A gamut of experts

My brothers and sisters aren’t like me, and the men and women they married are just as varied in talents and interest as we are. Being different is a blessing. I have an expert to turn to in almost every field, from medical to mechanic, to help me when problems arise. I even got an I.T. guy that has saved my tush on more than one occasion. The only area my family is lacking in, that I can think of, is a lawyer, but I got quite a few nieces and nephews. Maybe one of them will be willing to sacrifice themselves for that horrible profession. Okay, so it’s a profession I would find horrible, but again this is why being different is such a blessing.

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Yep, sticking my neck out

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before—I have a naturally booming voice. It takes very little for my volume to out blast almost anyone—even my version of a whisper carries more than any whisper should. I’ve learned to not just live with it but to accept the good and the bad that come from having such a noticeable trait. It really can be of service in the right settings.

Football is one of those “right settings” where I allow my voice full rein to get as loud as it wants. Yeah, I get parents who look at me like I’m the crazy mom, but trust me, I’m using my full faculties in these moments. I know every word that comes out of my mouth will be heard by all who are there, so I consciously choose to say uplifting words for the entire team rather than just for my son. By doing so, I’m creating a space where other parents who get the urge to shout won’t be stopped by feelings of embarrassment. It works too. It usually takes most of the season games for the other parents to catch on—but by the end everybody’s yelling.

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A field of miracles

The past two weeks have been a revelation for me. My youngest son’s football team have struggled for most of the year to find consistency – no – to find a rooted belief in themselves that come “hell or high water” they would not give up until the game was over, no matter the score. Oh, a few of them fought to the end every game, but football is a team sport, even if one guy stops trying, it’s almost impossible to overcome the deficit.

Well, they finally clicked, every single one of them found the heart to keep pounding away, every down, no matter what happened. And guess what? They won their division, shocking the higher seeded teams. Even more amazing, the team seeded first hadn’t lost a game.

It was inspiring to watch. Our boys had already been beaten by both teams they played in the playoffs, but they swept the past aside and forged together. To believe in oneself is hard enough, but to get twenty-one boys to all believe at the same – it’s a miracle.

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What ruts?

To me, snow is nothing special—I see it every year. Yet, watching my foreign exchange student over the weekend play in the snow for the first time in her life, reminded me just how fun snow can be.

Our lives are full of commonplace occurrences that, overtime, probably don’t excite us anymore. That’s the problem with life in general—there’s lots of ruts. What a blessing it is when someone comes into your life with a fresh perspective on something you consider business as usual. It really does revitalize the spirit of enthusiasm, making those ruts feel like new experiences all over again.

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What matters most…

Sometimes the only way to know what really matters most in our lives is have it taken away.

A few weeks ago my youngest son was hurt on the football field. He was running the ball and ended up being tackled by two defenders. Like a pinball machine, he ricocheted off the impacts, having no control over how his body struck the ground. His right arm took the brunt of the impact and he cried out in a way he never has before—a sound that scared me to death.

I rushed to the sidelines where the trainer and coaches had gathered. All the while he keep saying, “I can’t feel my hand. I can’t feel my hand.”

My heart stopped at that statement. The trainer did a good job of getting him to calm down, and finally figured out it was a “stinger” he had experienced not a broken arm.

“It’s in a weird place,” the trainer said, “but if he keeps trying to move his fingers, the numbness should wear off.”

Another parent who stood close by said, “Oh that’s good, he’ll still be able to play football next week.”

I could have cared less. His fingers weren’t moving. If the feeling never came back, would he still be able to play the piano?

Right then, I knew if it came down to it, I would rather he play the piano than ever play a sport again. Not that I’ll ever be able to convince him to stop. He was thankful that after three days his fingers could grip the ball tight again. I was thankful that after three days of struggling through piano practice, his fingers found their full range of motion on the keys again.

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Our youngest – stealing “thunder” everywhere he goes.

My oldest son is an oddity. I’ve never met anyone who is more gracious and aware of others, even when no one would blame him for being a little selfish.

This week my son received a call to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is something he has been working toward for several months, having to go through physical therapy just to get his injured arm healthy enough to submit his papers.

On Tuesday, the fateful day came. I’ve never seen him more excited as we all stood around listening to him read the letter. He hadn’t read very far when my youngest son, who sat next to him, blurted out, “Columbia,” the location of where he would be serving.

Sadly, our youngest is known for doing things like this. He’s blown out other people’s candles on birthday cakes. He’s told people what they are getting for presents, even after he’s been told to keep it a secret. He steals the “thunder” of moments all the time, and this was my oldest son’s biggest one to date.

He didn’t say a word, just rubbed the top of his head like he was a little rascal, and kept reading.

At the end my youngest said, “I don’t think I like this mission call, it too far away.”

I figure this at least means he realizes how special his big brother is. There isn’t a person in the world that would put up with his antics in such a kind, easygoing way. Maybe my youngest will finally give his brother an opportunity to experience some “thunder” when he comes home in two years.

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Ooo those siblings…

Mark Twain once wrote, “Familiarity breeds contempt—and children.”  Unfortunately, sometimes this is true, being part of a family can be difficult.

In a family with six siblings, including myself, bickering was a daily issue.  We fought over toys, chores, T.V. shows, games, and even fought over whom we would play with.  By the time I reached my high school years, there were moments when cutting my family ties seemed like a good idea.  After all, who needs them?  They’re little spies who stole my clothes, and left the room I just cleaned ten minutes before a disaster.

Now older, with children of my own, I’ve come to realize the importance of family.  No, it’s not because my siblings and I can now sit around “Kumbaya-ing”.  With six very different personalities, we seldom agree, but they are the shelter from the weathering storms of life.  The safety net I fall into when disappointment knocks me off-balance.  The support beams holding up the foundation of who I am.  They know all of me, in a way the outside world never will.  Even though sometimes it might be easier to strangle rather than hug my brothers and sisters, I love them in a way the word falls short of expressing.

Before you slam the door on that little sibling peeking in your room again, remember this.  Friends are nice—I have had many—unfortunately, most will be fleeting, and not because you don’t like them anymore.  Their path in life simply took them away from you.  But that sibling driving you crazy right now, will always be your family.  The most exclusive club you’ll ever be apart of, no matter how many miles separate you.

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