Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lessons Learned

I was sitting at church today waiting for things to begin when I saw a group of children pass by our classroom. As they passed I noticed that one of them had her dress tucked into her panties, and that from the back her white underwear and some peek-a-boo cheek-a-boo were exposed for the entire Relief Society to see.

And then I realized that the little girl was my 5-year-old daughter, Sydney.

I might be weird, but when I was a teenager I had this perception of what my life would be like when I was a grown up--and a lot of the footage that played in my imagination was shot at church and involved my children sitting pressed and polished in the pews.

None of the movies that played in my head had my daughter wandering through church with her backside exposed. And yet there she was, preaching her own little sermon.

Luckily, those panties were as clean and white as Sunday itself.

I discovered in that moment that I prefer real life in all of its honesty to whatever plastic perceptions I had embraced when I was too young to know any better.

Thanks to Sydney for giving an excellent lesson at church today.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gotta Love the Olympics

I've been enjoying watching the Olympics with my girls. Both Cora and Sydney have announced that when they grown up they want to get a gold medal at the Olympics. They say it with the same matter-of-factness that they use when they tell me other things that they want to do when they grow up: drive a convertible, wear high heels, have 10 kids, get a cell phone, wear make up, be a teacher, and live next door to mom and dad.

They are having a hard time narrowing down their sport. It is quite a conundrum. They like the downhill skiing because it "looks like you are flying." But seeing the nasty spills some of those women took last night kind of soured them on that idea.

The liked the fast track skaters and they feel a connection to Apollo Ohno because he's from Federal Way and he's also a ballroom dancer, but they haven't settled on fast track because they are keeping their options open.

As you can imagine, they love the figure skating, and we've mostly been watching the couples. Sydney even went so far as to request skating lessons. But couples figure skating does present the problem of needing a partner, and they just can't think of any neighborhood boys that could toss them around while also staying upright on figure skates.

Sigh. It is such a dilemma choosing which sport to get your gold medal in.

If I were 7 again I think I would want to be Shaun White. Who am I kidding? I'm thiry-something and I want to be Shaun White.

Last night was the first night I have ever seen him in action, although I've seen him in various commercials and remembered his hair. I don't know much about him but I get the feeling from his overall bad boy demeanor that he's probably been a bit naughty. I honestly don't know if this is true or not; I'm just guessing. You can all fill me in later. But naughty or nice, I find myself wanting to be him.

First of all, watching him gear up for his run he seemed unlike any of the other athletes. There was no stress on his face or in his body. Nor was there the forced stillness of the athletes who are trying a little too hard to show how calm they are. Most of the athletes have this kind of fierce and hungry look in their eyes and you can see that they are clutching desperately to their dream, choking it almost. I watched several athletes turn this desperation into a medal and it was awesome--I was desperate with them. It was good TV.

But Shaun White was different. He was going to have his run and if the Olympics and their gold medals wanted to float after him like little golden butterflies then perhaps he would hold still long enough for them to land on his shoulder. If not, then it was their loss. He seemed like a college student on a ski vacation.

And yet, in seeming contrast to his casualness, but also born out of it, was this wonderful explosiveness. He was up in the air and turning and then sliding and bursting up again, and even though I know nothing about this sport, I desperately wanted whatever it was he was selling. I wanted to feel what he was feeling, down to the wind in my long wavy red hair . . .

Alas, this dream alludes me for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I have never even touched a snowboard, and I don't have wavy red hair.

But I'll let you know when Cora and Sydney settle on their sports. We're not even sure if they are Winter or Summer Olympics girls yet. So many options, you know. Maybe they will be halfpipe girls and someday it will be the Olympic wind blowing through their long hair . . .

In any case, I just hope they keep dreaming.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dear Valentine,

I know that you are still a little sore about how I threw you under the bus last week when I blamed my near-arrest on you. I'm somewhat sorry about that. I know it must be hard to be married to a woman like me.

Tonight at the Marriage Fireside we went to, Brother Crabtree pointed out that marriage is a lot like a puppy. Puppies have cute, sweet faces with adorable drooping eyes and furry ears and soft wet noses. Everyone falls in love with the front end of a puppy--but, as he reminded us, don't forget that puppies have back ends too. (BTW--I love it when people talk about the back ends of puppies over the pulpit. Or the back end of anything for that matter. My other favorite line from a youth talk at church today: "We're talking MURDER, People! Like stab, stab! Kill, kill!" Gotta love church. But I digress. . . . back to the puppies.)

You and I have never forgotten that puppies have back ends, which is why we don't have one. And should we ever get close to forgetting, we can think back to what your brother's puppy did to your parent's deck that one time. I can still remember little Muppet running around with her post-surgery neck cone all smeared in poop--and how sad she was when everyone screamed when she tried to jump on their laps.

And so my point is . . . . I forgot.

Oh yes, my point is, that I am grateful that I have a man who loves the whole puppy, which is, metaphorically speaking, me!

So, in honor of Valentine's Day, even though I did go all out already by giving you that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Heart, here is a little list of the things that I am grateful that you put up with:

First, I am grateful that you love me even when I use up all of the hot water in the morning.

Second, I am grateful that you love me even though I don't park my car as close to the right side of the garage as you would like me to, even if we did just talk about it this morning.

Third, I am grateful that you love me even though I hog up the entire bathroom counter with my cosmetics.

Fourth, I am grateful that you love me when I eat garlic. Even if you won't kiss me.

Fifth, I am grateful that you love me even though my ballroom shoes are really, really stinky. (Even though you do complain loudly about it so that all of our students can hear.)

And finally, I am grateful that you love me even when I insist on watching What Not to Wear instead of sports. (You know you love Stacy and Clinton's one-liners just as much as I do).

I am really lucky to have a man like you. And to show my appreciation I will happily let you drive in front from now on and I promise not to race any more cops that I think are you.

With all my Heart,

Sunday, February 7, 2010

And the race is on . . .

I want to start by saying that I am normally a very careful, attentive, speed-conscious driver. Although, after I tell this story, I am certain that no one is going to believe me.

I also want to say that everything that happened is Matt's fault.

The problem is that when Matt gets in a car, all of a sudden he becomes an alpha male. When we are going somewhere together he ALWAYS has to drive, which works because I prefer to be chauffeured. When we drive separately, his car always has to be in front of mine. Even if I start out ahead, he always has to zoom up and maneuver his way in front of my car. Another thing he likes to do if we are going to the same location at the same time (for example from the dance studio to our home) is to take an alternative route and drive really fast so that he can get home a few minutes before me, thus asserting his superiority.

I usually just roll my eyes at the whole thing, but then the girls have caught on to his antics and started egging me on: "Go Mommy! Beat Daddy!" Pretty soon they figured out that even if I tried a little, Daddy would always up the ante and he would win, which was always highly disappointing to them. Now when they get in the car with me they roll down their window and yell, "Daddy, it's not a race!" But if they are riding with him, it is a race. So basically I'm the driving loser.

On Friday night we were driving home from Grandma and Grandpa Longhurst's house. We had met there on our way to a dance performance. Cora and Sydney were riding with Matt, and Maryn was riding with me. I managed to pull out first, also unusual because normally if I start pulling out first, Matt will cut me off. He tried to make up for it by going a different way out than I did, but I still beat him. I stayed in front of him until we got onto the freeway. And for some reason, I decided that I was not going to let him win. I would prove to Matt that he wins because I let him, not because I can't.

I knew that at some point he would make his move. But I decided that I would drive strategically, and pace other slow cars so that he wouldn't be able to get around me. This worked for several miles. I knew what he was going to attempt to do. He was going to wait and stay behind me until right before the exit, and then he would try to bust around me, cut me off, and beat me home. Classic Matt.

But I was ready.

And sure enough, right before the exit, I saw the headlights closing in on me. He was coming up on my left side. I thought to myself, "Oh no you don't, buddy. Not this time." I accelerated. I imagined the girls in the other car yelling "Go Daddy Go! Go Daddy Go!" But Mommy was going to win this time. Mommy was all in.

Matt was being stubborn. Those headlights kept coming. I accelerated more, determined to stay in front. We kept up this way for a bit, drag racing down HWY 18, but I managed to keep my edge. Finally I looked down and noticed that I was going more than 90 miles an hour. I NEVER drive 90 miles an hour, especially with my kids in the car. I wasn't willing to put my children's life at risk to win, and I was mad that he was. So I hit the breaks and got ready to give him the look of death as he passed with his cheeky grin.

But as the front end of the car came up to where I could see it in my rear view mirror, I didn't see the 4 Audi circles I was expecting. Instead I saw a push bumper and realized, to my horror, that it was a cop.

And that was when my heart dropped into my stomach and I knew I was in sooooo much trouble.

The cop continued coming up on my left side, flashed his lights for a bit, looked over at me and raised his arms like, "What are you thinking, lady?"

I am not quite sure what was registering on my face at the time. But if there is one expression for shock, horror, disbelief, guilt, and please-please-please-don't-give-me-a-ticket-I-promise-I-will-never-do-this-again, that was probably the expression that was on my face.

I slowed way down and waited to see what he would do. If he was going to pull me over, he would need to get behind me. But he didn't, he just continued zooming down the highway. Thankfully, he had bigger fish to fry.

I got off at my exit and stopped at the stop sign at the end of the ramp. That was when Matt came up on my left side, rolled down his window, and started yelling his lecture. "Are you serious!!? Did you not see him? Did you not see the other one? What were you . . . . "

I didn't stick around to hear the rest of it, because there was only one thing on my mind at the time--I could still win.

So I just sneered at Matt and screeched away.

It was very satisfying to be the first one pulling into the garage. I knew that Matt was going to pretend to be all mad about the cop, when really he was just mad that I beat him.

Sure enough he came in with his eyebrows raised, walking all slow and authoritatively with his arms folded. Classic Matt.

Cora and Sydney came following behind to see what was going to happen. I pretended to be busy folding clothes.

"What was that?" he asked.

"What was what?"

"Were you really that oblivious that you didn't see the cop?"

"I was listening to a story on NPR."

"You flew by another one before that as well. Did you not see that one?"


"Girls, what do you think about what Mommy did? Is she setting a good example?"

Cora: "What did Mommy do?"

Matt: "Why don't you let Mommy tell you what she did?" And he waited for me to tell them how I broke the law and it was so wrong and I was very bad and I got in trouble with the police officer and they should never, never, do what I did.

Me: "Well girls . . . . MOMMY WON! Wooo hoooooooo!" And I threw my arms up in the air and started dancing around the bedroom. Then Cora and Sydney got all excited and started jumping up and down with me. "Mommy won! Mommy won! Mommy won!"

Matt (still trying to be all serious): "Girls, what did you think when the police officer flashed his lights at Mommy?"

Cora: "I don't really remember that."

Me and Sydney in the background: "Mommy won! Mommy won!"

Finally, Matt couldn't help but smile at me. It helped that I hadn't been slammed with a big fat ticket.

"I can't believe you raced a cop. You know that's what you were doing don't you? You were RACING a cop."

"Oh yeah. I know."

"I guess you know what you're blogging about this week."


And he smiled, shook his head, and went into the other room.

I will still let Matt win most of the time. But now it will be different. I don't think he will again underestimate the capabilities of a determined and stubborn woman.