Boys of PHB

Boys of PHB
Barefoot boys

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Dad

I've been thinking of my dad a lot lately. 

He was a good Dad.  He played with us, read stories, talked with us.  He was very loud and he made sure we heard him. I got him laughing really hard one time because I recalled times when he would yell and his face would turn read and the veins would pop out on his forehead.  He said, "Well, I got your attention and got through to you." He laughed when I told him we were just waiting for his head to explode.  Ah, the words you can't tell your parents when you are a child.  I learned how to explain how I felt and told my dad.  I'm surprised he didn't die laughing at that point.  He loved to laugh and he loved to enjoy people.  I think that's where I get that from.

My Dad was very smart.  He had gone to years of college and he liked to share what he knew.  He never stopped learning.  When he was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in the early 90's he started studying everything he could on the subject.  He found herbs he could take to make his life better so he could function and he could get around.  He loved to share with the family everything he learned along the way. As the Internet came about he started studying on there.  He looked things up and was always on there trying to find out new things.  I hope I can do that throughout life.  I want to emulate his love of learning and enjoy always finding something new to take with me.  He was an inspiration.

He taught me to fix a car and love to make things work.  Being very mechanically minded he was able to see a problem and see the end result.  He had kept his Toyota Tercell going to 400,00 miles, until it was smashed by a drunk driver.  That hatch back was half the size it normally was after it had been hit.  Though it destroyed the car, my parents were luckily alive.  They were in pain for a long time, but they lived, shocking the police.  He taught me to have faith and know that the Lord is always with me.  That accident was only one of many that he experienced in life and shared with us.

My dad had a great love of the Lord and His teachings.  He taught me that if I want something bad enough, hard work, dedication and faith in my Lord and Savior would bring about the desired results.  He was founded in a firm place and a desire to share that was strong with him.  I never saw him waver.  I never saw him lose hope.  I never saw him falter in his firm belief that the Lord is God.  That our Savior died for us and that as our older Brother He is the advocate with the Father to bring us home.  I had, my whole life, a strong desire to serve a mission.  He backed me on that.  He always backed me on my desire for serving even when some told me I should be planning my life and if I get to the proper age then I can just go if I'm not married.  My dad said I should plan what I felt was right and if I got married before that was OK too.  He gave me numerous blessings along the way to help me with that and always encouraged me to stay on my intended path.  When I had friends who were leaving sooner than me because they were guys I wanted to leave then too.  He even helped me find somewhere I could write to see if they'd make an exception and let me go early.  I had a denial letter of course, but he backed me in that too.  Ironically the Church has since changed the age of missionaries and the girls can now leave at 19.  He would have laughed and cried with me as I heard that announcement.  We would have talked about it and he would have told me it is as it should have been.  He was firm in following the Prophet.  I can't write about him or think about him without saying how stalwart he was in his belief.

My love for working on cars and telling things as they are and not cinch words comes from my Dad.  I watched as he insulted people and didn't mean to, only didn't try and say something that wasn't true.  He would love to have discussions and though he was passionate he didn't get upset if someone believed differently.  He would just state why he was right, why he believed the way he did, often using data to back up his point and explain why the other person was wrong.  However, he also listened and would take what they said into consideration.

He wasn't perfect.  One of his favorite sayings was, "if I don't do it, it doesn't get done."  Another saying was, "I talk to myself because I'm the only person I can have an intelligent conversation with."  We did plenty and my mom worked hard.  He got frustrated just like anyone and he hated dealing with idiots (which is also where I probably get that).  He wasn't perfect, but his definition of perfect meant you were on the right road.  He used to say, "Perfection is a road, not a destiny."  He told us that if we were trying every day to reach a higher plain and see the bigger picture then we were striving for being perfect. 

I learned a lot from him.  Though I rebelled as a teen and struggled with my own spirituality, he never gave up on me.  He knew my heart and mind and left it in my hands and the Lord's.  He knew I knew what I was supposed to be doing.  He knew he'd taught me everything he could.  At some point we just need to let others fall on their butt and then reach out a hand and help them back up when they have fallen.  He was like that.  He would watch me fall, but was always there to talk about something else I could do to better the situation. 

Now he is on the other side.  He died 10 years ago this August 15th.  He was a strength to me and in a lot of ways my hero as a child.  I didn't feel connected to my mom like I felt to him.  I didn't feel my mom understood me or knew where my head was like my dad did.  Maybe it's because I have always had a touch of tom-boy in me and what my dad was doing made sense.  Maybe it was because I was always clumsy and my mom was more graceful and always proper while I was growing up.  I don't know why, that's just how it was.  While my mom wanted to teach me to cook (which would be handy about now) I went outside and worked on the car with Dad.  I would rather have hung out with him than in the kitchen any day.  Canning seemed such a bore when I could get greasy on the engine.

Thanks, Dad.  I learned a lot and have built on what you have taught.  I hope when we meet again you are happy with what I have become.  I hope that as I raise my kids they will sense you in the things I teach and in the strength I have gained through your support.  I miss you and think of you often.  It's hard to believe it's been 10 years because I feel you near so often.  I hear your voice sometimes, with that strong baritone and think you are probably up there singing with the angels.  Then probably stopping the choir to tell them all how they can improve the song. The thoughts of what you are doing now makes me smile.  It's going to be nice to get a hug and talk again.  Thanks, Dad.

I have never written about him since he died.  I don't know why as I like to write and it makes me feel better.  I just never have.  10 years?! How is that possible so much time has passed without his lectures and laughter?  I guess it only means all the sooner I can see him again.  I'm very thankful that the miracle of his coming back to life when he was 6 years old happened and that I was able to have him for a father.  He was a good father. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Being in the NOW

I love Shel Silverstein.  He was very smart. His poetry has something that fits a lot of situations.  This is his poem that used to be my way of being.  Not quite a motto, buy maybe my way of seeing myself:

Draw a crazy picture,
Write a nutty poem,
Sing a Mumble-gumble song,
Whistle through your comb.
Do a loony-goony dance
'Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world,
That ain't been there before."

I used to have so many of these poems memorized that my baby sister could turn to just about any page and I could be doing something else and still spout off these poems. I'd glance at the title and say the whole poem. Being little she was very impressed at the time.  I would be able to crochet, or do whatever and still be "reading" her Shel Silverstein poems. 

Times have changed a bit.  My siblings are far from being impressed with the way my mind works.  Mostly, at this point they get more annoyed with how my mind works and the crazy stuff that is up there than anything else. Now it's my kids that are amazed and turn pages.  My husband is very impressed as well that I have all this stuff in my head.  Useless nonsense I'll never need.  I'm glad they are impressed.  I'm impressed that Aaron has so many scriptures memorized.  I think that's a lot more impressive than a bunch of poems.

This year I've been working on slowing down and being in the now.  My brother, Larry used to say, when we were kids, that you can never be in the "now" because by the time you've even said the word it's no longer now, it's in the past.  I still laugh about that.  In spite of that thought I've been looking at staying in the moment.

I've had time pass so fast the past few years that they pass like a couple of weeks rather than 52.  I can't get anything done, don't feel like I have time to teach my children anything and feel like I'm missing their  lives as they grow older before my eyes.  My house is  never getting fixed up and plans fall by the wayside more often than I'd like.  Maybe it's because I now have a job and it takes up those few hours in a day when I used to get that done.  I still can't switch to "working mom" mode (which sounds redundant, but you know what I mean).  I'm a stay at home mom with a job on the side in my own mind.  Weird, I know, but it's how my mind works.  I guess my career is my family and raising boys.  My hobby is watching them grow and my stress is feeling I don't have enough time to do all of that before they are older and bigger. 

So I've slowed down.  I'm "smelling the roses" as it were.  I'm taking moments to listen to my children and pause that to-do list that is usually ever present in a mom's mind.  I am looking them in the eye rather than focusing on all the things I'm in the middle of.  I guess thinking that "a watched pot never boils" will make time slow down with the kids as well.  It obviously hasn't slowed time down.  Time moves just as fast.  My days are like moments and my weeks like minutes. 

The thing that HAS changed is that I have more little moments in my heart and I don't feel so rattled.  I'm way less stressed.  I'm just enjoying my career of raising growing boys. I'm taking time to enjoy the blue eyes looking at me like their whole world is dependant on my listening to how their video game went. I'm gaining a longer perspective and staying out of emergency mode.  Being constantly in emergency mode is no way to live and does not help you enjoy life at all.  I am enjoying my children so much more by just laughing again.  I usually do laugh a lot, but now I find myself laughing more.  I am enjoying the madness of raising 5 boys.

Usually I stress about how tomorrow is going to go.  I don't do that as much any more.  My stomach isn't in a constant knot and I don't constantly think everything for the next 5 years has to be done right now.  There is a time and place for everything and if I miss something I should have taught them I can rest assured that life will teach them at some point and I've done all I can do with the knowledge I have at this time in my life.  I can't do everything, but I can do something. I can make sure they go into their adult lives confident and independent.  If nothing else I'll have done that. 

With that being said, my new poem I think of more now is not the same as it was since I was a kid.  Still, it is Shel Silverstein.  He has so many that fit how I think.

Sandra's seen a leprechaun,
Eddie touched a troll,
Laurie danced with witches once,
Charlie found some goblins' gold.
Donald heard a mermaid sing,
Susy spied an elf,
But all the magic I have known
I've had to make myself."

I know I'll miss stuff along the way, but I also know that I can make my life and those around me magical simply by taking the time to be.  I don't have to be something amazing, just me.  I can just enjoy life, and what is more magical than the moments in life that are simply happy moments.  Those moments that fill our hearts.  Those moments when a child looks into your eyes and shares the joy in their hearts, with a look that no words can describe.  The moments filled with laughter of loved ones and the joy of sharing in the laugh together.  Those moments can't happen with the stress of getting the next thing done or worry that I won't get everything done on my to-do list.  It's just as long, and isn't getting shorter, but I'm going to enjoy the journey of getting it done.  It'll get done, or it won't, but I'll have a smile on my face as I go.