Friday, March 9, 2018

Motherhood: Chapter 1 - Welcome to your new home, the hospital

Have you ever noticed how baby talk is sometimes used a means to talk to others indirectly? Like, instead of asking the parent of a clearly pre-verbal infant how old they are, an adult will ask the baby and wait for the parent to respond. I guess it serves the purpose of interacting with the baby and parent at the same time but it's a weird dynamic for a first-time mom. "Oh sorry, were you talking to me? I was confused because you seemed to not be making eye contact with me at all." I do this indirect communication as well, but less as a means of connecting with baby and parent at the same time, and more as a means of explaining that I'm a good mom.  
As my baby is crying and fussing more than normal with onlookers:  
"Someone didn't get his morning nap!" 
My baby smells and I'm getting judgmental stares: 
"Do you need your diaper changed? Well, thank goodness we're almost home. It's too bad we used our last diaper. It's amazing how many diapers you can go through in one trip!" *Elbowing spouse* "I told you we should have packed more." 
Tired baby crying in the mother's lounge as I try to rock him to sleep: 
Me: "You're not hungry." 
I notice another mother feeding her baby and realize that I might sound like I'm withholding.  
Me again: "I'd feed you but I know you'd just use me as a pacifier and we're trying to discourage that..."  
He continues to cry and I eye the other mom.  
"I wish you'd take a pacifier." 
His crying gets louder.  
"Okay, I guess just this once."  
Angry child will not latch until his grievances are heard. Other mother pointedly looks away.
SO... motherhood. It's a big change. I meant to write about this months ago and to keep adding my thoughts as I learned more, but it's hard to do much with this guy. I guess I'll start at the beginning...

Just to protect our identities, I will refer to my husband as "Husband" periodically and our baby as "Baby."


Labor was hard.

Skipping forward...

When we came home from the hospital that first night, I realized that our house was my baby's first home. I stepped through the front door and saw everything with new eyes. I showed him our kitchen to the right (advising him to not look down at the ugly linoleum floor), I showed him the living room (describing how much nicer it was now--he should have seen it a week ago!), I showed him the bathroom ("Yep, we'll need to baby-proof this room."), then I showed him his room ("And this, my child, is all yours."). And then I got tired, cuz let's be real, I just delivered a baby. I sat down on his rocking chair, excited to be finally using it with my baby in my arms, and feeling like an old-timey mom. As I rocked him, something clicked in my mind that this new addition to our house was going to change it in a big way. 

I know I'm being repetitive here, but bear with me: this home and all my future homes would not belong to just me and my spouse, it was the baby's home as well. That previous "our," which included Husband and me, would now include Baby in reference to our home, car, family, etc. My husband and my simple, happy relationship dynamic would drastically change with this tiny, warm little squish in my arms. And I really liked how things were. My mind had previously categorized my relationship with my baby as separate from my relationship with my husband, but now things were overlapping. It would never be the same.

Overwhelmed with this feeling of loss, I wept. I felt so stupid for not making this connection before and wishing--well, what? That I had relished my previous lifestyle more than I had? That I had more of it? That I had waited to have the baby?

While we hadn't planned on having Baby when we did, we were planning on having kids and it really wasn't a terrible time to start (since we want more than one).

But I suddenly felt not ready, and I couldn't do anything about it.

I looked at his cute little face and I felt terrible for feeling not ready, and I then felt ashamed for not being happy. And then I felt ashamed for feeling ashamed. (And then I felt ashamed for feeling ashamed of feeling ashamed because I should know better as a therapist. I'm only half-kidding.)

I related my thoughts to my husband and he tried to reassure me that things were not all that different and that we'd be okay. He set up some Chinese takeout on our bed and got his computer to play Netflix as I placed a sleeping baby in his bassinet.





Then the baby woke up.

The next week was a blur--I was asleep, I was awake, I was cleaning my house, I was gingerly washing myself, I was gingerly sitting down, I was gingerly applying this vasoline-like substance to my breast parts (okay, I'll say it, "NIPPLES. I have nipples. Breastfeeding sucks!"... (pun intended)) Oh my gosh, so much gingerly. So much ow. People focus on labor and don't mention to post-partum pain.

Beyond the pain and anxiety, there was also a lot of holding this delicate adorable thing who sounded like a creaking floorboard.




Anywho, after a week of this, I started to form a routine in my head and gathered enough confidence to implement it despite my utter exhaustion. Then I noticed my baby wasn't acting like himself. His cries sounded more feeble, he didn't want to eat, he wouldn't open his eyes, he would cry as if in pain whenever I tried put him down, he grimaced throughout the day, and he had a slight fever.


I still remember the feeling of terror I repressed as I held him. I thought to myself, "It's okay. He's just colicky. I just ate something weird." And then breathing deeply and reminding myself that no one was about to die. "Oh my goodness, why does your mind even jump to something like that? You are so ridiculous sometimes!" I laughed to myself about my silly anxiety. CUT TO: image of heart thumping out of control.

As the day progressed, he continued to refuse to eat (both breastmilk and formula) and he felt warmer to me. I checked his temperature and it was something like 99 F. Nothing crazy, but still... I wondered if God was trying to teach me a lesson: "You were crying about not feeling ready? Well let me give you something real to cry about."

Silly thought, really. I know our Heavenly Father does not bully us (or talk like my dad). I guess I sometimes fear there's a mean side to God even though I've had ample evidence to the contrary.

Husband wasn't too concerned. We had just gone to the doctor and Baby had already gained back his birth weight. The pediatrician had told us that we did not need to take him in unless his temperature was above 100.4 F.

My husband was finally was able to get Baby to eat later that evening but he was still fussy sleeping (a form of sleeping that is also fussy). My husband had gone back to bed and though the baby hadn't woken me up for his next feeding, I couldn't sleep. I took his temperature again and it was 100.2 F.  I went through the same worries in my mind and then tried to shut them down.

"Should I just drive to Walmart and get some Tylenol?"

I nearly got in the car but decided that I would rather be worried with my baby then worried away, and I wasn't bringing him with me to Walmart. Not knowing what else to do apart from driving to the ER, I woke my husband and asked him to give the baby a blessing. He blessed Baby in a mumbled voice (I noted some repeated phrases and tried not to laugh) and then he immediately went back to sleep. The baby slept on as well.

I stayed awake for an hour debating on if I should wake Husband again and demand that we go to the ER. It was 1:00 AM and I was extremely tired. Was I worrying for nothing? It's just so hard to know if I can trust my worries when (1) I worry too much already and (2) I'm oh so sleep-deprived. And I would have hated to needlessly add to our already crazy high sleep debt when my husband had school in the morning. He had already missed a week of school. Plus he had midterm in a week and still hadn't studied for it (with all his new parenting shinanigans).

I checked Baby's temperature again and it had gone up to 101.1 F. He had breached the threshold.

Breathing deeply, I prayed to know if we should go. I didn't want to start this motherhood thing with midnight scares and unnecessary lost sleep. I got no answer. Angrily, I prayed again, voicing my concerns and my need to know in just this instance what to do.

In the silence, I held my little boy and told God in a prayer, "You know what? I don't care if this is unnecessary. We're going." And with that, I felt this small feeling of clarity in the back of my mind and something else that felt like loving approval.

My husband did not object to my decision or my insistence that he accompany me and we rushed to the ER around the same time in the morning that we had rushed to the ER just 9 days ago.

Baby's temperature continued to rise and he continued to fussy sleep. We waited for hours as medical personnel came in and out doing various tests and he would not eat that entire time. (At the 6 hour mark I eventually forced his mouth open and inserted a syringe to feed him formula.) His cries started to sound less and less familiar. I looked away as they inserted IV's into his foot and he shrieked in pain. Unable to hold back the tears, I continued to look away as my husband held our child's arms and sang soothingly in his ear as medical professional worked around him. The baby responded with calmer cries.

I was a mess.



When we were finally seen by the pediatrician (and moved to the pediatric ward), he told us that it was most likely just a virus--all the tests were coming back negative and the baby was acting more normal now that his temperature had gone down with the Tylenol. The doctor asked us to sign a release form to allow him to do one last test to check if Baby was all clean. This test was a spinal tap. I was given a document of all the possible horrific side effects. He then told us we would need to stay in the hospital for 48 hours just to monitor everything regardless of his test results. I kicked myself for not just getting the dang Tylenol.

At this point, I was more tired than I had been after giving birth, I was feeling a lot less worried for Baby's health, and I was eager to go back home. I looked at this stupid document and thought, "What if I don't want to risk it?" I'd never gone against medical advice before, but I entertained the thought for a good while. My child had been through enough for one day, and the doctor had as good as told me he just had a virus.

I asked again why this was necessary and he explained that we needed to rule everything out and that he would do this for his own child even if he hated doing the procedure. He again explained that it would likely come back negative but it was best to be safe with infants this young.

That argument that he would do the same for his own kid persuaded me. Well, why not one more test? We're gonna be here for 48 more hours anyway.

While we waited, Husband contacted some understanding professors, and I remembered that we had friends from our ward that were bringing us dinner and would not find us home that night. I texted a brief message about our situation and thanked them for their generosity. They texted back right away wondering if they could bring food to the hospital and also if we would like another priesthood bearer to come give the baby a blessing. I said yes to both. What nice people!

Hours later as my husband and I sat chatting about our new experiences of being parents and this awful one-night scare, the pediatrician returned. I knew immediately that he was about to give us bad news. He trembled as he told us that our baby had meningitis. (Cue sweet nurse to give me a hug.)

We talked about options for his care--a children's hospital would be best for this kind of thing--he didn't know if it was bacterial or viral--bacterial is worse--no, we hadn't had many visitors this past week besides my in-laws--if it was bacterial, he most likely contracted it from me since I tested positive for group B strep--this was rare--it was good we came in when we did--he doesn't seem to show any clear sign of meningitis so there probably wasn't severe damage done to his brain yet-- he was already being treated with two types of antibiotics and those were working against the infection if it was indeed bacterial--they had the best researchers at the children's hospital and they would take care of him--he would send his own kid to the one in St. Louis--they would likely send an ambulance or a helicopter--we could be at the hospital for 14 days if it was bacterial--

"So where would you like us to transfer him?"

"Well, if St. Louis is the best, let's go there." Husband nodded.

They left to gather paperwork for us to sign for his transfer to the St. Louis Children's Hospital.

I remember looking at my husband, surprised at his calmness. I told him that meningitis was a deadly disease and tried to impress upon him the seriousness of this information. I told him that the baby could die.

He responded that if it was his time to go, then it was his time. It was unfortunate but there was nothing we could do about it so why worry?

WHAT??

Who was this person?

Didn't he care?!

Blessedly, my therapist skills started to kick in and I sensed the shock under his flat affect. I was able to reign in my own emotions and be fully present. I don't remember what I said or did but soon we were both weeping. We prayed together and asked for the baby to be okay and for peace. After the prayer, I couldn't stop crying. 

Our friends from the ward arrived soon after the bad news and breakdown. The baby received a blessing, my husband received a blessing, and I received a blessing as well. The blessings were specific about the outcome: everything would be okay and the baby would fully recover. I was so happy to know in absolute terms that he would be okay, and I felt the peace and hope that I was promised in my blessing.



It made all the difference to have that knowledge the next couple weeks as stress mounted so that I could enjoy my baby rather than say goodbye every time I held him. I remember people asking after me and feeling like I ought to pretend to be more distressed. I didn't want people to think I didn't care or that I was pulling the same fake calm thing my husband had done prior to our blessings; I was just legitimately happy. Well, super uncomfortable and sad that our baby was distressed, but happy. (And occasionally allowing myself to entertain really sad possibilities and subsequently not okay for a free minutes.) But I was really okay. Our baby was going to be okay, and nothing else mattered.


to be continued... probably

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Battling the urge to over-simplify and do nothing

Yesterday my friend informed me that riots were happening in a town nearby. She explained a situation that involved a cop who had shot a Black drug dealer, allegedly in self-defense. After researching the situation more, it seemed clear to her that the cop was in the wrong and still got off.* This led to the riots near her home. She told me that she didn't understand why the Black community would riot and make themselves look bad by reacting this way.

This is something I hear a lot.

Why do these underprivileged people who face real injustice react to injustice through rage? Why are they doing this to themselves? Don't they know they're just buying into all the racist stuff out there? Don't they know that the peaceful route will lead to change? They just need to keep their heads down and go through things the proper way and eventually justice will take its course.

Yet, the case above does not persuade me to believe that. Neither do several cases of police brutality we've seen in the past few years. Neither does this story I just watched today:




It's scary that this level of racism is becoming mainstream again. I realize it's always been there in the background, but I'm horrified that some of the ugliest moments in our country's history are resurfacing with greater frequency. (Supposing that the coverage of these events has been static since the civil rights movement.) I thought we had thoroughly shamed confederates and Nazis... I digress.

I can't imagine what it would be like to have your loved one killed or nearly killed and hear authorities sympathizing with the perpetrator. It must feel lonely. It must feel alienating to hear your non-Black friends try and rationalize something that is clearly unfair and wrong. It would be really easy to start thinking in terms of us vs. them. It would be easy to feel like you need to do something big to get people to listen. It would be easy to do everything the wrong way and feel justified.

While this line of thought is scattered with thinking errors and does not in any way justify violence, I think it is useful to try and understand the experiences of those who are hurting. I think we do ourselves a disservice when we simplify the suffering of groups of people, especially those groups with whom we interact every day.



My heart is heavy. After watching the clip above, I felt like I should pray about it because I didn't know what else to do with what I was feeling. While I prayed, I thought of a scripture in the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 6) that was related to our day. As I read through the scripture, I added a few italicized lines that I thought were applicable to our situation. The italicized lines are not in the original.
10 But it came to pass in the two thousand and seventeenth year there began to be some disputings among the people; and some were lifted up unto pride and boastings because of their exceedingly great riches, yea, even unto great persecutions;
11 For there were many merchants in the land, and also many lawyers, and many officers.
12 And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches. These ranks were also determined by the color of their skin; yea, many were overlooked because of their darker skin, and others were privileged because of their fair skin. 
12a Many merchants, lawyers, and officers were of higher rank; yeah, they had riches, chances for learning, and were fair-skinned. Some of these merchants, lawyers, and officers gave favors to those of higher ranks and overlooked those of lesser ranks. 
13 Some of those of lesser ranks were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God.
14 And thus there became a great inequality in all the land… Men began to rise up and form groups and alliances against one another; yea, one organization blamed another for the state of contention in the land. Brother fought against brother and rank fought against rank at first only in word. Some groups then took up arms against other groups and others pled for peace. And thus there began again to be riots and all manner of contention among the people.
I'm reminded of a monologue about a victim of a riot. I posted this on another blog because it's one of my favorites, so you might recognize it if you read that blog. This monologue comes from an interview of Korean victim of the LA Riots. It ends at 18:35. There are other monologues in this set that are worth a watch.





Can you imagine what good we could do if we reached out to the marginalized and tried to understand their perspective? (On another note, can you imagine how much better our legal system would be if bad people of every rank people were held accountable for their actions??? But getting back to smaller, easier goals...) 

Maybe I'm just a naive little "snowflake," but I believe in community healing through open dialogue. I believe that building a Zion-like community (Mormon term) comes from battling the assumption that the only people you can trust look and sound like you or believe the same things you do. I believe that change doesn't come from standing idly by.

More from Birmingham Jail (you might notice I referenced this same letter in another blog post... sue me.)
"First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action;" who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season."
Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."
I love this idea of the "myth of time," or that Time is magically working to unravel all problems in our society. That the thesis, antithesis, and synthesis of our social realities will gradually lead to a higher status of human understanding (I think this called something like the dialectic of time? Please refresh my memory, sociology friends.).  I hear a strain of it regularly in the LDS community--that things will work out in the eternities, so don't fret. The problem with the myth of time is that it robs us of our power as autonomous individuals that can purposefully make the world a better place. Time is not a harbinger of change; people are. And God is the harbinger of progress. My belief is that God works through people to bring about the best changes.

A cool example of two unlikely groups interacting in a positive way:
https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2017/09/20/black_lives_matter_leader_wins_over_trump_supporters_if_we_really_want_america_great_we_do_it_together.html

*Editor's Note: After I wrote this entry, I spoke to the friend referenced earlier and asked permission to include her thoughts in this blog post anonymously. She informed me that I misheard her. She said that she had not done very much "research"--reading an article or two for the sake assessing how safe her community was--and had come to the conclusion that the evidence against the cop wasn't very convincing and the cop really had acted in self-defense. I myself haven't read anything about this particular case (I've been a bit caught up with natural disasters lately) but I think the direction of my thoughts would have been the same when she asked why the Black community was making themselves look bad. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Here's to stepping it up, or rather, back to normal?

To say that I'm disappointed with the results of the election is an understatement. There are some great articles and analyses about Trump out there that can really make you feel pessimistic about our future, but it's pointless and depressing to waste my time rehashing that. I feel it would be better to focus on something that is within our power to change. I would like to share my growing concerns for our society and my hope in humanity.

For the first time in my short life, I am starting to see the fragility of our social structures. I've taken for granted how everything in my world operates according to a set of social rules and norms and I've assumed those rules and norms would remain in place my entire life. I've thought of social, economic, and political meltdowns as far separated from my reality because...well, we've grown past all that in my modern America. And it's been easy for me to feel that way because I've been privileged enough to come from a background that was safe and followed all those rules. I have high hopes I'll never experience first-hand that space of no rules, cruel rules, or survival rules.

Maybe I've lived a sheltered life that doesn't reflect reality, but I am still shocked at the blatant bigotry and hatred that has reared its ugly head during Trump's candidacy. Trump has become a symbol for some of resetting the social norm to keep those feelings and behaviors checked and/or hidden from public eye. While you may not like the idea of a social force suppressing honest feelings, that social force creates a semblance of peace and acceptance for those who are the object of that hate. It would be great if everyone deep down loved everyone else, but in the meantime we could at least rely on law for bigger things and social norms for all other day-to-day interactions. It's not perfect, but those social norms (i.e., intolerance toward all isms and hate-speech) keep us safe.

As it is now, I fear for the divisiveness that is eating at our hearts, building intolerance and distrust in place of empathy and brotherly kindness. I fear that in the midst of grouping into our own teams, one team member will bite and the other team will bite back. 

I fear that one or more groups will become the scapegoat to all of our problems. 

While Trump may become less incendiary now that he has secured the presidency, there is a disturbed beehive of social rules that may be shifting, and hopefully only temporarily. He spoke of unifying as a nation and Secretary Clinton echoed similar thoughts. This gives me hope.

It also gives me hope that this country as been through a crap ton of hard times already and has a good record of rising above. It gives me hope that we have a rich history of under-privileged citizens and oppressed groups defying the old norms, changing them for the better, and/or responding with love to those acts of hatred and intolerance. We have a history of good people doing what they can to support those who are oppressed and raising their voices even when they could follow a safer path.

While things are still fresh, we can prevent harmful norms from returning to our society. We can become advocates and allies to neighbors who are targeted while remembering love and acceptance to those less accepting. I like the step-by-step guide I've seen online for those who wish to help:
1. If you see someone being harassed, do something. That could be as simple as sitting next to them on the bus and starting a conversation with them to try and block out the hate.
2. If you hear a colleague, friend, acquaintance spewing hate speech, confront them. Explain you disagree and find what they are saying harmful.
3. If you have a colleague / friend / acquaintance with a similar commute path as you, offer to ride the bus/train together if they are feeling at risk.

Maybe the shift I fear is much smaller than I think or just a hiccup. Maybe I'm getting worked up for something inconsequential. I'd love to be needlessly concerned. Either way, there is no harm in being more accepting and helpful to those less privileged than you or me. Here's a little inspiration from Birmingham Jail:
"We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial 'outside agitator' idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds."

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Adulting

There's this catch-phrase going around called "adulting."

I just filed my taxes. #adulting

Last semester before I work for the rest of my life! #adulting

We bought a house! #adulting

Cooking for the in-laws. <3 <3 #adulting

Changed my baby's diaper again.  #adulting

Paying my bills on time. ;) #adulting #responsible #adultingresponsibly

I think that the hashtag is meant to distract readers from realizing that the post isn't that interesting or funny. But then, that's kind of what all hashtags do.

Pizza with the roomies! #yolo 

(Other hashtags seem to function like parentheses, e.g., #sorrynotsorry, #sarcasm, #seewhatIdidthere) We certainly take great pains to make sure that we are perceived well and correctly. I can't judge though. I am all too familiar with instacurity.



Maybe #adulting bugs me more than other hashtags because its a made-up word that could be easily replaced by #adulthood. Like I said, most posts with hashtags are uninteresting, and I'm not bugged by those ones. In fact, I can relate to that feeling of accomplishment that comes from doing adult things for the first time. Facebook was made for announcements, and any event that gives you a sense of accomplishment ought to be shared with friends. #notsarcasm

Or maybe I am simply displacing my discomfort with growing up onto an innocent catch-phrase. I'm resisting the trend to complain/celebrate/bond about adulthood with others because I'm in denial about how tough it is. I naively thought I had adulthood figured out, but then I graduated, got married, and moved across the country.

JUST to be clear (and so I don't get concerned texts or phone calls), I am very happy. I mean that in the emotional sense and in the "I'm satisfied with my life" sense. We are truly blessed and we hardly deserve it. That doesn't mean that I haven't had an emotional breakdown every week, it just means that there are big adjustments to be made.

I suddenly have so much respect for every breadwinner out there who has the weight of providing for more than him or herself. I also have a deeper appreciation for the courage required to pursue one's dreams in the face of an over-saturated market. Even if I end up hating my job or career, I don't think I would be brave enough to try something completely different even if I loved that thing.

I think I'm also really homesick.

The other day, I saw a friend post a picture of herself starting the new semester at BYU. She had a huge smile and you could see the sun shining behind her on a beautiful campus I call home. I almost cried.

Even though I sometimes criticize BYU or roll my eyes at the Mormon worship of BYU, I can't deny that it holds a hallowed place in my heart. I had new responsibilities, sure, but it was liberating to be on my own. (The origin of my feelings that adulthood was easy).

BYU was a place I felt free to explore, wonder, and become something more. I was encouraged to think critically and develop, re-develop, and continue re-developing my thoughts and ideas. My testimony of the gospel was challenged by new knowledge but also strengthened as a result. I learned new social rules. I could be surrounded by people or alone if I wanted, and nobody would care. I discovered there that you could have meaningful conversations with strangers (and often never talk to them again). It was a place safety. I felt peace in most of the buildings that I sometimes couldn't at my apartment. I could go to the temple nearby when I needed more peace. I could go on...

I was feeling nostalgic the other day as I went through pictures of my freshman year. One image brought me back to a night I went to International Cinema with a new friend.  That night, I made the mistake of wearing cotton flats right after it had rained. We probably hit every icy puddle walking from old heritage halls to the SWKT, but that probably made it more exciting. It was a Friday night, and I was going to a movie on a whim with whomever I wanted, just because. I also felt very academic and indie.

By the time the movie ended, it had snowed about 6 inches. My feet were already a drenched in puddle water, but I had warmed them to a comfortable temperature during the movie. It was like... somebody had peed on my flats. I covered my feet in the new trash linings hidden underneath the used ones in the hall, and dashed outside to a winter wonderland.

It was SO beautiful. Without any wind to toss the snow, it perfectly draped the trees and the light posts. I was in awe. I paused several times on my way back while my pee shoes started to harden inside their bags. It was like a little present to me: "Welcome to a new era. You may get frostbite, but boy is it beautiful."



That sense of excitement and newness faded little by little as time passed, but the feeling of home never did. By grad school, I was jealously possessive of my home because I felt like I was being kicked out. Against my will, they were passing the title to younger students. What use did I have of its many buildings?? I only needed one or two anymore, and soon I wouldn't need them at all.

So the homesickness really kicked in before I moved. Maybe it's a good thing I can't visit all the time.

(Side note... I think I slept in every building I had a class and then some...That's like seven buildings... And I ate on campus at least five days of the week for most of my undergrad... It really WAS like a home!!!)

[Back to adulthood...]

I think the biggest difference between the adulthood I experienced going to BYU and now is that the excitement is replaced by fear. And maybe that's the biggest indicator of being an adult is that you have a greater sense of everything that can go wrong and you fear it. Maybe that's why it has a bad rep.

It doesn't have to be that way though. If you learned anything from my story, I had the option of despairing with my impending frostbite, but I was too distracted by a fancy tree. I shouldn't look out the window and see breathable water and mosquitoes, I should instead focus on all of the green and natural beauty of Missouri.

I guess.

Maybe I just need to see a really fancy Midwest tree. That'd probably make everything more exciting.


My husband is a dinosaur in his dreams.