Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Love Story Part 3

I woke up in the morning completely stuffed up. That is what happens when you are jammed into a room with fifteen other girls and someone turns the heat WAY up. The condensation on the windows was starting to clear as someone decided to air out the room. I lay in bed for a moment thinking about Mongoose. I imagined the way he looked at me the night before. It was different, I had never had a boy look at me with such....what was it exactly? It was like he could actually see me.

He wasn't like Tyler. Tyler. Uh oh. I was technically still dating him, I was also supposed to have called him every night. He was expecting it. I felt a little bad and decided I would do it when I had some free time later that day.

The day went by in a blur and any thoughts of Mongoose were interrupted by how to handle homesickness and how to sing "I'm getting eaten by a boa constrictor." There wasn't much time for romance, not until we had a break. It was sunny and warm out and like foolish youth we decided to swim in the lake. Well, the boys swam showing off who could go farthest and fastest. The girls layed out in bikinis and soaked in the sun. Occasionally a boy would dare a girl to jump in the freezing lake. It was one of those happy moments in life where you think about nothing but the sun. Well the sun and boys. Mongoose was of course showing off in the water and at one point had jumped in the lake only to discover the large rock that everyone was warned about. He scraped his foot pretty badly but managed to survive.

I was keeping my eye on him. He was a flirtatious boy that was for sure. Doubts began sinking in as I watched him throw Waffles in the lake. She was pretty, naturally blonde, and loved to laugh. She was also older than him but he seemed to like her and she seemed to like his attention. There was also Kennedy. She was your typical girl-next-door. A little shy, but very sweet and pretty. He flirted with her also. Doubts dissolved however, because my towel was right next to his. He came back from a race to the floating dock to rest. He lay down next to me and smiled. I was shielding my eyes from the sun, I had forgotten my sunglasses.

" Need some help?"
"Huh?," I was startled from my thoughts.
"Here, I can block the sun from your eyes for you." He stated. It didn't seem like much, but I was in heaven. He was showing extra attention to me and even blocking the sun from my delicate eyes. How chivalrous right?

We chatted a little and then he decided I needed to get in the lake. It was cold, there was no way I was going in. But like any sixteen-year-old girl, she thrives on this type of flirting. When the boy has his arms around you and you are struggling and giggling trying to break free, shrieking at the very thought of the ice cold water.


I was in, but I had pulled him in with him. He smiled and splashed me in the water for a moment before we both realized it was ridiculously cold. I pulled myself out and wrapped up in a towel. I shivered on the dock and after Mongoose warmed himself up, he took every effort to rub my back in attempts to amend him throwing me in.

Everything was working out perfectly.

The next day I was assigned to help create some blindfolds. We stripped the heavyweight cotton fabric that covered some old mattresses and used some heavy duty scissors to cut. We finished our task and were talking when I decided to play around with the scissors. Who plays around with heavy duty scissors I have no idea? But I underestimated their power and eventually I managed to practically chop off the top of one of my fingers. I was bleeding. Pretty badly. I ran to the first-aid kitchen to see what I could do.

I stepped into the room to discover Mongoose sitting on the counter pouring something onto the cut in his foot he had received from the lake the day before. He winced a little and then smiled when he saw me. My heart skipped a beat as I casually walked to the first-aid cupboard next to him. A brown paper towel was wrapped around my finger as I clumsily tried to find something to fix my finger.

"Here, let me help. I'm trained in first aid." He goofily remarked. We all were. We had to be to work up at camp. But of course I let him take over. Partly because I really had no idea how to bandage my finger and partly because I really wanted him to bandage it for me.
"Sit up on the counter, I need to examine this." I hopped up on the counter and he unwrapped my finger.
"WOW! This is a real cut! How did you manage this?"
I explained my stupidity in playing with the heavy duty scissors. Turns out I had cut about a half an inch into the top of my left ring finger. It flapped open like jewlery box to expose the pinks and reds of my hand. Mongoose grabbed the bottle he had been using before.
"What is that?" I questioned.
"Well, this is hydrogen peroxide. We need to clean out your finger first to get rid of any bacteria that might cause infection. It kinda stings but it makes sure your wound it clean."
"No way. I saw your face when you were pouring it on your cut, I do not want that stuff."
"Come on, I'll do it and you can just scream away," He flashed that smile and I melted.
He held my hand over the sink and poured away.
"Ow. OW. OWWWWW!" I jumped off the counter and started contorting in a strange dance to attempt to relieve the painful sensation of tiny bubbles attacking your finger. He laughed and told me I could rinse it out.
I sighed in relief and he told me to sit back on the counter so he could dress the wound.
I hopped up and waited as he sorted through the cabinet. He seemed to know his stuff. He wasn't just some blonde jock, he was kinda smart. And nice. And cute. thoughts stopped as he took my finger in his hand and started wrapped a piece of gauze around it.

He looked up into my eyes.
His eyes were blue, and so crisp.
I gulped. He continued to bandage my finger slowly.
Everything seemed so slow.
It was like time was frozen and in we were the only two people who existed in the entire world.
My whole body started to feel really funny. It started to buzz. It was an electricty that I will never forget. I was possessed by some other energy besides my own. My mind was blank except for the sound of my pounding heart. This moment went on forever.
He seemed to notice it too. Our eyes had not separated and his expression no longer a smile but a look of surprise.
He had felt it too, that buzzing. That electricity.
I thought he might kiss me, but he didn't. The moment was too intense for that, although a kiss would have been perfectly fine with me.

It was like our souls connected and saw each other. Whatever it was, the moment had to end eventually. He strangely muttered, "There ya go," and I equally as strangely replied with a quick, "Thanks." He cleaned up the kitchen and I wandered outside in daze.

I felt like I had just gotten in a car accident. You know the feeling? After it happens and your body is totally charged with adrenaline and you realize the rest of the world was still moving while you got jerked by a seat belt. Your body shivers to regain control, your mind alternatly races and is completely serene. You move thinking, "Did that just happen?" and you can't believe it because it all just seems too surreal.

That was what it was like walking out of that kitchen. I think however the strangest moment was when I looked down at my finger and realized it was my left ring finger. My LEFT RING finger. The finger that someone someday will hold as they slip a diamond onto after they have asked the infamous question, "Will you marry me?"

 Click here for Part 4

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Love Story Part 2

After breakfast we all headed outdoors to play some get-to-know-you icebreakers. It was all good and fun but mostly I remember being distracted with the thought, this summer is going to rock! Everything was already on my side. I was at my favorite place, surrounded by energetic people, and the sun was shining.

Not everyone had shown up yet and I was eager to see who the rest of the staff would be. It is interesting to meet a people when you know you will be stuck with them in the mountains for practically 9 weeks straight. It changes perceptions a bit. Well a new male head counselor arrived right after lunch and I am pretty sure most of the girls had the same reaction I did.


We all got a little bit giggly which girls are wont to do up in the mountains when they know they will be stuck with a cute boy for 9 weeks. He was the brother of a returning counselor, Lyndall (normally Amy), who has been described as mother theresa. She is an extremely kind, likable person. She often plays mother as well to all of the younger staff. Well, we were all pretty excited to meet her brother. I decided right then and there that this was my guy. He was the guy that I had always imagined dating. So I set out on my most flirtatious behavior.

Lyndall's brother Joe, gained the name Smalls and he headed out with his fellow male head counselors Tejas (typical high school boy) and Mongoose (beach blonde intriguing jock) to play some basketball.Us girls instictively followed to watch and cheer and...flirt. While walking to the basketball court Twiggy explained to me that she knew Tejas and Mongoose. She gave me low down.

They had just graduated high school and were off to college at Central Washington University. Tejas was a ladies man and Mongoose, well Mongoose was an egotistical jerk. He thought he was so smart, so funny, and so athletic. She told me that he was good at track but was awful at basketball. She was mainly coming to watch him be awful at playing basketball. She seemed to get a lot of joy out of the fact that he would be so bad. Well it was nice to get some inside scoop on the boy with yellow hair but really I was there for Smalls.

Now I am not your typical flirt. It's not because I have a better method or anything, I just don't really know how to do it without being obnoxious. To me, flirting is yelling and screaming and drawing as much attention to myself as possible. So my plan for flirting with Smalls? To focus my attention on another boy in attempts to get him to notice how witty and fun I am. This entailed me pointing out that everything single thing Mongoose did during his basketball game was track related. It mostly sounded like this, "Wow! That was a track shot," "Did you see that track hop?" "Look a track dribble." Obnoxious right?

Did it grab their attention? Yes.

So for their entire game I continued to focus on Mongoose. At first he thought it was cute and funny and then he got kinda annoyed. I didn't really care though because Smalls was laughing and I had accomplished in my mind what I set out to do. I was cute and funny and a little bit daring.

Even though I was seemingly directing my flirtation at Smalls. I caught Mongoose's attention. After the game he came up to me and told me I was a little bit crazy. I looked at him and told him, "You are crazier." He quipped back, "Well, you are crazy on a stick!" and my heart skipped a beat. His smile. That smile. It moved something inside of me that I didn't even recognize at the time. But after that night my crush shifted from dream guy to smiles.


The next day was filled with paperwork, some more games, and summer plans. Counselors were packed in a staff room with three couches, four comfy chairs, and a carpet. Seat position meant everything. Of course I wanted to sit next to Mongoose at this point but it wasn't always easy. Turns out he had grabbed the attention of other girls. But I wasn't too anxious because there were plenty of new people to get to know.

Dinner that night turned into a game of sorts. Our boss challenged us to get out of our comfort zones and sit with someone new. He told us that the person we sat across from we needed to find out at least three things: favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, and something that no one else in the room knows about them. He included that question because many people had grown up with each other or knew each other pretty well. He told us to get up and find someone to sit by. I decided not to move, I hate situations like that where you are hoping for a particular person and you end up with the person no one else wants to be paired up with. So I opted out and let others choose for me.

A flash a blonde crossed my eyes. Mongoose was sitting across from me.

I smiled. He told me he had wanted to get to know me better after my performance the night before. We started chatting and I learned that his father had pushed him off a dock into open water when he was 6 years old to learn how to swim. Mongoose didn't necessarily enjoy swimming because of this but had been a lifeguard the previous two summers. I told him my favorite movie was The Little Mermaid, because I couldn't think of anything else. Then came him asking about what no one else knew about me. I scanned my thoughts and blurted out,

"I wasn't kissed until I was sixteen. Which was this last winter when I had my first boyfriend."

I immediately regretted what I had said. I mean it was a serious case of word vomit and I have no idea why I chose that bit of information. I guess I thought that he would be impressed with my lack of dating experience? Maybe I was going for the innocent flower approach? Well whatever reason his expression was priceless.

He smiled, realizing that I was extremely unaccustomed to the art of flirtation, and seemed to think it was adorable. I figured he was surprised, I mean most people I knew had received their first kiss at age twelve or thirteen. I was a late bloomer and was apparently proud of it. He liked it though. I could tell. Even so, I turned bright red and mumbled something to the effect of,
"Gosh, that was a silly thing to say. Let's try for something not SO personal. Um.....I used to own a cow. Well, a bull technically. His name was Spritlee Boo. He was all white. Get it? Sprite and a ghost...."

Oh boy, it seems that at this point I was already a goner. Clueless to the intensity of my crush. I blame it on his smile. It makes a girl do silly things.

 Click here for Part 3

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Love Story Part 1

So last week I read the Pioneer Woman's book about how she and her husband met and fell in love. It got me thinking about the story with my own husband. How we met and managed to make everything work. I mean we have only been married for a little under two years now but our story has twists and turns and most people know the glazed over version (which coming from me seem unnecessarily long...) but there are smaller details that I want to freeze in time. So I am going to write our story. One post at a time.
The familiar road was building up the excitment and nervousness I always felt. I was heading up to Camp Dudley, my favorite place in the whole universe. After attending it since I was ten, I was finally able to work there myself. I was ecstatic. I had just gotten my drivers license a week earlier and was putting along in my Great-grandmother's 1986 baby blue Honda Civic. It didn't have auto steering. Have you ever driven a car without auto-steering? It's hard. But there I was, heading towards what I already felt was going to be the best summer of my life.

I turned up the stereo singing along to Jason Mraz. My mind couldn't stop racing. I thought about Tyler, the boy I was leaving behind for the summer. We were still dating and he had even bought a long distance phone card to call me because cell phones don't get reception up there and for some reason I thought it was long distance. We had been dating since winter. He was a nice boy, red hair and tall. He drove a silver mustang and tried his best to figure me out. I think I tried to make myself a little too complicated for him. I didn't really know how relationships were supposed to work. He was technically my first boyfriend (in the official you tell people you are dating sense of the word) and I had started dating him because I was sixteen and had only held hands with another guy.

I was a late bloomer when it came to these things. Not that I wasn't interested or anything. Heck, when I was a freshman in I tried to ask my crush out to tolo before this other girl in class. He rejected me. I did look like I was eight years old. Seriously, students and teachers would stop me the first week and ask me if I was at the wrong school, "Excuse me, I think you mean to be at the middle school across the street..." So no guys were really interested in someone who looked like a little girl. Finally I hit puberty and hoped things were looking up. Nope. At that point all the guys had realized I am not a timid little girl. In fact I am what most people would find obnoxious. I am loud. Outspoken. I don't take crap from guys. Turns out most high school boys don't like a girl who is confident.

So I started hanging out with some people from outside my high school. He was a friend of some friends and after I had told him not drive so fast or throw his empty cup out the window of his moving car, I had taken his notice. He was cute, and I liked that he liked me. He was patient with me, slowly working on giving me my first kiss. He was nice. He starting pushing things a little too far though and I was thankful to be going up to the mountains so I didn't have to feel that pressure for awhile.

I was following my mother in her big red suburban. She didn't want me driving up the mountain by myself. I was a little annoyed...But followed her glacial pace through the twists, turns, and tunnel of Highway 12. My heart started beating faster and my hands started getting clammy as we turned down the road to my future. This always happened. You never knew what would happen at camp. It's slogan, "the experience of a lifetime!" held that promise that whatever happened was going to be good. Soooo sooo good.

I started thinking about boys. I was sixteen after all. I wondered if any would be cute. I wondered if I could get a new boyfriend. I was kinda over Tyler for awhile. I didn't know how to break it off though. Running away to the woods seemed like an easy solution for the time being.

I pulled into the gravel parking lot. I left my things in the car and said goodbye to my mother and baby sister. I started walking to Harvey Hunt Hall, the mess hall for the first breakfast of the summer. The cook hadn't arrived so it was just cereal, muffins, and fruit. I took in the smell of dirt and pine and fresh air as I walked towards the building. I nervously opened the door and remembered the familiar sounds. Harvey Hunt always echoed. Sounds seemed to expand in this space. I glanced around, hoping to see a familiar face from the summer before. Twilight, a counselor from the previous year happily smiled and waved me over. I ran to her and we hugged,
" I am so excited you are working here this summer!" She exclaimed.
"I know I can't wait, you should have seen my when I got the call that I was hired," I then told her about running through my house in a strange sort of gallop-skip shrieking. I of course gave her a visual of the exact movement and sound.
She and the other coworkers laughed and I then went to go grab a muffin.

I should explain her name. Her name isn't really Twilight (this was also long before the vampire craze), it is a camp name. All counselors are given or choose a name for their time working at camp. Once you decide on a name, you can't change it and that is what everyone calls you the entire summer. It's fun. My name is Gidget. Which I got from a 1960s Sandra Dee movie about a puny girl with spunk.

As I went to grab my muffin two boys walked past. One had short dark hair and was wearing the uniform of highschool boys at the time. Hollister this, American Eagle that, a little of Abercrombie thrown in there with some nike shoes. Boring. I thought. The second guy...well he definitely stood out. His hair matched the color of his yellow Hawaiian board shorts. It was clearly bleached. It was very bright. But so was his smile, which he flashed as he walked by. What shoes are those? I thought as I examined his wrestling sneakers, which I had never seen before. He definitely was not my type. I listened in on his conversation at the other table. He seemed a little cocky. He laughed at his own jokes and I decided right then and there that he was probably a jock in high school. The jocks in my high school were jerks, they also weren't very school savvy which is one thing I looked down on.

Welp, no guys so far, I thought, But not everyone is here there is still hope right? I desperately wanted to fall in love at camp. It was a weird dream of mine. As I caught up with friends and counselors from the previous summer I couldn't help but continue to glance towards this boy with the yellow hair...there was something about him....

Click here for Part 2

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What kind of mother are you?

I keep thinking about what kind of mother I will be. I have images in my head of good and bad moments. Of joys and regrets.

As I approach the reality of a child I have become more and more aware of my weaknesses as a caregiver. I lack motivation to clean, I sleep in, I am impatient, I get grumpy and snap, I lack understanding, I often think children understand more than they do, the list goes on and on.

I know that these feelings are completely normal. But still I keep imagining my child going off to college and meeting new roomates and their new friends asking, "what is your family like?"

I want good things to be said. I want my child to get a great big smile and think about all the wonderful memories he/she had with their mother. Eating popsicles on warm summer days, coming home from school to find a new book on the bed, hiking through shaded forests and through cold streams to a natural waterslide found only because we dared go further, laughing over lasagna, lessons about the world during carpool.

These are the memories of my mother. I feel blessed that I have so many positive references to look back on. I have a wealth of experiences that I can draw from and give to my own children.

But I want to teach my kids some other things that I now know. I want to teach them about faith. I want to teach them about the beauty of the atonement. I want to teach them about love, compassion, and understanding (even though I sorely lack). I want to teach them that through diligence and hard work they can achieve greatness. I want them to have memories of lullabyes and bedtime stories. I want them to remember reading the scriptures with their mother and being asked, "what do you think about that?"

I want to teach them to think. I want to teach them to learn. I want to teach them to follow and to lead.

My heart, mind, and spirit swell with the enormous challenge ahead of me. Currently my life is mostly my own. There is a song on the Christian radio station that I have loved recently. It is about getting married and I think the lyrics fit really nicely into how I ultimately feel about family.

But to lose your life for another I've heard
Is a good place to begin
'cause the only way to find your life
is to lay your own life down
and I believe it's an easy price
for the life that we have found

Poignant right? Each time I hear it I think, that is sooooo true. The Savior taught us that. He set an example by sacrificing His own life for our good. Sometimes I hear, "but we aren't required to do what He did," not in the huge magnificent way, no. But we are asked to sacrifice our lives for OUR individual families (He did it for the entire family of the world) and even for those who become like family.

I want so badly not to be a selfish mother. I think there is nothing more destructive. Of course we all have selfish desires, but ultimately I pray that my strengths will outweigh that weakness.

My thoughts could go on and on and on and pretty much I would say the same thing over and over again. My writing is like that.

So when I think about the title question I hope to answer, "I am a colorful mother. I show my children the reds, blues, yellows, pinks, whites, and blacks of life. I show them I am not perfect, that I have dark bad days. But mostly I try to fill them with sunshine. I want them to leave my home bursting with light and sharing with everyone around them. I am an explainer. I am a teacher. I am a real mother, with optimistic visions."