We are practicing living without Chick; he is in our hearts and in our prayers but not in our home. We have 279 hours down, 9,721 hours to go. If it truly takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery, we will be masterful at living without him on November 21, 2015. According to the same logic, he will achieve mastery as a missionary about that same time.
Thank heavens, God is not restricted by logic or research. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). With God’s help Elder Hislop will be a masterful missionary long before November 2015 and we should get pretty good at not having him in the house before then as well.
Actually, in some ways, I like not having him around…. This past week there has been a peace in my heart and in my home that I attribute to the blessings given to missionary moms, inexplicable but very real. I know where he is and what he is doing and who he is becoming and it is all good…very, VERY good; it does not take 10,000 hours of practice for me to recognize that.
Miles’ coaches recognized his diligence at football practice with a “Most Improved Player” trophy; they spoke of his willingness to work hard and to listen, his size (or lack thereof) and the fact he is not afraid of anything, X-men included. (Being afraid of the X-men is what mothers do…)
Tanah’s practice also earned her a trophy, though she did not receive it. In the season’s first tournament, she and Henry, her public forum debate partner, earned third place though a misfiled paper concealed this fact until after the tournament was over and the trophies had been given to others. This is the second time she has earned a trophy that she did not receive. We’re confident that with continued practice she will someday earn AND receive a trophy, though I am not sure I appreciate it when she practices debating on me. [“That’s a logical fallacy, Mom.”]
Grace has been practicing on me…… and on Lance and Tanah and her Young Women’s class. Recruited by her drama teacher to perform a Shakespearean monologue at a competition in Cedar City this weekend, she recited parts from a Midsummer’s Night Dream what could have been 10,000 times.
Ten thousand hours may not be enough practice to make us masterful parents of teens. Tanah met a boy at the state drama competition last spring and this fall he asked her out. No big deal, right? Well…..he has since graduated so he is now a BYU freshman, the play was in Provo, and the plan was that she would ride the FrontRunner (commuter rail) to the date. So…….we would be allowing our 16 year old daughter to ride public transportation two hours south to go on out with a college boy whom we’ve never met?!?! She would then catch the train home and call us to pick her up from the FrontRunner station at 12:30 a.m. Probably crazy but we let it happen. And, apparently it was the right decision; the stories she tells about it are all good.
I have a good story to tell…. Several years ago I lost one of a pair of Ragnar earrings. On a whim, I sent the following email to the company that makes the earrings.
Long ago, in the land where you are, a cousin of mine invited me to run a Ragnar.
"Run with me," she said after saying hello, "We'll run up the mountains and in the valleys below."
I said yes to her invite, running before and after the sun, and discovered that I had lots and lots of fun.
Wanting to remember the joys of the race, I looked in your store, which seemed a great place.
I found some earrings and fell in completely love but knew that I lacked money to buy even a glove.
I will reward myself, I vowed on that day, "When I have run 5 Ragnars I'll find the money to pay."
I ran not 5 but 6 Ragnar relays and went to your store without further delays.
I bought the earrings and wore them with pride; I loved having them on, I had nothing to hide.
I wore them hiking and met folks on the trail who, seeing my earrings, had their own race tales to tell.
Then one day, to my horror and dismay, I found that one earring had gone its own way.
Now I have just one earring, lonely and sad, and I am hoping, so hoping, there's another to be had.
So, please kind sir (or lovely, sweet lady), will you please, please, please take pity on me?
I've not enough money to buy a new pair but would love, so love, to have two to wear.
Would you send me an earring, if you've one to spare, so that I may have two, one for each ear?
Two weeks later I received a Ragnar earring in the mail. My writing practice paid off.
Currently we are practicing being polar bears and it is paying off as well. Aghast at July’s $214.22 electric bill I turned the thermostat off, effectively stopping all artificial climate control in our home. There were a few days when the thermometer in our home read 880 F but August’s much-greater-than-usual rainfall coupled with its much-lower-than-normal-temperatures were a tender mercy that all but eliminated our heat induced suffering. Now the suffering is on the other end of the thermostatic continuum. The power is still off; the thermometer read 600 F this morning…and the power bill read $91.37, $123.85 saved. One can put on a lot of layers of clothing for $123.87/month.
There are a lot of things we are practicing (like shivering in the morning) but there are a lot of things we are not practicing as well. Tanah is not practicing at Burger Bar anymore; she put her two weeks’ notice in three weeks ago. Mile said to me “I haven’t showered in 10 days.” Clearly cleanliness is not something he is practicing. After Tuesday Lance’s cross country team will not be practicing any more. This week his girls won the Region Championship (Grace placed 10th overall) and his boys team earned second. Tuesday both teams will compete at the State Championships. Grace is practicing eating popcorn and Starbursts, a practice that will end when she gets braces later this month.
One of the greatest challenges of writing is crafting an interesting beginning and an ending that is powerful. I have no idea how to end this letter. Guess I need more practice!!!
Sure love you,