Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Brynley in 'real time'

Because my blogging has taken a back seat to my shauffering/mothering/volunteering this spring-into-summer, it seems I've left a lot of amazing life events in my memory instead of on this blog.

That's o.k., except this blog is kept in eternal storage, where my memory is quickly fading.

So here, as my last post, is an attempt to capture who my kids are 'in real time'. Let me tell you a little about Brynley.

Brynley is confident. This internal understanding of who she is and what she can do is a marvel to a less secure mother like myself. Bryn looks at things and thinks "I can figure that out". She masters simple tasks like reading the directions to a new cell phone and she masters more difficult feats like memorizing 11 dances for her end of year recital. She excels in school, not only because she is smart, but as importantly because she knows how to listen and follow directions. And like I said, she believes she can figure things out. With that as your core instinct courses like math, science, history and English all become manageable, heck, conquerable even. Her confidence oozes out of her as she presents herself on stage. The audience can see in her motion that she owns what she is doing.

Bryn is a hard worker. And right now, she will gladly tell you as much! She secured 3 summer jobs and when she is in town she is working a LOT. And Bryn doesn't just work hard, she works smart. She looks at her surroundings and surmises what needs to be done. With the nod of her employer's head she tears into a project until it is complete.  I wish she had the same determination with her chores at home, but somewhere deep down inside I like to believe that one of the reasons she works well for others is because once upon a time I taught her how to work well with me...wishful thinking, I know, but I hang on to the little things these days ;)

Bryn enjoys her friends. They are the center of her universe. She texts them, facebooks them, instagrams them and hangs out with them. They are sometimes here, and she is often wherever else they are. I appreciate that Bryn has a very wide range of friends. Of course, as a mom, I always believe that the circle can widen a little more, but I'm very impressed that Bryn has chosen to associate with kids who are good. And even among them she stands up for the things that she believes in that are right. And I also appreciate that she honors her parents in front of her friends. She may roll her eyes at what we ask of her, but she honors our wishes for her curfew, her media choices and some of the activities she has or has not gone along with.

And in return we are trying to honor her. One of my more difficult mothering moments was the text from Bryn where she asked 'permission' to semi permanently die a streak of her hair bright blue...it was a difficult thing for me to tell her 'we trust you'. She was thankful and now her hair is navy blue right by her ear. Rebellion? no. Not from Bryn. Its her way of showing that she is her own girl. But the truth is she is still my girl, and currently I'm struggling to look at her and not roll my eyes at the silly blue streak.

just a very few of Bryn's many good friends. This girl has a gaggle of buddies

I don't know how to rotate the photo, but Bryn is right there, smiling and 'present' on a recent trip to St. George

Bryn is rarely still. Her body dances in one way or another every waking moment of her day...
Brynley has talent. We often hear of her dance ability. We are impressed ourselves. It is kind of fun to have a kid be good at something you've never been good at. We get to look at her with awe, and be moved by their expression and grace. She navigates her dance 'career' very independently. We work hard to help steer her through, but aside from asking a lot of questions and interviewing many 'dance moms' I can only pray for help, advise her as best I can, and see the decisions she makes. And so far they've been good decisions that have helped her develop her talents while not compromising her standards-and as long as that continues to be the direction her dancing will take her we continue to watch, inspired and awed, by the talents that Brynley enjoys.

Brynley is successful. Her Straight A average since the start of Jr. High, achieving a high honor by being selected as a cheerleader, and performing with her school and private dance companies with great success are just a few ways she is a success. To me, seeing her compassionately address the needs of a little sister, or inviting a less 'well known' classmate to a party or being willing to serve a grandparent are more evident signs of success. She is not just good at some things, Bryn is good at the important things; and that is why her success now pales in comparison to that which shines on the horizon of her future.

Bryn is growing. Not so much physically. She is still wearing the jeans she bought for 7th grade and her shoes haven't changed size for a while. But last weekend she wrote down her testimony and glued it in the back of a Book of Mormon. She rode her bike over to a friend who she thought would appreciate the book. That was an impressive display of growth and testimony. But what meant more to me was the realization that Bryn has read that book, cover to cover. She doesn't just believe in the spirit of the text, she has experimented on its words for herself. She knows, she doesn't just believe any more. That growth is the most valuable, the most tender, the most special part about her right now. Her spirit is blooming-with the color and explosion of our back yard garden. It is sweet and full of texture and life. She is becoming complete, and it is exhilerating to witness the burst of her just busting out and glowing in all direction.

Friday, June 22, 2012


I recently saw a quote that said, "don't be so concerned with raising a good kid that you forget you already have one." This gave me pause-and I pause for very little these days. It feels like my very being ticks down the minutes until our oldest son leaves our nest. He is headed in just a few weeks to tour colleges with his dad. I can count the number of vacations/breaks/milestones on just one hand before he moves into a college dorm.

I feel like I have so much work left to do to grow this kid up to be a productive human being.

Sometimes I forget that he is a really great person. Someone unique. Someone of quality. Someone of substance.

I'm so concerned with raising him well that I forget he is well meaning. I want him to be productive so I weigh him down with multiple tasks and expectations - so many of them that he cannot accomplish them well, and therefor seems unproductive.

Its time for me to get out of the way, and let him find his own way instead. And have faith that he will choose a way that, though not like my own path, will be a path that will lead him to a happy faith centered and others centered life.

Here are some cool things you should know (and I should remember more often) about Mason:

Mason is creative. He wants to come up with interesting ideas. He likes to entertain others with the thoughts of his imagination. Though he is nearly considered a man he still likes to play pretend like a boy. Not in a weird way; in a creative and innocent way. He was so relieved and excited one night after his weekly Young Men's activity. A new leader had been invited to join the group, and this guy is a comic book fenatic (as well as a pharmaceutical rep and a good husband and father). Mason was so happy that somehow as he finds his own life's path it may get to include COMICS! and Super Heroes! And regular guys who somehow get to do super extraordinary things...

Mason is interested in a wide range of things. Last summer he enjoyed learning about 'the greatest generation' and Nelson Mandella is is personal hero. He understands geography and he grasps the differences in other cultures. His travels last summer to the world Venture scout jamboree gave him new insight into religions like Islam, and a continued respect for and interest in other cultures and countries.

Mason is loyal. Loyal to his friends. Loyal to his family (including our extended family) and loyal to his faith. His hero is his grandpa, who has had to correct and cojole him on occasion when Mason goes to work for him. No matter. Grandpa could say anything, even in an exasperated tone, to Mason and he would still be revered and looked up to. He is trying to push through the roller coaster of emotions (annoyance, over confidence, a general "I know it all" attitude) that are part of teenage boyhood, and get to know his siblings better. He regards it a duty to be good to his little brother. He desires the approval of his sisters and is hurt and mad when the little girls at our house don't want to worship him. He desires the loyalty of his friends and of us, his parents. Loyalty is acceptance, its the feeling that you have someone's back and that they are looking out for yours. Mason wants that very much.

Mason does his duty. He goes to church meetings. He participates without complaint. He enjoys service of every kind. This spring he was invited to be part of the seminary council at his high school. This is not a position that is applied for, but instead it is something that you are invited to do. It means he has the chance to serve the student body of the seminary by putting on activities with the other council members. It is an honor he has been selected. It reflects his nature as one who desires to stand up for his beliefs. It deepens my faith in his ever growing testimony-he feels satisfaction and peace when he does what is asked of him in our church.

Mason is talented. He sings, he can draw, and he can write as well. Liberal arts suit him, and he is choosing to pursue creative writing as he enters college. Next year he will be on the yearbook staff. He is looking forward to an advanced graphics class and will be part of the school's elite singing group; the Ensemble. As he participates in all these fun things we hope he will continue to learn about himself, about what he is good at, and as important, about what brings him joy.

 Mason on his spring break choir tour to Disneyland, CA.

 In line at 6 Flags Amusement park near Dallas last Spring break

A boy working hard to become a good man

There is still work for us to do with Mason to help him be ready to grow up. I still fret and worry over him and feel an intense sense that time is not on my side as some very important life skills still have not taken hold on my boy. But its good to remind myself, and to tell the world, that I'm lucky I have a good kid. I'm so thankful that he is my son.