Sunday, June 15, 2014

Don't Let Go of Graham

I looked down at my leg the other day, and smiled at what I saw. See, I have an awesome scar on the outside of my right knee that has a great story and an even better lesson behind it.

(Graham & I in July of 2010)

It all started about four years ago, on Pioneer Day of 2010. Graham and I spent the whole day together, a rarity for a young couple dating while working full time. He was house sitting for friends in Provo, and we decided it would be fun to float the Provo River, something I'd never done before.

So, we suited up, drove up the canyon, and purchased tickets for transportation and tube rental. It was blistering hot, and the bus we rode to the river's entrance was sweltering, so I was really looking forward to getting in the water.

Immediately upon getting in the water, however, I realized how STRONG the current was. Even though it was only up to my knees, I could hardly keep myself standing long enough to climb oh-so-gracefully into my tube. Then, just as I settled in, I lost my balance, lost my flip-flop, and toppled into the water. Great start. Thankfully, Graham was close by and helped me retrieve my shoe and, once again, to get settled into my tube.

I figured that if I could just keep myself centered in the tube, I'd be fine. Wrong again. It turns out that when your appendages barely reach the water, it's kind of hard to steer yourself. Graham, on the other hand, with his super-long legs and arms, had a much easier time navigating. Seeing how much I was struggling, he maneuvered himself to where I was, then grabbed my hand and steered us both down the river.

We floated, and laughed, and had a great time...until we came to a spot where the river split around a little island of brambles. As we came closer, I felt like I was getting pulled away from Graham by the current. He still had a solid hold on me, but the bushes and driftwood around the island were looming closer. I panicked. Afraid that if I kept dragging on Graham, I would drag him into the bushes with me, I let go of his hand, pushed off, and tried to fend for myself.

Bad plan.

As I scrambled to steer around the branches, I realized I was at the mercy of the river, and I slammed into a particularly pointy branch that was just at the right angle to create a nice gash in my leg. Somehow, I managed to reconnect with Graham, and we finished our float without further incident.

I didn't think a lot about the occurrence until I was telling my mom about our float trip later. She listened, and then, with a smile in her voice said, "See, there's your lesson: don't let go of Graham."

I laughed at her comment then (my parents were openly rooting for Graham and I from the beginning of our relationship), but I've thought about it many times since.

That day, I learned that even though it's scary to trust someone, some people really deserve that trust. I learned that it's hard to give up some of your own independence, but the strength you gain from teaming up with the right companion is worth the sacrifice. I learned that when you stubbornly pull away, thinking you're better off alone, you're wrong.

That day, I learned that Graham was worthy of any trust, sacrifice, and love I could offer him. He would always be there for me. And he always has been. As we have continued along our adventure together the last several years, he has been my constant support and strength. He holds me steady when I'm stressed, exhausted, and anxious. He works so hard to build a strong career to support our family, and he fights just as hard to make sure that he is at home as much as possible to be an example to Will, give me a rest, and help around the house. He gets so little time for himself, and yet, even on Father's Day, he just did a bunch of dishes while I put Will down for a nap so I would have time to rest, too. That is the man I call best friend, father of my children, and eternal companion. That is the man I will forever proudly stand by and hold onto.

And now, every time I look at that little scar on my leg, I remember the lesson I learned four years ago. I remember that our life, our marriage, our family is worth more than anything else. I remember to always hold on to Graham.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

What I Learned Today

A few weeks ago in church we had a great lesson about seeking for truth. As a part of that, we talked about all the different ways we gain knowledge and that it's important to be aware of the knowledge we gain in all aspects of our lives. Now, my career was built on a belief in the importance of taking responsibility for our own learning. But I'm not in the classroom every day anymore, so I have to look for other ways that I am learning.

Because I AM learning. Life as a mother and home owner has opened my eyes to all sorts of knowledge. So, I've decided to start recording some of the lessons I'm learning on a daily basis. Some big. Some small. But all important.

Here's some of what I learned in May:

May 3: Fancy dinners are really nice when someone else is paying. And, despite the name "torta morbida" is a really good way to finish the meal. It turns out it's just the way you say chocolate-cake-that-is-so-good-you-might-die-so-beware in Italian.

May 5: When renovating your lawn, remember that, like so many things, it must get worse before it gets better. Don't worry, the war zone will look good in the end.

May 6: Green grass is a beautiful sight to see when looking out your windows.

May 7: It takes a spreadsheet with NINE columns for me to plan a five day trip away from my child where three different people will be watching him.

May 8: All-inclusive resorts are as good as they sound, or at least ours was.

May 9: Senor Frog's is all it's said to be...and more. Which is to say, it is SO not my scene. Bless Graham's boss for asking us if we wanted to ditch out early with them and catch a cab back to the resort.

May 10: Babymoons are just as good before the second child as they are before the, better!

May 11: I really do like long walks on the beach at night.

May 12: Traveling for 12 hours while 7 months pregnant gets kind of uncomfortable toward the end. Oh, and lying down does NOT help heartburn.

May 13:
As wonderful as it is to have a break from kids, my life as a mother IS my life...and I love it.

May 17:
It doesn't take much to make a two-year-old happy for his birthday. Balloons, a trip to the farm, fun with family, some new toys, and cake. He was in HEAVEN.

May 18:
Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce look quite similar, but they don't taste alike. One should always double check the label before pouring on rice...or pot stickers.

May 19:
Using a lighter to soften the end of drip line tubing makes it significantly easier (actually possible) to attach it to the connector piece. It will save your fingers a lot of pain. It will NOT, however, save your pregnant back from the strain of leaning over to install the aforementioned drip line.

May 21:
I'm not in college anymore. My body can't handle staying up past 11:00 for several nights in a row. While it's good to be productive and accomplish things sewing, reading, learning Photoshop, and gardening, it is NOT a good idea to do those things at the cost of wearing down your body. Oops. Enter a summertime cold.

May 23:
Dating your spouse is important. Even if it's just a simple at home date. Scheduling time to really connect and get out of the rut of daily life reminds me how much I really like this guy I married.

May 28:
Stripping the paint off of furniture is NOT for the faint of heart. It's messy, time consuming, and doesn't make you feel like as much of a DIY rockstar as you thought it would. Mostly, it just makes you feel discouraged, and tired, and like you may have gotten in over your head.

May 31:
It is really encouraging to see a seed you planted with your own hands pushing through the soil, straining for the sunlight. Grow little sprouts, grow!