this week has been an interesting one.
Sunday night i went to bed all gushy and warm and fuzzy from a wonderful general conference. my (smallish) appetite had returned (translation: i can eat more than bread + fruit! yesss!)-- and so i was stuffed from donuts, homemade waffles + syrup (a conference MUST), famous berry pie, and lots of other deliciousnesses that i can't remember right now. my soul was stuffed too- full of inspiring messages and motivating words from our wonderful Prophet and Apostles.
then Monday came, and along with my least favorite laundry, we started the week all stuffy and coughy and weird and gross. yuck. the day wasn't a good one-- i can't exactly remember why other than i generally dislike Mondays- the girls were grouchy- they kept making messes where i had JUST mopped or JUST picked up for the hundredth time, i had a stomach ache (undoubtedly from eating so much junk), and i'm sure i received some annoying bills in the mail, because it's Monday, and Mondays are for all the annoying stuff like that. i distinctly remember going to bed with the thought: "i don't want to be the mom. i just want to be the kid." a thought that had been lingering for a few days...one that i'm not proud of having.
that night, Alice had a rough night (yes, we're still having rough nights. luckily only 1-2 times a week now, but still. i've concluded that she's having night terrors. it's very sad. and exhausting. for everyone). i went through a wave of emotions- first i was patient and kind. then i got annoyed and frustrated and thought, "calm down child! i need sleep!" and then she did calm down and i got some rare cuddles and i felt blessed.
the morning came extra early (because isn't that how it always happens?) and i was not in the mood to start life already. i looked at my phone to check the time, and went through my apps to get caught up on the gossip of the world...and in my instagram feed, one of my dearest sweetest friends had posted a picture of her and her sister-in-law with a somewhat cryptic message that something tragic had happened to her. i texted my friend right away to see if everything was ok. it wasn't.
she informed me that her brother, Nate and his wife Jennie had gone on a getaway trip to Hawaii, without their kids. they had been there for a few days when they took a motorcycle ride up the Akoni Pule Highway- in oncoming traffic, a driver swerved out of center divide- and Nate swerved to miss the car. i don't know the exact details of the accident- but i do know that Jennie was killed on impact, and Nate was life-flighted to the hospital. according to my friend, Nate will be ok physically. but they lost their beautiful Jennie- a wonderful mom, wife, sister and friend- and at 32 years old, leaving behind 4 young children. 4! (you can read the article in the Salt Lake Tribune here).
this incident has been playing over in my mind again and again. while this is one of my closest friends' families, i didn't know Nate and Jennie super well- i had spent time with them a handful of times, but they were already married and had their first little girl when we were in high school. i do remember Jennie being the kindest person- and i remember that she and Nate were so sweet together. it was a relationship that i admired. and yet even though i didn't know them personally super well, this situation has left me so numb. for the last three days, it has consumed my thoughts, my prayers, and my actions.
i've had moments where i've felt extreme sadness- reading beautiful tributes (like this one), and seeing pictures posted of her and her children and siblings and loving husband. it is so heart-wrenching to know what an incredible hole she has left. how difficult for her children to lose their mother- and how difficult for her husband to lose his best friend. and for everyone else who was touched by her overwhelmingly good influence- i know she will be so deeply missed- and it is so sad to realize that. and then to have those uncomfortable imaginations creep in: what if that was me? what if that was M? or what if that was my sister?
i've also had moments of extreme guilt- like, how can i be so selfish to have a thought like, "i don't want to be the mom. i just want to be the kid?" or "i need sleep!" i'm ashamed and embarrassed. it makes me realize that sometimes i walk around giving off an irritable and invincible vibe- like i'm in control and stop bugging me. i've had the immense impression this week that really life is so so fragile. and precious. and getting to be the mom is an incredible honor and gift from Heavenly Father- and sleep can be had later- but hugs need to be had now. and teaching moments and loving moments need to be had now. the dishes can wait. the crumbs on the floor can wait. the dumped-bucket-of-blocks-for-the-hundredth-time-that-day can wait. those little moments of story-time, singing and dancing, prayers and scripture reading need to be had now.
and then those thoughts have given me moments of extreme gratitude- where i just want to hug my girls so tight- and M too. because i dont' want a day to go by without them realizing how special they are to me. i can't imagine my life without them- and it breaks my heart into itty bits to even comprehend what that might be like. it makes me so grateful to know that M and i were married in the temple- i know that the temple has a sealing power- a power so strong that not even death can break it- which means i'll always be with them- and it means that Jennie and Nate will be together forever too.
and so, even though it's been a funky emotional birthday week, tonight, on my birthday eve, i'm heading to the temple. to be reminded of those special covenants. because it's been too long since i've been. i'm hungry for that special nourishment and spirit that can only be found in our temple home. i know it's where God wants us- to be taught, to be near Him, and to express our love and gratitude for all that He has given us.
to the beautiful Wahlstrom family: i love you all so so much. your family is a beacon of faith and love-- i hope God will be with each and every one of you in this incredibly challenging time- offering comfort and peace with time. sending you all lots of love and hugs.
and to all of you beautiful people out there: i love you all! hug and hold those you love extra tight tonight- i know i'll do the same.