So. Its been a while. Kinda makes this awkward.
I feel like maybe I should introduce myself. I’m Diana. I like delicious food, hiking, and spontaneously dying my hair. I also like writing a lot, but haven’t had much time to do that over the past eight years or so. Apparently.
It was that third baby that got me. That toe-headed, toothy, viking child sapped the last drop of my creative mojo. Only now am I beginning to replenish. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of my shattered self-esteem. Raising girls will do that to you; expose all your vulnerabilities, personality flaws, physical defects. But its all worth it the day your daughter tells you, in sweet sincerity, “Mom, when I grow up I want to be just like you. Only with less swearing.”
A worthy goal, my child. My heart goes with you in your quest for awkward bad-assery minus the swearing. I bequeath to you this library card and a bottle of anti-depressants. Go forth and conquer!
My daughters are big kids now and there are pros and cons to that. I sometimes miss the smell of Johnson & Johnson, rocking them to sleep at night, our simple schedule. I miss spending all day with them reading hard-cover books, doing puzzles, finding worms in the rain, pushing and singing to them on the swing set, having impromptu picnics in the park. I miss the little drawings they would make for me and the dandy-lions they would bring me to float in cups of water- toddler love tokens.
But then I consider that I have not had to deal with anyone else’s bodily functions for a good, long while. I haven’t had to wrestle anyone to the ground to brush their teeth or give them medicine. I can shower without interruption, sleep through the night, and go on dates with my husband again. They’re old enough to enjoy Lake Powell, chapter books, and Stranger Things. They’re old enough to understand sophisticated humor and discuss complicated topics.
Life has changed dramatically and our schedule is crazy between school, friends, soccer, ballet, orchestra, teaching piano, and my return to college. To say nothing of the outrageous tide of anxiety-tinged teenage hormones. I’m transitioning from care-taker to guidance-counselor, preparing for the near-future of dating, driving, first-jobs, and high school classes. Its stressful, but it suits me. What is life but a series of adjustments?
Speaking of adjustments and my return to college (amazing segue, I know), I am currently enrolled in an online religion class. Throughout the course I’ve had the opportunity to consider more deeply what I believe about Life, its meaning, and the role of God and Jesus Christ in mine. Its been an unexpectedly spiritual experience. I mean, its a college class. I guess I anticipated something more scholarly than spiritual. But I have found it to be both. I never expected to understand Isaiah, but in proper context I’m beginning to. I’ve never understood Enoch’s allegory of the olive tree, but in proper context I’m beginning to. And in delving more deeply into scripture I’ve read before but never fully understood, I’m seeing patterns emerge. I feel like I’m seeing God differently.
In his talk, “The Grandeur of God”, Jeffrey R. Holland explains, “Jesus did not come to improve God’s view of man nearly so much as He came to improve man’s view of God and to plead with them to love their Heavenly Father as He has always and will always love them… So feeding the hungry, healing the sick, rebuking hypocrisy, pleading for faith—this was Christ showing us the way of the Father, He who is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, long-suffering and full of goodness.”
I know from experience that there is a predominant if misinformed view of the Christian-version God being a distant, volatile judge- doling out unfair rules and punishments- rather than the infinitely loving parent I believe him to be.
The more scriptures and commentary I read, the more convinced I am that God truly is “more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive.”-Joseph Smith
The more I study, the more I see God as a perfect parent- never forcing us, patiently teaching us, offering us comfort, allowing us to make our own decisions and learn from the inevitable consequences that follow, involved but not overprotective, always encouraging us to become our best selves, encouraging us to be thoughtful and proactive, forgiving us, loving us, blessing us, setting an example of happiness for us, allowing us to experience all the pain and beauty, sorrow and compassion of life first hand so we can grow and become more like him.
This November, in the midst of all the craziness that comes with parenting big kids, I’m so grateful for my life. I’m grateful for this view of God. I’m grateful for the opportunity I have to go back to college and get my BA. I’m grateful for my friends who are like family and my family who are also friends and the medication that enables me to be myself with them. I’m grateful for the music, literature, and nature that surrounds me. And although I sometimes miss my babies, I’m grateful that we are a diaper-free house and that I can occasionally find time to write.
Maybe more than once a year even! Slap hands!