I just returned from Utah where I settled our seventh child into his new life as a college student. I know you get this a lot here, but WHERE DID THE TIME GO?! It doesn't help that Sam skipped his last year at home and jumped into college a year early. Good preparation for mission and life and all but not enough time for Mom to take in the reality of another fledgling leaving the nest. I have a firm grip on the reality that my job is to work myself out of a job. I want my kids to learn and grow into upstanding, independent, hard-working, mature, useful adults so I can't complain when that is what they actually do. But I can complain that it happens too fast.
I took Sam out to Utah a few days early so we could take in Education Week. It has been a dream of mine for lo these many years to go to Education Week but it never seemed to work out with the constant scheduling complications of a big family, not to mention the moves from one state to the next--and one coast to the other. So, this year all of the planets aligned and even my frequent flier miles added up to allow the luxury of some Mom-time basking in the hallowed halls of learning at BYU.
You may have gathered from my blog that I am a bit of a Pollyanna--an annoying optimist--but even I was surprised at the many ways this trip seemed especially blessed. It started when I checked in for our flight. I saw that we were seated in first class. Of course this had to be a mistake! I had paid with frequent flier miles and I was lucky to get a flight that was coming and going at the time I needed to come and go.Usually there are so many restrictions I'm lucky to leave within a month of my hoped for travel. I worried that I had clicked on an upgrade and would be charged an arm and a leg for my mistake. I checked my account and saw that I had only been charged the $5.00 fee per flight as expected--I would get to keep my arms and my legs. I printed off the receipt just in case there was any doubt about Sam and I having a seat on the plane--let alone a seat in first class! I have flown first class before but that was back in the days of Andy's premiere, business, special super duper traveler status.
So then, as I was packing. I pulled down a bin of summer clothes I hadn't looked at for a few years. I pulled out a pair of capris and tried them on and felt something in the pocket. I knew it was money and figured it was a couple of bucks. But when I pulled it out, I was pretty happy to see two twenties. I'm thrilled if I find a quarter so I was feeling a little giddy--although I had to wonder how I had managed to pocket 40 bucks and forget about it--that's a concern all of its own!
We got up the morning of our trip well before the crack of dawn to beat the morning commute traffic to JFK. Sam had packed everything he owns into our biggest suitcase and we didn't have time to weigh it. According to my serendipitous first class accommodations, we each got two free checked bags. But that would only be IF those cushy accommodations were ours for real. And there was still a weight limit of 70 pounds. Even if you are fancy enough to travel first class, they still have some limitations on the pounds of belongings you can haul on your trip with you.So, you know, maybe you can only take five gold bars instead of ten. We got to the airport an hour early and got in the special line for awesome first class people.
I was holding my breath hoping that my first class tickets would be legit. As we stepped up to the counter, I handed our boarding passes to the airline employee. She glanced at them and told Sam to put his suitcase on the scale. 76.6. Oops....too heavy. She looked at the flashing number and said, "This is way over. I don't have time to deal with it. Just go." So we went. We got to the gate just as they were boarding first class so we found our comfy accommodations and settled in for the flight. Sam fell asleep immediately. It was nice that he had room to stretch out his long legs and get some real sleep. I could have used some shut-eye myself but I didn't want to miss a thing: Juice in real glasses. A delicious breakfast served on real dishes with real silverware--we were even entrusted with a butter knife! Seriously! The omelet and biscuit were tasty and the fruit was ripe and sweet. Then, the warm towel. Such a civilized way to travel.
After landing in Salt Lake City, we were fortunate to have Spencer and Adrianna there to pick us up. We enjoyed the drive to Provo visiting with them. After a quick stop for lunch, we drove to Siara and Tyler's house--our hosts for the week. Just as we were turning onto Siara's street, the car began to sputter and gave out right in front their house. Don't worry-- they were able to get it going again later--but thankfully it didn't sputter out on the freeway. Imagine hauling Sam's 76.6 pound suitcase down the road, hitching a ride.
One of my all-time favorite authors is H.Wallace Goddard. He is an author of some very helpful books and he writes for Meridian Magazine. I was pretty thrilled to see that he was speaking at Education Week. One more unexpected blessing this week! After our long day of travel across the country and in spite of the time change and jet-lag, I marched up to campus that evening and attended his class. I have given his book "Drawing Heaven Into Your Marriage" to each of our children when they got married. They may not realize it is the best gift they got until that nice mixer wears out and the pretty towels are threadbare. About that time marriage begins to require some soul refining and humility and charity. And about that time, this book will be waiting. But I digress, the man knows what he is talking about and he brought the Spirit and I was scribbling notes as quickly as possible to keep from missing any of his pearls of wisdom. 'Twas a beautiful beginning to a wonderful week of learning.
A few days before I left for Utah I got an email from my FAVORITE Institute teachers from our California days. Becky Davies and Lesley Meacham. They were a last minute addition to the Education Week schedule. So glad I am still on the mailing list for the Poway Institute! Another bonus: I got to bask in the glory of their amazing insight into the scriptures and enjoy a reunion with many dear friends from our old Poway Stake. It was heavenly. Sam even rolled out of bed and joined me for their classes.
One of the many insights they taught on symbolism in the scriptures.
Then, I happened to find my favorite ice cream in the little kiosk at the Cougareat one day after lunch (Cherry Vanilla, thanks for asking). And as I was strolling through the Wilkinson Center enjoying that, I ran into these guys:
I just wanted a quick picture of them to prove that I actually saw them,
but they insisted that I get in the picture. So there I am awkwardly
trying to shrink down so as not to tower over Stacy and Mallory and also
keep a grip on my ice cream and my book bag.
And the guy taking the picture insisted on his expertise at phone photography and
they all endorsed him--but the picture is blurry!
But, you know, it's still Studio C so hey!
And, as if that weren't enough, one day while I was on campus, I came across an exhibit in the Joseph Fielding Smith building. It was all about the history of BYU as well as education in the church.
I read every plaque and soaked up all of the pictures and artifacts. So much of what I was learning about the
importance of education and the importance of learning by study and also by faith, fit my personal philosophy as a mom teaching and guiding learners in our home for so many years.
A much needed reminder of why I do what I do.
And why it matters.
This has turned into a novel--let me find a conclusion here somewhere...
Sunday Dinner at Siara and Tyler's
She is the hostess with the mostest!
The main serendipity was family time with Seth and Taylor, Spencer and Adrianna, Siara and Tyler.
With Sam there now, half of our children are in Utah Valley!
Since they are all gainfully employed and/or going to school,
we were somewhat limited in times that we
could all be at the same place at the same time.
But we did our best.
It's always fun to catch up with all of them.
Did I take pictures of all of us together?
No...I tend to be in the moment when we are all together.
I did take this one of Siara cutting her little brother's hair:
And Sam and Wolfie cat-napping
Is this post ever going to end?