Saturday, December 31, 2011

Full Circle


I love the cyclical nature of things: the rotation of night to day, of winter to spring, of one year to the next.  I love the circle of life and the onward, incessant march of time.  I am overcome when I think that it wasn't so long ago my mom was expecting me, her first child, and riding the same roller coaster of hopes and fears and dreams that I am right now.  And it wasn't too too long ago that my grandmother was expecting my mom, her first child, and had worries and joys of her own.  And it won't be too long (but don't let it be too soon!) before my first child, this baby girl inside of me, will be expecting her own child, and me, my mom, and my grandma will proudly move up a rung on the generational ladder.  

This time of year especially, I find myself contemplating the "ever-circling years" and the slow-but-quickening transition of sunrise to sunset.  Somewhat against my better judgment, I'm posting a recording of me and my sisters from last Christmas.  It's a song called "A Long Time Ago," and the first verse talks about a mother, Mary, lying by the side of her new baby. The second verse is about the Savior's life, and the third verse returns to Mary, kneeling at the cross of her dying son.  

The full-circle nature of that story--birth to perfect manhood to death--is, in itself, poignant and agonizing and bittersweet, but the fourth verse of the song draws a much wider circle around the event: centuries later, a mother kneels by the side of her small daughter in prayer and teaches her about the Savior.


I am, in turns, overwhelmed, inadequate, and in denial, but knowing I am linked to generations of amazing women--those who have gone before me and those who will come after, who have lived and who will live the same timeless experiences I am right now--strengthens me.  I felt close to Mary this Christmas, with my baby and my discomfort growing by the day, and I feel close to this girl-child whose shape I have blindly felt through various sharp kicks and pokes.  While I will never be a perfect mother, or even close, I pray that I will be enough.  


Lisa on alto, Sara on soprano, Lindsay on second, Liz (friend) on piano.  A Long Time Ago by Denise Orgill Ferguson, harmony parts by me.  Lyrics can be found here.  Bear in mind that this is in one take, that we're not professionals, and that it's not perfect--please listen kindly.  


Monday, December 19, 2011

Winter

We went caroling tonight with a group of people from our ward.  It was 65 degrees outside.  In the middle of December.  Just because I don't know how to carol without them, I wore an unnecessary scarf and a light jacket.  It was strange to sing Christmas songs on doorsteps without plumes of frosty breath or clenched mittened hands.  

I'm not really complaining about the weather--it has been beautiful outside--but with less than a week left before Christmas, I find myself needing to hold on to the memory of snow.  Here are some pictures of our Thanksgiving trip to Utah--we were able to spend a couple of days at my parents' cabin.  


There were a few inches of snow on the ground, along with some decent drifts.  It wasn't too cold--probably highs in the upper 30's--but the bite in the air was refreshing.


It'd only been eight weeks since we'd been there, but the scenery had changed drastically.  Compare this shot to the ones in this post--fall can change to winter overnight at 10,000 feet elevation.  There wasn't a single red or gold leaf left on the trees.


We went on a hike in the snow.  I almost died.  Crazy high elevation + cold + hills + out of shape + pregnancy = a lumbering Lindsay.


 Even though we won't be having a white Christmas this year, I'm excited at the prospect of celebrating in San Antonio.  

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gifts

Someone at church came up to me today after I'd sung in a musical number and said, "I wish I had your voice."  I had to laugh a little bit because my talent is modest and if wishes are free, why not wish for something spectacular?  (Julie Andrews, I wish I had your voice, circa 1964!)

But then I started thinking about how I take a lot for granted.  How there are people who can't carry a tune or sing the tenor line when it strikes their fancy or play a fun intermediate piano piece with their intermediate piano skills or even experience the simple joy of spotting typos (a recent favorite was "[my son was] memorized by the show.  Defiantly his first [ballet] experience." --My mirth was not malicious, I swear, but this totally put a smile on my face).  

Something I cannot do that others take for granted is to move in a graceful or pleasant manner.  I'm not talking all-out ballet here--even a simple sway, shoulder wiggle, or head bob to the beat completely eludes me.  A couple days ago, I was doing dishes and rocking out to some Christmas music.  I saw Jay out of the corner of my eye, and I turned to see him watching me, a huge grin on his face.  

"I like watching you move," he said.  

"Creepy," I said.  

Seriously, in GRE terms, Lindsay is to dancing as tone deaf is to singing (Lindsay : dancing :: tone deaf : singing).   That doesn't stop me from prancing around the living room every once in a while, though.  

I also can't visualize things, design, manipulate shapes in my head, drive without getting lost, maintain things (a clean room, my toenails, etc.), or organize (in a concrete or abstract sense) to save my life.  

It's easy to compare ourselves to others' areas of relative strength (why do we do that?), and it's hard to remember or even recognize the things we do effortlessly that may prove difficult for other people.  I found myself grateful today for the diversity of gifts we all have and the way they can synergistically work together for the edification of all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It is Safe to Say that This Will Not Be Me

I had an appointment last week with my doctor.  The appointment went well; my doctor took time to answer my questions, and based on measurements from the sonogram, Baby weighs 2 lbs 13 oz--she's in the 53rd percentile.  Hooray for average!  I was so pleased.  


(Sidenote: I have decided those 3D ultrasounds are freaky.  I am now going to have nightmares that my baby looks like the Joker.  I'll stick with the fuzzy and two-dimensional silhouettes, thanks.)


Anyway, as we were leaving, I made my next appointment with the scheduler (I'm now going in every 2 weeks!  How is it possible I'm in my third trimester already??).  We started small-talking, and she was saying she didn't know what to get her 9-year old son for Christmas.  Common enough dilemma, right?  


But then she says, "He already has a Wii and an Xbox and I just got him an iPhone for passing his TAKS test.  I would buy him games for his gaming systems, but he's only interested in his iPhone now.  My boyfriend is going to get him an iTunes giftcard, but I really want him to have something big to unwrap on Christmas morning."


She proceeds to tell me that her son has been asking for a new iPhone with 4G capability, but I guess even she has her limits.  


I tend to raise my eyebrows a bit when any kid under the age of 16 has a cell phone (some of my 6-year-old patients have them!  Seriously?), but an iPhone? for a nine year old??  For "passing" Texas' minimum requirements to progress to the next grade?  I'm all about praise and privileges and rewards, but... wow.


(I'm getting all my judgy-ness out of my system before I'm actually a parent.  I'm already aware I'll be doing at least half the things I self-righteously condemn, plus more.  Just let me live with my blissful ignorance for another couple months, okay?)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful


I started taking piano lessons from a talented friend last year.  I am not much of a pianist, but I love music.  I went to her house every couple weeks, played her beautiful piano, and then came home and practiced the best I could on my keyboard.  I've had it for a long time, and it has served me well in my various apartment homes.  I soon realized, though, that it wasn't adequate for what I needed--there is just too much difference between a piano and my sweet old keyboard.  


So Jenny, my teacher, tells me (a couple of times, actually) about this sweet old piano teacher she once had who bore powerful testimony that if you ever need a piano, you just have to pray for one, and God will help you get one.  I am a skeptic about many things, not excluding divinely delivered pianos, and so I smiled and rolled my eyes at the faith of her old piano teacher.


But I did want a piano.  And over the next several months, as I felt my frustrations mounting about different things in my life, most notably my body's seeming inability to conceive a child, I occasionally flippantly tacked "Heavenly Father, if I can't have a baby, at least let me have a piano" on the end of my prayers.  


I didn't think much of it or pursue my piano desire (where would we put it? how would we pay for it? would the neighbors lynch us?) until mid-June.  One Sunday, snap--just like that--I decided I was getting a piano.  I spent hours on Craigslist, looked at every piano listing, and made phone calls and sent texts and emails about pianos in my price range.  Jay patiently drove me all over San Antonio so I could "test drive" piano after piano.  Within four days, I had found the one.  It was beautiful--a massive 70+ year old, solid, dark wood, ivory keyed upright.  We bonded with the young LDS couple selling it and made arrangements to pick it up the next evening.


The next day, a few hours before picking up the piano, Jay and I were both home: Jay doing the dishes, me dinking around on my computer.  I was suddenly seized by the urge to take a pregnancy test.  I felt silly about it (I had gotten the too-familiar negative result just the day before), but 5 minutes later, I was staring at a tiny "positive" sign on the little stick on the counter.  


Later that night, putting a hand on my beautiful new old piano and another hand on the new life growing inside me, I imagined I heard gentle laughter echoing from Heaven.  I was awed--and humbled--and overcome with gratitude for my baby and my piano, both received on the same day.  


There are some lessons I seem destined to learn over and over again, but I can say that I learned for myself (again) on June 23rd that God loves and is aware of His children.