit between the two doors. I could see him showing someone around the room. Just when it looked like they were about to leave Dudley Hogarth said, “now look at this closet,” I could see him getting closer and closer through the slit and all I could think was that I was going to find myself backed into a closet with nowhere to run and face to face with Dudley Hogarth! Besides how would I ever explain what I was doing in there.

It seems to providential to be real even now. These kinds of things only happen on TV. But just as Dudley Hogarth was reaching out to open the door, my dad called from the other room and I was spared the confrontation. But I learned a lesson that day. One I won’t forget anytime soon.

Moral of the Story: When you are hiding from a creepy guy…don’t hide in a closet.

The Tale of Little Miss Shirley Temple and the Barber

Yesterday as I sat at the dinner table eating dinner with my family, I had an idea. We were all laughing and talking and retelling the old family legends. I call them legends because, we are storytellers. And often stories “develop” as the years go by. Everyone remembers things just a little differently. For the most part these stories are true, it’s just the details that often become skewed with time. At any rate as we were remembering some family favorites my dad made a comment about how if anyone were listening to us they would think we were quit a bunch of crazies, and that someone could write a book of all our crazy stories!

My friends often tell me I should write more of our stories so here is my idea. Over the next week I am setting a goal to do a post a day. Each day I will share one story. It should be fun. So stay tuned…

I thought I would start with of my dad’s stories, he was a master storyteller and never seemed to lack material. This was one of my personal favorites.

 

             The Tale of Little Miss Shirley Temple and The Barber

When my dad was quite little, just about five years old, he had two good friends, one was a boy named Larry, and one was a little girl named Molly. They often played together. In fact my dad remembers his mom catching him in the act of trying to give Molly an enema in the outhouse when the two of them were about three. He would often go in the backyard of Larry’s house and call up to his window to tell him to come play. Father was a prankster, not mean, but often not very smart about the pranks or the games that he played.

He wasn’t being mean when he made Larry eat a frog,  and he really did forget about him the day he left him tied to the rafters in the barn all afternoon during a rousing game of cowboys and Indians. He was too young to be held responsible for dumping a whole quart full of tomato juice on his baby sister in her crib and the day he and Aunt Sylvia started his dad’s chest hair on fire while he was napping truly was an accident. How were they to know that if they lit a match and dropped in the tangle of hair that it would catch fire? So no, he wasn’t a bad child…just mischievious.

On this particular day, Larry and Father were playing in the yard when Molly came over. She was all dressed up in her best dress and her hair done up in curls. She was going to be the next Shirley Temple. She had a very good singing voice and was on her way to the radio station to sing on the radio. She had come to show off her new look to her friends.

As the kids sat playing in the barn, my dad saw the sheep shearers laying nearby. “He lets play barber!” he said

“You be the barber and I’ll be your customer” said Molly

One by one her blond ringlets fell to the floor as my dad clipped them, first one short then one long.

“Leave this one here in the front for my Grandma,” said Molly, hanging on to one of her ringlets. “She loves my curls”

When the job was done, Molly took one look around at all her curls laying on the ground around her and burst into tears before she ran home.

My dad went home as well and was peacefully playing in the kitchen when he saw Molly and her grandma approaching the front door. Granny had Molly by her one ringlet and was dragging her along. Father slid under the bed, hoping to avoid the consequences that he knew were coming.

Granny and Molly game in the door and Granny shoved Molly’s head towards Father’s Mother. “Look what he did,” she yelled, “Just look what your son did!” From under the bed he could just see Molly’s feet running back and forth trying to keep up with her grandma’s vigorous shoving.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Don’t have little boys…and if you do have little boys just know that when they hide under the bed, there is probably a really good reason.

Visiting the Oakland Temple

When you are a nanny for a 17 month old, you have plenty of time to think. Conversation isn’t exactly stimulating…

Me: “Hey bud, are you ready to go for a drive?”

Eli: (silence)

Me: “Let’s check your diaper first ok?”

Eli: (still nothing)

Me: “Oh my goodness, you are poopy again!”

Eli: (Little chuckle)

That’s pretty much how my day goes. It’s a little different from talking to yourself…but not much.

So in my moment of reverie, today I learned something about myself. I learned that I want to get married.
Now before you freak out at me for stating what is probably obvious if you know me at all or have even read much of my blog, let me explain.

Today, Eli and I are exploring Oakland Ca. Sitting high on the hilltop overlooking the city is this beautiful structure.  It is an LDS temple,  one of 139 functioning temples spread all over the world. Eli loved the fountains, and running up and down the long sidewalks that bordered the stream. On the roof of the temple is a garden. It’s so beautiful that it really does take you back to old movies depicting heaven or the Garden of Eden. Flowers whose fragrance is so sweet that the warm air carries it to you before you have even leave the stairwell, bloom in perfectly manicured beds. Hydrangea, Cannas, and other flowering bushes and trees are in abundance. A lone gardener in a plain blue uniform is sitting next to one of them meticulously inspecting the bright red flowers growing there.

With nothing but the sound of the wind rushing through the palm trees and Eli’s occasional squeal at something that he has found, I spent most of the afternoon wandering the grounds of the temple.

That’s pretty typical of a day on the road with Eli, we wake up usually at about 8 have breakfast in the hotel by nine and then go swimming, shopping, exploring museums, or whatever else I can find to do until about noon when, after eating lunch, most of which gets left on the table, Eli falls asleep. I sit in the hotel while he sleeps and work on homework, watch tv, or spend way to much time playing angry birds.

In the afternoon when he wakes up we usually look for a park or a garden to go play in until its time for his mother to get off work.

A typical day for me when I am home goes something like this…

I get up around 8. Run some errands, do some scrapbooking, work on homework or go to school depending on the day. Then in the afternoon I go to work where I get to work with boys in a secure facility. I help them with home work, music, or whatever else happens to be going on that afternoon. We have a lot of fun together. Then I go home and check facebook to see what events I’ve got going on that night and plan my evening.

I promise there is a point in telling you all of this. Today after Eli and I finished walking around the temple gardens we went to the visitor’s center. Most of the time I find some of the little video’s that they show in places like that to be a little cheesy. Today I must have been feeling differently because some of the things that they said, literally brought me to tears.

If you have never been to a temple visitor’s center inside the have a number of different displays that explain various things about what we as Mormons believe. One of the displays was a series of rooms that all tell a story. As you enter each room the light comes on and a video starts to play. In the first room there are just a bunch of red rocks and the video starts showing a family hiking along a trail (probably in southern Utah.) One of the children ventures too close to the edge of a cliff and falls. He is saved by a ledge just a few feet down and everyone goes home smiling.

Later that night, the father is sitting on the front porch deep is thought as he listens to his children playing and wrestling inside. His wife comes and talks to him and they discuss how glad they are that their family is all together and that an accident had been averted that day. They talk about remembering what is really important. They talk about how our Heavenly Father put us in families so that we wouldn’t be alone, so that we would belong, and so that we would be happy.

The scene moves on and you watch as babies are born, grandparents die, and other important or not so important events bring this family together. You watch them playing and making memories, you watch them fighting and forgiving, but what really stuck out to me for some reason is that I watched them be together and for the first time I realized that I want a family.

I have always known that I wanted children. But I thought of them as babies, I didn’t think of my children as companions, as grown up teenagers or young adults. I always wanted a husband and knew that, that would erase the loneliness that I feel as a single person, but I never thought of the whole thing together.

A family.

A group of people who you live your life for and with. They are the people you sit around the table with for dinner each night, the people you go camping and hiking with in the summer, the people you fight with sometimes, worry about, celebrate with and enjoy beautiful gardens with. They are the people you build lasting memories and lasting relationships with.

That’s when I realized what I was missing in my life. I realized that I don’t just want to get married so that I can have cute little babies to hold and cuddle, I don’t want to just get married so that I don’t feel stuck and left behind in a life that I can’t control, I don’t just want to get married to have a husband and a companion to love. I want to get married because family is God’s way of bringing happiness into our lives.

I saw those people on the video sharing all those moments and I felt the contrast to my own life. Suddenly I desperately wanted to have that. I know that I will one day. I know that this time is perfect for me. That I have exactly what I need right now. I know that I have family. In fact I have more family than I hardly know what to do with. It’s just that with all of that. I find myself living alone. Coming home at night to an empty house, sharing the beautiful things I see and experience with a child who can’t even speak and who isn’t mine. Worrying about burying my dad and taking care of my mom without anyone by my side. It’s lonely and it’s hard. But wow! Do I have something to look forward to! So here are a couple of challenges to any who happen to have read through my ramblings.

1.) If you live near a temple, Go. See the Our heavenly father’s plan for families display and see if you can leave without crying!

2.) If you have children, or a spouse, or siblings or anything that represents family for you…imagine your life without anyone of them and be grateful that God’s plan included making them a part of your life.

and 3.) Spend some time alone and see what ah-ha moments you have.

Creeper 101

Jimmy, could have written the instruction manual for bad dates. If he had been playing how to creep a girl out in ten minutes. He would have won. No contest. Jimmy, was the friend of a friend. I met him at ward prayer one night and he asked our mutual friend for my phone number. We scheduled a date for the following Friday night. Friday morning I woke feeling congested and a little sick. I didn’t want to cancel on him at the last-minute so I decided to just see how the day went. I didn’t really get feeling any better but I wasn’t any worse either so I just decided to roll with it and go on the date.

He picked me up and we drove to a look out spot over the valley. He said that he wanted to show me what he had planned for the date. We got out of the car and he pointed to a mountain peak on the other side of Utah Lake. I thought we could drive over there and do some hiking he said. It would take us about an hour to get there and an hour to get back, and I wasn’t feeling up for a hike let alone a date that was going to last that long. Besides, I wasn’t sure I was comfortable being THAT alone with him.

“You know, I would rather not,” I said, “I’m just not feeling that great and I think hiking would be a bit much for me.”

He seemed a bit put out. “Fine he said your other option is to just take a walk along the Provo river trail and then go back to my place and have some ice cream and watch four episodes of The Rules of Engagement, at that point you can decide if you like it and want to watch more.”

I laughed thinking that surely he was joking.

“Really, four episodes,” I said “and what if I decide what I think after only two?”

“you can’t,” he said, “you have to watch four”

Already I knew this was going to be a long date.

Alright lets walk for a minute I said, but I don’t want to go far.

We walked and talked and he told me about his job at Wal-Mart. He was really defensive about everything and kept telling me that I was probably thinking bad things about him. It was starting to creep me out. So I decided to change the subject.

“Tell me a little about your Mom,” I said.

He described his relationship with her and what a great mom she was, then he said “You know, I think being a stay at home mom is one of the most selfish things a woman can do.”

I laughed, “You mean selfLESS right? You said selfISH”

“No I meant selfish. I think if a woman can be out making money so her family can have a better lifestyle she should.” He said.

 

“Are you joking?” I asked. “I wouldn’t care if we had to live in a tent. I want to be the one to take care of my children. I think women that make that sacrifice are incredible and I think that THINGS aren’t nearly as important as spending time with my kids.”

“Lets just agree to disagree.” he said.

“I think I’m done walking,” I said. “Let’s head back to the car.”

We arrived at his apartment and his landlord was doing some work in the kitchen. He told us he would be done in a few minutes and told us we could go across the street and look at another apartment he had just finished to see what he was working on. He said the door was open. We went and sure enough the door was sitting wide open. We peaked in the doorway and there was a couple making out on the couch. I ducked out feeling a little uncomfortable having walked in on them, and more uncomfortable by the fact that my date had stayed behind to watch.

When he did catch up to me he said, “People don’t do that enough around here. I kind of enjoy seeing it.”

I looked around uncomfortably, unsure of what I should say and caught the sympathetic eye of the landlord.

He came to my rescue, ” Well, that’s the beauty of the gospel, he said, we learn about what is appropriate and what is not.”

My date seemed put out that his landlord had inserted himself into our conversation. “You are not allowed to fall in love with him, Vilate” he said, ” He is already married.”

There was no recovering from that awkwardness so we started the show, it wasn’t actually too bad but after two episodes I was feeling even more sick, it was almost 10 pm and I was exhausted. “You know what?” I said, I actually like your show, but I am not feeling so good. Can we call it a night?”

“We still have two more episodes to watch” he said. “We aren’t done.”

“I am done.” I said, meaning that in several different ways. “Take me home now!”

He stood and walked out to the car without saying a word. The drive home was pretty quiet as well until we turned onto my street. “Im sorry about my landlord, he said he is such a douche, I mean who talks about the church like that when it’s not even Sunday?”

I couldn’t believe this guy! “The gospel is a part of my life, every day, so I would think it would be perfectly ok to talk about it every day.” I told him.

“Well I just think you should keep sacred things, sacred,” was his lame response.

We pulled into my driveway. “I wont be walking you to the door.” He told me.

I almost laughed in relief and got out of the car. I couldn’t hardly believe that this gut was for real.

The next day I got a text from him asking me if I wanted to go see a movie!

I thought long and hard about my response. Somehow HELL NO which is what I was thinking just didn’t feel like the right response.

“I see no value in spending any more time in your company.” I responded.

“Well I had already ruled you out as a prospect for dating” he said, “I just thought we could see a movie.”

I chose to let him have his little last jab, in favor of ending the conversation. I think he may have won an award for worst date ever. I fully expected to see his mug shot on the news any day.