Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

This is my Daddy...that's right, "Daddy," not just "Dad".  Isn't he a handsome devil?

This is the face that I saw last of all, every night when I was a little girl.  He was so sweet to me.  Every single night he would throw the covers over my head and fold them back neatly, tucking me in.  Then he would sing me a song: "I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck..."  Usually he didn't finish it. I was an adult before I realized it was a real song (from "Guys and Dolls") and not something that sprang spontaneously from his heart.  :)  He made me feel so special.  I remember going to sleep every night with such a warm fuzzy feeling.  My dad sure loved me.   As a mother I am even more impressed at how awesome he was at the bedtime routine.  How many nights to my kids go to bed and the last thing they hear from their exhausted mother is something heart-warming like: "JUST GO TO BED!!!  I'M DONE!!"  Poor little guys...

Wanna know something cool about my dad?  He's a scientist.  Yup!  An honest to goodness fully fledged scientist.  He got his Doctorate from Brown University in...uh...something scientific, like Fluid Dynamics or something (whatever that means).  Daddy worked for Lockheed Martin for his whole career.  He did all kinds of scientific work for them on government contracts.  If I ever asked him what he did at work, he'd say "I can't tell you."  How cool, I thought, maybe he's a SPY!  But he wasn't a spy, he was a scientist, which is much more exciting to me now that I am grown up.  Daddy was such a good provider.  Always there, always on time, a real Johnny-on-the-Spot.  He used to hoard all his vacation days and use them to get the better part of December off for Christmas.  That made Christmas even more awesome.

One of the things I treasure most about my Dad was the time he took to EXPLAIN stuff to his 7 kids.  When we got in trouble, it was never just "GO TO YOUR ROOM!"  It was always, "Let's talk a little bit about what just happened.." followed by 20 min. of deep character evaluation.  ;)  I remember him taking the time to explain to me why it was so important to resist selfishness, and how it leads to unhappiness.  He taught me the gospel this way too.  He loves to talk about the gospel and has lots of deep insights.  He gave me a strong conviction that morality is much more than just a silly rule, to be tossed aside at the slightest temptation.  He always taught that the things Heavenly Father wants us to do are because He loves us and wants us to live happily.  I still believe this.  What a good job my father did as a teacher!

This obviously isn't the best picture I've ever taken, but I like it because it describes my daddy so well.  The loving dog and the bull (actually it is just a cow, but still) represent 2 important facets of his personality.  The puppy represents the man who teared up almost every Sunday during church, wiping his eyes with his handkerchief when the talks were touching.  So tender.  This is the same side that led him to constantly tell us all how much he loved us.  I can honestly say I think he said it every single day to me.  Very rare in father's these days, I think.  The bull represents his authoritative side.  My father is not a big man, probably 5'6 and lightly built, but BELIEVE me, when he was stern everybody hopped to attention and straightened right up.  I remember once at our church youth group a couple of non-member teenagers came to beat up one of the 17 year-old boys in our ward.  They punched him pretty good, and I remember seeing several large church leaders running into the church to call the police or something.  But MY dad, my fearless (and relatively small) dad, ran right up to those 2 huge teenagers (they looked like linebackers) and stuck his finger right at their faces and bawled 'em out like they were school boys.  I'll never forget the was like looking at two St. Bernards fearfully eyeing a barking chihuahua.  He scared them right off; they ran away with their tails between their legs.  I was so proud of him, saving the day like that, like some kind of super hero.  If he were a super hero, his super power would be "having a serious voice that absolutely leaves you no doubt that he means business" man.  But that's a kinda long title for a super hero, isn't it?  That's why I just call him "Daddy."  

 Love you too, Daddy.  Thanks for always being there for me. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy 46 to My Parents

Commentary to Follow Soon!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Tribute to Mom

Happy Mother's Day! 

I want to tell you all about my mother and how absolutely fabulous she is. Indulge me.

The last time I was at Mom and Dad's house, I took a bunch of pictures.  Here are some of the ones of Mom. (I also have black and white files of all these images, so if anyone wants them, just shoot me an email.)

I like this picture because it shows her vulnerable side.  I was fully 19 years old before I comprehended that my mom was a real person, with difficulties, weaknesses, hopes, and dreams.  I had always thought of her as this invincible person, always optimistic, always happy to serve. SUPERMOM!  This picture reminds me that she was once a little girl.  And I'll tell you one thing I know about her as a little girl--even then she knew she wanted to be a mother someday. 

My mom is intelligent.  As a elementary student, her IQ was tested along with everyone else in her grade. It was high.  Really high.  In fact, it was the highest score that had ever been given at that school.  The administrators went to her parents and told her that they thought she should try taking college classes.  They wanted to put her on the fast track to become a famous scientist or something.  My grandparents gave her the choice--did she want to go straight to college, or did she want to continue on through all the grades with the kids her age?  My grandmother told her that maybe she would grow up to be a scientist and never have kids, but instead have a really amazing career.  That made her mind up...she wanted no part of it.  She had already decided that she wanted to get married and have kids.  That was her career choice.  And she put her heart and soul and all her intelligence into it.  She eventually ended up with a BA in comparative literature.  She filled our house with books, and she filled the conversation of the home with deep insights and analytical discussion.

I like this picture of my mom because she looks like such a Richardson--like such a Lee.  The pioneer heritage that she has always been so proud of is printed all over her face.  She comes from hardy stock, the kind of people who settled the west and were the backbone of the early church.

Now that she has raised her 7 children, my mom is still in the business of giving love.  She embraces people who are struggling in the community.  She works in the temple.  And most of all, she flies around loving her grandchildren and visiting her kids. 

I still remember how it felt to become a mother for the first time.  I was so overwhelmed.  I had no idea what was going on with my body (whose body is this?), and I had no idea how to care for a newborn (he's going to die! He feels like he is falling apart!  Why is his poop black?  Is he bleeding internally?!?) She swooped in like the cavalry.  And suddenly everything was managable.  Everything was okay.  Nursing is going to work, just give it time to regulate (my body made the mistake of thinking I had quintuplets and produced WAY too much milk.  And lemme tell you, nothing seems right when you feel like your chest is about to explode.  TMI, sorry.)  I've heard some of my friends lament that when their mothers come (even right after having a baby), they criticize their housekeeping, their cooking, their parenting, etc.  This shocks me.  After I have a baby, she comes, she cooks, she cleans, she buys groceries and fills my freezer with future meals, she plays with the older kids, she buys little things for the baby.  She even gets up in the night with the baby sometimes, to let me sleep as much as possible.  One time she even turned all the green tomatoes in my garden into like 50 quarts of raspberry jam, despite my numerous protestations.  Hahaha.  Mother. 

You see how happy my mom is in this picture?  It's because of the dog.  She is loving the dog, and that makes her happy.  You should see how happy she is when she is holding one of her little grandkids.  Seth and Kristina used to live close to mom and dad.  Kristina told me that they used to drop off their baby, Simeon, so they could go on a date.  When they left, my mom would be cooing at him and holding him in a rocking chair.  When they came back, there she would be, in the same chair, doing the same thing.  She had never got up.  And she'd be like, already?  That wasn't long enough--go get some ice cream or something.  That's the thing about my mother, she was never a reluctant mother, never a martyr.  She honestly loved mothering, and couldn't think of anything more wonderful than living her daily life with her kids.  What a gift to be raised by someone like that! 

One more thing: my mom is lovable, and so very very friendly.  My whole life, anywhere I have gone with my mom, she has been making friends,  She chats up the grocery store clerk, she catches up with the lady by the dairy case, she laughs with the lady at the pharmacy.  She's the friendliest person I've ever met!  She has visited me enough times and gone to church with me, that the ladies in my ward all want to know what she's up to, and when she will be visiting again.  NO JOKE, people in my ward call me to ask for her phone number...cause, you know, sometimes you need to talk to someone who cares.  And she does.

 I love you, mom, forever and ever and always! You are as fine a person as I have ever had the pleasure of hanging around.  And you are my hero in every way.