Monday, July 11, 2016

orientation



I arrived there at 9 am.  It was mandatory that I attend the entire orientation and I would not be allowed to register for classes till I had. The entire orientation.  The actual orientation didn't start till about 9:30.  So I sat there, my babysitting time ticking away, waiting.  Finally the well-meaning students clapped and chanted some enthusiastic 'it's morning time' cheer at us and started handing out 'welcome' bags with the schedule and a school news paper tucked into it.  

Even though it was an orientation specifically for transfer students, I was still obviously older than everyone there.  Some people were there with their mothers.  Some with both parents.  Most of them were in their early twenties.  While that was entirely appropriate, it did make me feel a little out of place.  There was a small 'fair' set up where they had a few tables with pamphlets and SWAG for the different clubs and student organizations on campus.  I got a free t-shirt that I am sure my BYU in-laws will hate.  There was a small table that talked about babysitting, day care and other resources for those looking to be hired or hire child care.  I appreciated the table, but it was obvious that it was for people with one or two young kids, not five.  Which again, was fine.  I was obviously not the target demographic for this.  There were also optional campus tours, and so to fill the obligatory time, I took the tour, too..
  
The tour was led by an enthusiastic young woman from the biology department.  She showed us the library where we can write on the windows with dry erase markers and where they had a 'parents room.'  I wasn't able to actually see into it, but apparently there are toys in there for the kids so parents can study.  I don't know how successful that is, but I am interested to try.  Just like I am interested to try some of the other very important information they shared once we returned to the ballroom.

In the ballroom we hunkered down and learned very important things like how we shouldn't drink on campus and only engage in consensual sex and what both of those mean.  It was funny to be there with all the younger group, who were still a little giddy about both those topics.  I am glad to find out that I have been having consensual sex all these years.  They went over all the scenarios in which it would or would not be completely consensual, just in case there was any confusion.  Also, no slut shaming.  I am not going to do that.  I think I am safe to say that I can work with those rules.  Oddly enough, they didn't really go into drugs.  Or maybe I had completely tuned out by then.  I think I was reading something someone had written on the window with a dry erase marker.  They began to tell us about the parties that were held on campus and the fun food trucks that came through for lunch.  We could also write on the glass with a dry erase marker.
I was only there because they had refused to let me register for classes until I had had the tour, promised to only have consensual sex, had eaten the horrible chicken salad they served up on a stale bun with warm water to drink and had heard them out about how to contest things through this department and that department.  It made sense.  I understand where to go for a student loan if I need one.  

It was a little frustrating how the babysitting bill was racking up while they gave cute directions on how it was important to participate in 'transfer Tuesday' which would be held at a time I could never attend and required hours I wouldn't have to give.  Really, I was questioning my decision entirely.  This cutesy rhyming world full of meet and greet opportunities was never going to work out for me.  This was for people with time to spare and looking for an 'experience.'

Finally we divided off according to major. that was when I had hope that this whole thing wasn't a mistake.  
The student who gave us a tour through the business building seemed to be directed, even though the long tour through the business building seemed designed to waste just a little more time.  Good news is, I now know that the modern sculpture that runs down the walls and between the floors is supposed to emulate a waterfall.  Oh, and did I mention that we can write on any glass with a dry erase marker?  

The winding tour ended at a computer lab where the different business department heads introduced themselves.  They promised us again that if we just held in there a little longer they would finally show us how to register and with 30 min to spare before I had to be back for the babysitter, they did.  I did not have enough time to see one of the promised academic counselors, which was fine because I had already done that a few months ago.  I was frustrated to find that they still had not uploaded my classes.  There was a problem because I had completed my previous degree so the system refused to recognize my credits.  I was assured that eventually they would be counted.  Meanwhile, time was up for me. They had gone over time.  They helped the other students walk through their own registration,and I had to run home.  My babysitter had to go, and I was going to have to figure the rest out myself that night after kids had gone to bed.  But I had done my time and technically I would be allowed to sign up now.

Welcome to the U of U

Friday, March 4, 2016

March 3, 2016
I have a few sweet stories I want to write out before I forget them.

Parker walked up to the breakfast table to see his cherished plants vs. zombies book had food on it and that some of the pages stuck together.  He was so upset.  Ethan and Esther sat there, watching Parker as he railed, frustrated, wanting to know who did it and over and over again Esther said I didn't.  I had no idea what had happened so I did my best to comfort Parker.  He had been reading that 50 page comic book multiple times a day.  He genuinely had cherished it.  Finally, seeing the deep frustration and anger on Parker's face, Esther said '... Parker, I did it.  I am sorry.'  She is only three.  I was really proud of her.  Parker immediately stopped railing and after a bit of silence he responded 'it's ok, Esther.'  And that was it.  I was so proud of them.  Both of them.  I later told Parker we could get another one but I assured him that intentionally ruining his books would not win him more.  It is Parker, I do have to hedge these things.  But that is besides the point.  Lyra has also been exceptionally forgiving of Esther, Ethan and Isaac.  I can't count the coloring books, coveted markers and other treasures of hers that the little kids have mauled.  She is not always completely patient and she clearly doesn't like it, but usually she will have a little cry and then move on.  I am really proud of how forgiving and patient they are of each other they are.

Also, today at the grocery store, Parker picked up trash in the parking lot.  Of course when we got into the Harmons Grocery store, he had to tell the first employee what he had done and of course she was impressed.  She must have been a manager because she then asked me if she could give all five of my kids a balloon.  It was so sweet of her.  Helium balloons are a coveted treasure here.  And while she was doing it, Parker passed them out to every one else before he took one.  Then when I tried to tie Esther's balloon to her wrist and it floated out of my grip, Parker gave her his balloon.  Reciting that people were more important than balloons.

Parker is always serving his siblings.  The other day Lyra had dropped her back pack so of course, Parker comes running back down from the end of the road to get it for her.  On his way, he tripped and must have hit really hard.  So seeing Parker fall, Lyra runs home for help.  I was in screwing together our bathroom so I didn't hear her yelling till she was opening the door saying 'Parker and he fell and he might be bleeding.'  So of course I drop the tools and go running for him, telling Lyra to watch the kids just for a second.  I found him on the sidewalk around the corner, still wrestling down sobs.  He must have hit hard and right on his fore head but seemed to have nothing too serious so I helped him walk home.  I am so glad that Lyra was so quick to come and get me, though.  I can tell she was really worried about him.

I am so grateful for my gracious kids.  Parker is really hard on himself, but I am so very proud of him.  Lyra works so hard, too.  Esther and Ethan and even Isaac are all following, too.

The other day I took the three little ones to the gym.  Isaac has been very mommy hungry lately and wasn't excited to be left behind at the kid care, so I asked Esther to help him.  She said 'sure' and walked over to Isaac, putting her arm around him and patting him on the back.  It was extremely tender and gentle.  And then later that day when I was at the park with them some girl was tired of waiting for Esther to go down the slide and gave her a shove to start her down.  Esther did not appreciate the help and when Ethan saw how upset she was, He looked up the slide at this girl, who was much bigger and older than he was, and told her off; 'hey, don't push my friend Esther!  She didn't like it!'  I think he even demanded she tell Esther sorry, which the older girl definitely did.

I love that they see each other as friends.  It is very common to hear Ethan and Isaac laughing as they pile up on each other on the small slide I have put in the living room.  Or Isaac giggling as he goads Esther into chasing him or as he pretends to tickle her.  The other day Isaac asked for something he didn't want just so he could share it with Ethan and Esther.  When running errands, Ethan and Esther hunt down the other's hands so that they can be safe crossing the street.  When Isaac wandered off (I knew where he was) Ethan and Esther were both panicked until we had him directly in sight again.  Then later when Ethan played the same game and turned the corner for a minute, Isaac, surprisingly, was just as concerned that Ethan was out of sight as his siblings had been to loose him.

The other, other day (I seem to be citing a lot of those just now) Lyra and Parker were asking why they couldn't invite one of their friends to come to the movie with them.  I had to explain that his mommy didn't know us well enough and she needed to know that we were safe before she would let us take her little boy somewhere.  Lyra thought about that for a while and then said 'well, we can just tell her we are Heatons.'  She said it so matter of course.  It would explain everything.  Because Heatons are kind, helpful, they keep each other safe and they always tell the truth.  Once his mommy realized that we were Heatons, this should not be a problem anymore.  The good news is, once people get to know my kids, I don't think that it will be long before they realize that it is true.  My little Heatons are kind, helpful, they keep each other safe, they share and they do always tell the truth.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Why thanksgiving is so much better than Christmas (because come on, Christmas is about Santa and presents; lets stop lying to ourselves)

I was considering it, and I decided, I need the official version of how Chris and I met.  Or at least I need to write it down.

before I start, I think you should know, I am almost unendurably smitten with Chris, to this day.  I love Chris so very much and there is no success or adventure that could have compensated for not being married to him.  That is probably why I see this story as so deeply important.  It explains why I am who I am and why I am where I am.  But it is going to be painfully sappy and religious and I know some of you aren't into either of those things.  So, you have been warned.

I know that you hear in fairy tales about being destined for someone.  I always thought it was nonsense.  And while some people really are wonderful enough to make it work with whomever, I think that we were born crying, for fear that we would never find each other again.

I remember watching my parents marriage and thinking that I would never want that.  That I would never be someone's wife.  Even so, I was deeply concerned that I would never find him.  It makes no sense.  But I was not going to do that whole marriage thing.  It looked awful.
That being the case I ultimately decided to go on a mission, because I felt pretty strongly and clearly that it was something I should do.  And also, because that is what women who are going to be old maids do, according to my Dad.  So, it fit.  And once I decided that it was really what I should do, I knew it had to be immediately.  I rushed the paper work and got out as soon as I could.  I wasn't sure why.  My Dad speculated that it had to do with some guy.  Whatever Dad.  I guess he was right, though.

My MTC companion and I both went to the same mission and we saw each other here and there.  When we returned home we became room mates.  More because she was incredibly organized and got a group of us returned missionaries together.  I think I was a horrible room mate.  Mostly I was gone.

What does this have to do with meeting Chris?  Well, I will tell you when I am good and ready.  Because I am the writer here and I know most of you have already tuned out.  So I can be as long winded about it as I want.

Anyway, The night before the start of Thanksgiving break, I found myself deviating from my normal routine.  Normally I stayed in the library until they played loud music at midnight and announced that everyone had to go home.  I had walked half way home when I realized how early it was.  I almost turned around and went back to the library.  I paused there on the sidewallk weirdly torn.  For whatever blessed reason, I didn't turn back.  I like to think it was the good old-fashioned spirit that kept my feet moving to somewhere that I needed to be that night.

So, before long, there I was, in the apartment, decked in a white t-shirt that my younger brothers had cast aside and a pair of yellow Christmas light pajama pants that I had found floating around back home.  Yup, super classy. My room mate mentioned that her friend was coming over, so I obligingly sprawled out on the living room floor with a text book.  Yup, classy room mate.

Someone knocked on the door and I saw him framed in the door way.  I can still see it.  Decked in a forest green hoodie that made his beautiful eyes dance, was Chris.  I thought idly, 'huh, I am going to date that guy.'  Which was nonsense.

I had actually dumped a guy just that week because I had decided that dating for fun wasn't a kind thing to do to people.  He thought it was going somewhere and I knew it never would, because he hadn't served a mission.  So if I was going to date, it should be because I was honestly looking.  I wasn't going to get married, remember? So, that whole impression about dating the guy with the gorgeous green eyes was just crazy bubbling up.

He sat down and started talking with the people who were there.  Soon he directed his attention to the girl in the white shirt lounging on the floor in front of a text book.  'Hey, so what is your name?"  I put on a comically distressed expression and responded 'what?  you don't remember me?  After that night we had?!"  I had often answered this way to guys and, at least at BYU, the reaction was always to blush or stutter or just be completely confused.  Chris smiled and said 'Oh my gosh - you were the girl at squaw peak!  I didn't catch your name, but I think I caught your gum!"  I laughed, delighted.  Seriously, no one else had shot back, much less cited the notorious make-out spot as a come back.  I don't remember what the rest of the conversation was, but I do remember Chris showing me the latest console game that was coming out (the wii, totally dates me, huh?).  And as we peered over the keyboard of a laptop, it hit me.  'I am going to marry this guy.'

When he decided to leave, he offered to come and check on me while I was home alone for the Thanksgiving vacation.  All my roommates would be out of town, so of course someone had to come and check in on me.  I gave him my number, just to ensure that when he passed by, I would actually be there.  And that was it.  I knew he would call.  And soon.  I was arrogant that way.

The next day he sent me a text message asking if I would be home that night.  I was standing in front of the BYU library.  I can still remember the way the air felt, cold and just a little breezy, the purple and yellow pansies that were planted in the planter behind me.  I smirked with satisfaction when I saw it.

That's right, you thought I was great.  We met every night that Thanksgiving week, except for thanksgiving day.  You know, family is important.  I made him some amazing fudge topping that first night.  I thought I was sharing nector of the gods.  It was only after we were married that I learned he hates fudge.  And he still gives me a hard time about a shirt I was wearing.  I thought it was beautiful, but he thought it was absolutely hideous.

That week we went to see the lights at temple square, we went for dinner at an Indian restaurant.  We went bowling.  On our first date he held my hand while we were at a movie.  He says that I was hiding my hand under my leg, but I was not.  Eventually he leaned over and said 'Can I hold your hand?'  I obliged and made it as easy for him as I could.  His palms were so nervous sweaty it was almost comical.  He was charming and fun, confident and tender and strong willed.  He thought about things and liked that I had opinions.

After the first date I was on a group phone call with my room mates (one of them expected to be proposed to soon and we wanted stories) and my room mate asked if Chris had stopped by.  I said that we had held hands on the first date.  I didnt think it was a huge deal but on the other end, all I heard was 'Whaaaat?!'  I had been happy about it myself,  but wasn't sure what this reaction was all about.  Later Chris told me that she had called him up for details.  And that is when I found out.

Chris had dated everyone.  And by date I mean he had taken out everyone but had never had a relationship until only a few months before me.  Which means he had gotten to 26 without so much as holding a single girls hand, in spite of his constant dating.  I think he was looking for me.  He just didn't know it.  I think he was just searching for me.  I am just glad that he recognized me when he found me.

I was also grateful for the heads up.  This guy needed someone who was a slow mover.  So instead of kissing him goodbye, I gave him a warm hug when he had to leave town.  He did find time to sneak by and drop off a bouquet of balloon flowers before he actually left for his flight.

Anyway, it was a good thing I had such a striking impression on the whole marriage thing.  I was having to make some serious decisions.  I knew at least three people who were older, had graduated from prestigious colleges and were still single and alone.  I watched them wander round the world, alone.  Some were fancy barristers, and they were still alone.  And they were not happy.  I was offered some exciting opportunities but it became painfully clear to me that if I wanted this to work, I would have to pass them up.  It was hard, but I was right in the end.

So there it is.  And that is probably why we celebrate Thanksgiving with more excitement and fervor than we do Christmas.  It is because that is when happiness began.  It was the start of feeling true joy.

Every time I think of this story I wonder what would have become of me had I never served a mission, or if I hadn't left immediately to find my room mate, or if I had strung that guy on in a vain exploit.  Or if I had actually turned around and gone back to the library.

I am so grateful for some of the active good choices I made so that I could be in the right place at the right time.  I am so grateful that the spirit was there to push me where I would not have gone on my own.  It is the ultimate thanksgiving story.  I am so grateful for Chris.  Gods greatest gesture of love for me was helping us to stumble into each other.

Friday, December 4, 2015

We found a Christmas tree today.  Parker proudly found it after Chris had refused to buy the trees that had been sprayed hot pink or purple.  Parker was lobbying hard for one, too.  I think that he saw how happy it made Lyra and that was enough for him... That, and it was a bright pink pine tree... I mean, honestly, how is it possible for anyone to pass that up?  Ask Chris, I guess.  
There was a Santa in a sleigh there, too.  He was not happy to be there, poor frozen man, tucked all the way in the back of the lot next to the real reindeer that they had brought in.  Lyra and Parker stood there staring at him with a look of confusion and curiosity.  I told them to go up and give ol' Santa a high five.  They did and he asked Lyra and Parker if they would like to sit in his lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas.  So, for those who don't know, we don't really play up the Santa thing.  Yes, yes, I know, we are robbing them of their childhood.  I just need them to believe me on some things and loosing good will on Santa seems like a waste of trust and good will.  I'll pay for the therapy, kids.  
Anyway, Lyra and Parker stood there staring at 'Santa' in confusion until I explained that he just wanted to know what to get them for Christmas.  It was actually nice because Lyra had changed her mind on what she wanted without saying anything.  Apparently someone at school had told her that roller scates were hard to use.  She wasn't up for that and had settled on a poly pocket doll.  Good to know.  

This is a boring blog post.  Esther looked adorable at the tree farm in her fir trimmed hood.  Ethan was sweet and excited to walk around in the forest of close pine trees.  Isaac was just trying to figure out how long it would be before he could convince Parker to hand him the candy cane Santa had given Parker.  We bought a skinny crooked tree for a ridiculous price because Parker was so adorably excited that he had found it.     

My teenage self would be horribly disappointed in our tree.  My teenage self was also stupid.  My tree is crooked, poorly lit with an even more crooked star at the top.  Most of our nice ornaments have been broken and lost.  The only ones left are the craft ones Lyra and Parker made in preschool and kindergarten.  That, and some paper ornaments with family pictures from last year, clumsily glued and taped to it.  I think it is beautiful.  Esther and Ethan lit up when they saw their pictures being hung up on that tree.  So, yeah, best tree ever.  Pictures to come should I ever get my act together. 




Thursday, October 22, 2015

October 21 2015

Chris took the kids off to pass candy to the rest of the employees where he worked as I stood there.  Purposeless and awkwardly staring into the faces of what was at least four but seems like it may have been five of the people Chris tells me about almost every day.  It seemed as they looked at me expectantly.  Like I was supposed to say something clever or spontaneously burst into glitter.  

Or at least that is how it felt.  Really they were all just trying to be polite but all I could think was a silent prayer over and over that I would not say something that would embarrass Chris or get him in trouble.  I love that Chris tells me things.  But I have proven either brilliant in these situations or epicly offensive.  I don't seem to strike a medium.  So there I was.  what do I say?  They told me that they enjoyed working with Chris and I said of course they did.  I knew he was wonderful but I worried that they didn't know it.  And then worried that  I had said something that would get him in trouble, I clammed up and mentioned that Was that the wrong thing to say?  Was that presumptuous of me?  I mean, the CEO was right there.  The CFO then tried to cushion, saying that of course that is why I married him.  But then all I could think was 'I didn't marry Chris because I thought he would be well off'  so of course I said I married him because he was good looking.  It was a love at first sight kind of thing for me, but he took some convincing.  Then they said that the girl always feels that way... and oh no, there I was.  Now not only did I marry him because I thought he was going to be wealthy, but because I was one of those marry desperate type.  I didn't want to sit there and explain that I had actually been very opposed to getting married at all I didn't want to sit there and explain that I currently couldn't stand motherhood, that I was desperate to be in a fulfilling career. That when I looked in the mirror all I could see was an exhausted, aging, mind numb, bone weary, lonely, insignificant mom who hated what she saw.  
I think I felt the full weight of my confusion.  I was exhausted.  I haven't slept well at night at all these last few nights.  I try to sleep but I just can't.  it is the worst.  and when I finally do, Isaac cries, or Esther cries and cries and cries till I have basically spent the night sleepless and on the floor in her room.  I haven't eaten properly in months.  I think my sisters are convinced I have an eating disorder because when I snatched a minute to talk on skype and stuff a hastily thrown together sandwich, my sister complemented me on eating something.  Particularly something nourishing.  It was awful to realize that I look like that to other people.  But I do have an eating disorder.  It is called a load of kids.  I also have a bladder disorder.  I go to the gym every morning, in large part because if I don't I have to wait to pee till Isaac takes a nap and Ethan and Esther are not going to cry and bang down the door because they can't reach me.  Realistically I have to just wait till everyone is in bed that night.  Sometimes I can when Chris gets home.  
Anyway, sure, I have a sleeping disorder and an eating disorder and a bowl disorder.  And in spite of that, I was standing there.  Trying to think of something, anything that would not embarrass Chris.  I complemented Gary, that Chris missed working with him, not that he was unhappy working where he was, he is always happy, but he misses you.  Oh no!  I have said too much.  Panic.  Chris is a good man, a great husband and excellent father.  And I had nothing else to say.  I couldn't think of a single thing to say that I trusted myself to say in a way that would not create a problem.  
When we had first walked in with our twins people asked if twins run in the family.  They always do.  I have failed that question in the past.  Ending with an epic 'it was fertility, but the problem was me, not Chris.  Chris is a fertility God, fertility god, fertility god'  yeah, I didn't say it three times but I might as well have.  That was another work party at a different company.  So when they asked again, everyone sat there expectantly.  And they actually waited the five seconds of silence while Chris and I stared back and forth at each other, remembering last time.  We struggled to think of the right thing to say.  Finally I said simply that they were fertility twins.  and that the infertility ran in my family.  And that if they ever wanted to hear a painfully awkward story about that particular question to catch me another time.  It is kinda funny when I say it now.  But it was just a reminder of how bad I could be at these meetings.  
Why was I there?  Why was I so out of place?  I was so far away from that intelligent accomplished woman I always had set out to be.  Why was I there?  

And now I sit here running over the later conversations and... why didn't I say this or that?  Why is it that at best I am a fortune hunter or simply a marriage hungry baby maker?  Or either a trophy wife or a nag?  And how can that possibly be when I was so bright in college with so many opportunities?  How can that be?  I am working.  I have been, till I have become a stuttering awkward fortune hunter with an eating disorder? 
And so, my dear friends, what is my recourse?  What are the sensible actions I have taken to rectify my confusion and desperation?  I am soaking my sore tendentious feet, and with a hot cup of coca in my hands, I am watching pride and prejudice.  Isaac is restless anyway.  He keeps waking and crying and fussing.  Parker started wandering the halls crying because he had a bad dream.  He had a nightmare that I had disappeared.  
After snuggling in with him, he put his arm around me and pulled the blanket around the both of us.  I told him that I will always be here, loving him.  Even while he is at school, even always, even after we are both old and I have died, I will still be here doing my best to help him.  Because I am his mommy.  And that is what I do.