My Family

My Family

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Boys - The Similarities and the Differences

Last Thursday, I was reminded once again of the difference between my boys. I've always been fascinated with the fact that Grant and Alex are SO much alike: both artists, musicians, good students, athletes, etc. I've also been fascinated that Michael and Matthew are SO much alike: Both quiet, VERY smart, love science and math, etc. Grant and Alex are 6 years apart, and Michael and Matthew are 7 years apart. It's weird. They even look alike - kind of now, but especially when they were young...






So, I'm not surprised that on Thursday, at Matthew's band concert, this likeness once again was manifested. Matthew told us he had a band concert, and asked if we would come and record the songs he played. He is in both the Concert Band, and the 2nd Jazz Band.

Side note: I NEVER hear him practice at home, so I really would have no idea if he can play or not. In fact, I just recently found out how good he is, when we started practicing for the Solo Night a few months ago. We had only a few days to pick a song and learn it. I was very stressed out, and even more freaked out. Then, Matthew picked up his saxophone, and this beautiful music just came right out. To say I was stunned - floored - amazed - all understatements!

Back to the band concert on Thursday - we all decided to go and hear Matthew's band play. The Jazz Band was first. They played a great jazz number first. And then, Mr. Bateman got up to announce the next number, and who the soloists would be. And guess who's name came out of his mouth?! Yep. Matthew soloed. I about had a heart attack. He can ad-lib??!!! WHAT????!!! I sat there with my heart in my mouth, and then he got right up, went to the microphone, belted out this great solo, and sat back down. Just like that. No warning ("Mom, I'm going to solo tonight - can you come and hear it?"). Nothing. And this is where the likeness with Michael, and the difference between him and Grant and Alex come in...

Grant and Alex have always told us everything! They seem to need to have us know everything that is going on in their lives. And then there's Michael and Matthew. They never tell us things. It's just not necessary for them to publish any accomplishments at all. We tend to hear about their adventures after the fact. When Matthew's name was said over the microphone, you could have knocked me over with a feather! We all just looked at each other, and our mouths dropped open. "What?" What if I wouldn't have gone?! Geez.

Funny, funny kids. I love them TO DEATH! Both my outspoken, me-me-me kiddos, and my quiet kiddos. LOVE THEM!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Grant - Spreading His Wings

It's been a little over a week since Grant took a job in another part of the country. It always worries me a bit when one of my kids tries a new thing. Of course, Grant has lived in Japan for 2 years, so it's not like he's new at this. But, the past week has been kind of tough on him...

He was offered a job with a company that sells and installs security systems. The job is just for the summer, and he will be able to make quite a bit of money - between $10,000 and $30,000 - depending on how many installs he can do in 3 months. It took him awhile to decide whether or not to take the job. He really didn't want to move away by himself for the summer. When I suggested that he tell a few friends about the opportunity, and they were hired along with him, it became an adventure! At first, they were hired to go to Spokane, WA. Then, due to some circumstances with timing, they were told they would be going to Calgary, Canada. This required a student visa, which takes a little time. While waiting, they finished up finals, and got ready to go. A few days before they were scheduled to leave, a call came in from a supervisor - the visas weren't coming through. So, they needed to go to Texas for awhile. This is where it started getting annoying. They had to split up - Mike, by himself, and Grant and Jeff together. The day they left, Mike was told there wasn't room for him, and was put on hold. Grant and Jeff left, and drove 23 hours to Tyler Texas. Meanwhile, Mike got a call that sent him to California. He arrived there before the others arrived in Texas. Grant and Jeff were in Texas for 2 whole days, before another call came from a supervisor, saying the company had over-hired for that area, but there was room for them (and in fact, they were desperately needed) in Charlotte, NC! There was a catch though - this was late on Sunday, and they would have to get to Charlotte by Monday night, so that they could get licensed on Tuesday - the last day the license guy would be there. So, they got up at 4:00 am on Monday, and drove for 15 hours. The good news is that they made it to Charlotte. And Grant loves it there. He doesn't remember this, but he lived in No. Carolina for 3 years when he was young. He calls once every few days, to let us know how things are going. He is trying to get trained right now, so he hasn't done any solo installs. Today, he called, very frustrated (something that is becoming very common) - he took his car to get an oil change, and they charged him $60! Apparently, they replaced some brake lights without asking - he was on the phone, and they didn't want to bother him. So, instead of $4.00 for some bulbs (which he easily could he changed himself), he ended up paying $20, in addition to the oil change. Plus, today is payday, and the company owes him $500 for gas and training - they haven't paid him yet.

When Grant said he was going to have an adventure, none of us thought it would be quite like this. I know that once he does some installs by himself, and feels more confident, he'll do well. I know that once he gets paid, he'll feel a little bit better. Things will work out, and this summer really will be a great adventure. And, pretty soon, he'll be so busy, he'll stop calling so often, which makes me sad. I'm glad he has the opportunity to spread his wings a little bit, but, it's hard to hear about the growing pains, and not be able to do anything about it. I read posts on other blogs all the time, about how tough it is to raise little kids. It is. Been there, done that. Just wait until your little kids get bigger. The problems and challenges seem to grow as they do. And, as a mother, you never stop worrying, or wanting to put things right. But, part of growing up is learning to do things on your own.

I read a quote that said: "Until you spread your wings, you have no idea how high you can fly." This is one of the great lessons of growing up - learning to take chances, leave the nest, and spread your wings. And one of the lessons of parenthood is that you have to allow that to happen. Good luck, Grant!

Friday, May 6, 2011

In the Arms of a Mother

Thought I'd share a post I did for the breast cancer blog earlier this week...

This weekend was a momentous one for our family. We were all together for what will probably be the last time - at least for about 4 1/2 years. My oldest son, Grant (23), came home from college to spend some time with us. We spent Saturday as a family - it was Michael's 21st birthday. We had a great time together. Family pictures were in order. Even though it snowed in the morning, we were able to go in the afternoon and spend time at the Utah State Hospital grounds - what is referred to as "Provo Castle" - for pictures. This is a really old, rock amphitheater - we got some great pictures (I hope - I have yet to see them). We laughed, and laughed, as we tried to be serious for the pictures. Grant took them - he has started a photography business - and I saw just how hard and time-consuming it is to set a picture up that you, yourself, have to be in. But, I'm grateful I could have him do that. The kids played around on the grounds - even going so far as to have races rolling down the hill. You'd think they were all under 5! We went to lunch - something that doesn't happen very often because of the cost. And, then, that night, Michael, Grant, Rick, and I went to see the movie, Atlas Shrugged - something we'd been waiting to do for awhile. We've all read the book, and couldn't wait to see the movie. Anyone who hadn't read the book (Alex and Matthew), had to stay home! ;-)

All in all, it was a wonderful day - a special kind of day that we don't often get to have. And won't, again, for a long time. You see, Grant is leaving the country for a summer job, and he won't be back until the end of August. Michael is leaving on August 3rd for an LDS mission - we won't see him again for 2 years. He'll leave before Grant comes home. And then, Alex (who is almost 17), will most likely leave for his mission before Michael returns home. He, also, will be gone for 2 years. By the time he returns home, we will probably have more members of the family. So, this really is probably the last time we will be a family - together - just the way we are right now. My heart is breaking just a little bit at the thought.

Late Saturday night, Rick gave Grant a priesthood blessing - a father's blessing (something we do in our church) for his protection and safety. And then Grant spent some time giving Michael advice about his mission. It was very tender. There was a lot of weeping.

If you would have driven past our house on Saturday night - just a little bit after 10:00 pm - you would have seen what looked like a football huddle out on the lawn, next to Grant's car. It was actually a huddle hug. We all grabbed each other, and hugged tight - arms wrapped around bodies. It felt, to me, like something was ending. Some precious, special time. I can't adequately describe it. Of course, I was the only one who felt like my body was cracking apart. With a house full of boys, there is usually some confusion at to why Mom is crying at any given point! But, I'm so grateful for that time - for the huddle hug. A mother needs to have her arms around her children sometimes. Ah... those beautiful, beautiful boys of mine!

As I've been reflecting on my feelings this weekend, I've tried to pinpoint why I had to have that time - just the six of us. Why was it so important to me? 2.5 years ago, when I was diagnosed with cancer, that's all I wanted - to gather my kids and husband around me, and not let them out of my sight. My son, Grant, was on a mission in Japan, and I could physically feel that hole in my life. I remember not being able to sleep at night, and roaming my house - looking in on my children and watching them sleep. If I could just touch each of them each day, that was enough to get me through whatever the day held. Why is that? Why is it that at every momentous time in our lives, having family near is so important? As important as food or water, or even air.

As you can probably tell, I'm having a hard time with this changing time in my life. I don't want my kids to grow up and leave. As a mother, just the thought rips my heart to shreds. But... life goes on, doesn't it? We grow, we survive, we thrive. We look forward - not backward - and continue to find joy in simple things. Things like putting our arms around our children, or feeling gratitude for a sweet neighbor who serves us, or even just waking up to another beautiful day here on this earth.

I hope all of you can find something that will give you joy - no matter what you have to face in the future.

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My Gorgeous Boys

My Gorgeous Boys