Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Love

It must be the week for love. Another student asked me this week about love. She was working on a creative writing piece about love and wanted to talk to a few adults who were in love. She told me that she thinks it is "cute" how I talk about my husband.  She asked me how I knew that I was in love. I responded, "I knew I was going to marry my husband the first moment he kissed me." A few other students overheard this and joined the conversation. They were fascinated by my answer.

She asked if it was love at first sight. It was not. I had known him for over a year, and while I can clearly remember the first time I saw him (he was wearing a very specific silly hat), I did not fall in love at that moment. We became friends, good friends, but we were never the kind of friends who went out alone together. We always went out in a group. We talked. We laughed. Our friends became friends. All of us sat together in the morning before school started, and during lunch we would sit in the courtyard. Some of us would skateboard, hackey sack, or toss a ball, and sometimes we would all just sit and talk. It was not a group that dated each other;  we were just a group of friends who just hung out together.

In the year and a half since the first time I saw him, he became one of my closest friends. He was easy to talk to. He listened. He made me laugh. We danced with each other at school and  church dances, we sat and talked in the locker bays on our off hours, and sometimes we even ditched class together.

Almost twenty years later, I am still not sure how it happened. We were friends. We were laughing. We were playing golf, playing games, watching movies, going hiking. Doing the things that our group typically did. Then one night, he tackled me (literally). And then another night, he kissed me. I was done. Sold. Completely head over heels in love with one of my best friends. It was crazy. Maybe it was a process of falling in love for both of us. All I know is that one day, he was my friend, and the next I couldn't stop thinking about him.

Thank goodness he felt the same way.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

First Love

A student of mine just broke up with her boyfriend. She told me they still love each  other, but they needed space because things were going too fast and getting too serious.

They are both good kids, and I am proud of them for making this decision. It is a tough decision to step away from someone you love, especially since you do not know if you will end up together again someday.

She asked me if my husband was my first love. I told her he wasn't. I did not tell her this to make her feel better, I told her this because it is true. I used to wish that my husband was my first love, but as I get older I become more grateful that he wasn't my first love.

She asked me about the story of my first love, and I told her. My first love was M. I told her that M and I were good friends for a long time, and when we were both 16 we started dating. I remember when he asked me to "go out" with him. We were sitting in a van after a night of bowling with friends. We were waiting for something (I can't remember who or what), and M and I were sitting on the floor of the van. He was sitting behind me with his arms wrapped around me. It was snowing and cold that night. He asked me out, and I said yes. From then on, we were always together. He walked me to class, I walked him to practice, he drove me home from school. He took me dancing in the middle of the road. I made him dinner. We went for walks. He was sweet, he was kind, and I fell in love with him quickly.

But as quickly as we fell in love. Things started moving quickly. We were both LDS and knew that sex was just not an option. But that didn't stop us from talking about marriage. It didn't stop us from kissing...a lot. We were 16 and head over heals in love, but as things got more and more serious, we started to worry. We did not want to be one of those couples who said, "Well, we know we are going to get married one day, so does it really matter?" We both knew it did,  and neither one of us wanted to go there. We knew that we did not want to cross that line, and we were both afraid that was where we were headed. So as in love as we were, and as happy as we were together, we knew that we had to break up. It was hard; that is an understatement. We talked about it for a long time, but in the end we both knew it was the right decision. M was absolutely my first love, and I did not know how to get over him. We were still friends. We talked all the time, but we worked hard to not be together. We did not want to close the door on our relationship. We both hoped we would find a way to be together. It was not easy at first, but as time went on, it became better. We remained friends, not as close as we once were, but still good friends.

Fast forward a year after our break up. I started dating my future husband (I will call him H). We had also been good friends for a long time, but I knew this was different. I fell more in love with H than I ever knew possible. I was only 17, but from the moment that H kissed me, I knew I would never kiss anyone else.

H and I were not a couple that made sense to a lot of people. We were different in just about every way possible, and everyone who heard that we were together thought we were a strange couple.

But then one day at a party, M heard that H and I were together. He didn't know I was in earshot behind him. He said, "H and Kage? Wow...way to go Kage!" And then he paused, smiled, and said, "No. Way to go H." Those were the nicest words I had ever heard, and I knew that he was sincere in saying them.

As I relayed this story to my student whose heart was breaking over her break-up, I told her that even though I did not marry my first love, I do not regret loving him, and I knew that he felt the same way. So as much as I used to want to say that my dear husband is my first love, I know that the lessons I learned from loving M were important.

I then told her that while my dear husband may not have been my first love, he is my last love. He is my life, and most importantly he is my eternal love. And that is the one that matters.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Best Friends.

Yesterday, my husband held up a pair of jeans in the laundry basket and asked without a hint of sarcasm, "Are these yours or #1's jeans?"
He was serious. He was actually checking. My oldest son is officially less than four inches shorter than I am. I have accepted the fact that my children will be taller than me. I want them to be taller than me.

But still, every time I take a moment and notice exactly how big they are getting, I am brought back to the moments when they were smaller than my thumb. I am brought back to the moments where I could feel their heartbeat beneath my own. That was a long time ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

I remember being absolutely certain that I was going to have a son, both times. I remember the doctors confirming, each time, that I was going to have a son. I remember the tears in my eyes because I knew that the joy had to get out somehow. I remember the look on my husband's face when he heard. A son. A second son. Two boys to fill my house with laughter and love.

They have not disappointed. Even when they fight like only brother's can fight, they still love each other like only brothers can love. They cheer each other one like no one else can. They communicate in ways that baffle me. Sometimes, I think they are twins born two years apart. Not because they look like twins, but because they act like twins. They know each other better than anyone else does. Sometimes I watch them as they talk or as they play, and there is a definite "twin" vibe that I get from them. They are one and the same, yet so very different.

I ponder this fact quite a lot. I know they were best friends before they came to us. I know this as well as I know that I can breathe. I know that #2 was sad when #1 got to come here first, but I also know that they both knew then that it was necessary. I know this because #1 had to come first to help his parents go to the Temple and establish an eternal covenant that #2 could be born into.

I can almost hear the words that #1 said to #2. "You can't come yet. I won't let you be born before we are an eternal family. I will go, mom and dad will be sealed, I will be sealed to then, and then you can come, too. I will prepare the way for you. I promise you will be born into an eternal family."

That protection is still there; #1 is so protective of #2. He knows that he has to set the example. And what an example he has set. It is not always easy being the oldest, but #1 carries that charge the way he should. They are best friends. They are absolutely the best part of my life. They cherish their mother and worship their father. They are good boys. They are best friends. I am blessed each and every day to be their mother.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

End of the year

It is the end of the year, and I am procrastinating. I should be grading, printing finals, grading some more, and entering grades. But here I sit, staring at the computer waiting for some inspiration.

Waiting....

Waiting...

There is so much that I can write about, but nothing feels right. So, I guess I will go grade some papers and come back soon.

Maybe inspiration is in the stack of essays that await me!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

This was interesting.

Answers to this post:
1. Thought Experiment: You’ve died. You are at your own funeral. What do you want your friends and family to say about you? What did you do with your life? Write down five things you hope people say about the legacy that you’ve left. Write down five things you hope people say about your personality.

  • She loved her husband and children more than she loved anything else. To see and hear her talk about her husband, even after 18 years, was like seeing a woman who was newly married. To see and hear her talk about her children was to see a woman who marveled at the beauty and grace of childhood.
  • She never turned her back on anyone. She lived under the basic belief that she said so often when people asked why she liked "certain" people (the people who did not always make the best decisions or live the most righteous life).  She always said, "Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father will never turn their backs on any of us, and if I am truly living as a faithful representative of both of them, what kind of example of each them would I be if I turned my back?"
  • She was intelligent but open minded. She loved great discussions and always listened with an open mind. She always thought she was right, but she still listened and would admit when she was wrong. She could argue both sides of an argument better than anyone, and in the end, she was so convincing that students could never tell her true beliefs.
  • Even with the previous statement, she was a woman of strong conviction. She did not believe blindly but worked for every piece of truth she held to her heart. She always followed her conviction.
  • She loved watching people learn. Whether it was her own children or her students, she lived for the moments when a light of understanding and knowledge would appear.
2. Core Values: Discover what drives you. What principles guide your actions and ideal self? Try to strip away all cultural conditioning and/or religious rhetoric and assess five core values by which you live your life and inform who you want to be. Write these down. Evaluate if there any disconnect between what you wrote down in step one and step two.

  • Love. It is cheesy, but my love for my family drives everything I do. I always think to myself, is this something that would cause my children or husband to think less of me? If the answer is yes, I don't do it. Their opinion of me means more than anything.
  • I am driven by integrity. In everything I do, I work to be true to this word.
  • I believe in being kind. People are far too mean to each other.
  • I am driven by accountability. People should accept the consequences (both good and bad) of their actions. People are far to willing to blame someone else rather than accept blame themselves. This bugs me. I am always willing to say I was wrong or that I made a mistake. I never think the world is out to get me. People may not like me because of my firm stance on accountability, but I am okay with that.
  • Faith. Everything happens for a reason. I may not know the reason, but accepting that I can learn from everything and that having faith that there is a greater reason for it, is part of who I am.
3. Find Your Purpose: Why does what you are doing matter? What motivates and inspires you to keep following these values? Chose a purpose. It can be big or small, but has to be intentional. It is the reason for your goals and can change over time. If you are struggling to find your purpose try this experiment. Write down your five most valuable gifts and talents. Next, write below those what each of these can be used for. Finally, evaluate what types of careers or activities you would enjoy that would utilize some of these talents.

  • My purpose in life is to be a teacher, not just in a classroom, but in everything I do. My most important teaching is as a mother, as I teach everyday by word and by example. No one watches me more attentively than my own children. They hear the things that I don't think they hear and they see the things that I don't think they see. They know more than I give them credit for, and because of that, everything I do is related to teaching. 
    Part of being a teacher is being a learner. Every moment in my life seems to be a teachable moment, whether by example or by curriculum. There is always something to learn and always something to teach. It is a passion. It is what I love. Teaching...at home, at church, at school, or anywhere else is my purpose.  The best part of being a teacher and loving it as I love it, is that I know that in the long run, I am far more blessed by the people I teach than they are by me teaching them. It is a bit selfish to look at it that way, but while I truly hope that I can make a difference in the lives of my students, I know that I am better by knowing each of them (some more than others).

4. Test Your Purpose: Today my purpose will be _to help a student believe in himself more than he did yesterday, to help him to know that he can do anything. To accomplish that I will use my gifts for talking, for listening, for encouraging_ to accomplish these specific goals_to help one student believe in himself more than he did before. Later change the timeline to week, month, and year.


5. Write It All Down: Once you have a purpose you can stick with, write it all down and it will remind your of who you are and what you want to be.

Done.