Today marks 100 days since my dear friend Katie left this life. In 1994 when she left to serve a LDS mission to Japan I wrote in my journal the night we said good-bye about how I would miss her (I don’t remember ever missing anyone as much as I did her that night). As I read it again tonight, 20 years later, I realized that all the reasons I missed her then are still the reasons I miss her now.
Feb.5, 1994 — 20 years old, Utah State University
“Katie just left my apartment. I feel so overwhelmed and alone right now. I won’t see her for a year and a half. She told me to “risk,” “break-out of your comfort zone,” and “don’t get married until I get home!” We talked about the fun we had at Snow College and the memories that went with that great experience. We talked a lot about her family – her mom especially, Katie really loves her mom. She has such a lot of love for so many people. I admire that willingness to know people. I have been crying for the last 20 minutes. When she left I walked her out to her car and said our goodbyes. It’s so hard to leave such a good friend. I’ll miss our talks – I’ll miss how she understood me, because sometimes that’s the one thing you need to stay sane. I will miss her calls because she always knew the right things to say. I love that girl. She has been the one friend that has stuck through life with me. She was there in elementary when no one else was — she was there in Jr. High to listen to all my dream boy crushes. She was there in High School to make sure I had good friends to hang out with. But….above all else, she hasn’t forgotten me. We must have been friends in heaven. I know she will do an outstanding job on her mission. She is a perfectionist and therefore she won’t leave anyone or anything out. Life is short, let’s do the most we can. What a good example I’ve been given. She’s the best.”
The day I heard his heartbeat, the doctor nodding his head as he listened, I knew that I wanted do this. To be a mother. A few weeks later Kory and I left to visit Hungary, touring the streets and tasting the food—and this little bean growing inside me was on my mind. I struggled to stay full, became light-headed on the bus (sat right on down on the dirty floor), and felt beyond exhausted. And I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to do this. When the ultra-sound tech told us we were having a boy, my heart melted and my eyes cried. A son. And when he was born and I held him, watching his eyes find mine as I talked, I knew, I was meant to do this.
We brought him home in the fall to our “Little Pink House” and wrapped him tight in a baby blanket. This little person, who was half me, didn’t know he was the one who had transformed me into a mother. He didn’t know that he alone had turned the “Little Pink House” into magic with his presence. That his little newborn diapers made me laugh, his dimple made me smile, and his toes fascinated me. And that one day he would call me the most beautiful name, Mom.
We moved on from the “Little Pink House” three years later after Emma was born, and thankfully, I moved on from the “leisure trouser jean” too. I still drive past that house and think about those first few days with Hayden. I think of how little knowledge I had about being a mother, yet, somehow, I had been given the gift of trying, of doing my best each day, for this little man who must have known all along…that I could do this.
Are your mornings crazy? Yeah. Mine too. I started thinking, what can I do to help ease the stress I feel during morning?? I came up with this short list of five actions in five minutes.
1st minute: Make your bed.
My friend Lindy gave me this advice after the birth of my third child. I was so exhausted, and felt the pings of anxiety at every turn. Not to mention that my house was a mess, no, a disaster! I know there are women out there who have babies and bounce right back into the swing of things, scrubbing floors and washing windows. Not me. Housework was at the back of my priority list. I was on the constant (very sad) count-down for when my maternity leave would end. As such, I wanted to hold Maggie all day long. And, I did. I was telling my friend Lindy that I was feeling a bit like a housework failure in the midst of taking care of this new baby. She said, “All you have to do is make your bed each day. I promise, each time you walk into your room you will feel calmer.” She was right!
2nd minute: Write in a gratitude journal.
Writing what you are thankful for will center your thoughts and help you see past the gloom and doom that some days offer. Keep the journal by your bed. Take 30 seconds to collect your thoughts, and 30 seconds to write a few lines.
3rd minute: Pray
Sure, it sounds like 60 seconds is a short time to pray in the morning. But 60 seconds is better than zero. Find time to be still and kneel in thanks. Try praying for a friend, or someone in need. There is calm healing within the greatness of a higher power.
4th minute: Hug. Hug. Hug.
Before my two older kids leave for school I give each of them a hug. Would I like longer than a Nano-second from each? Yes. However, over the course of the day I hug them as often as I can, which averages 10 times a day for each of my three kids, coming in around two-seconds a hug, or one minute of calmness.
5th minute: Figure out “What’s for Dinner”
No, no, no…this doesn’t mean MAKE dinner. A meal plan is awesome if you are an organized Betty. I pretend I am. Some weeks I post on the fridge the meals for the week, but most of the time I scramble after I get off work to piece together a nutritious meal — and by nutritious I mean Domino’s Handmade pizza. Truth is, when I think about dinner BEFORE I leave for work I have added Zen all day long…ahhh.
If all else fails and after five minutes of calm you still feel jittery, start your day with a bowl of ice-cream. Trust me. It’s calming.