First of all, I know this is too long to read. I hope my kids will read it and if they do that will make me happy.
This is the day my very first baby was born--seven days late, I might add. I was so happy, so content, so new-motherish. Phil couldn't stop beaming. Trent was a wonderful baby, but not a cuddler--I think that's changed--he has seven kids, after all. He was always leaning back, looking at everything. He has never gotten over this habit. Everything fascinates him. When he was a teenager I had to tell him, "Go to bed and stop being interesting!" I blame him for my night owlish habits that got etched deep when he was a teen--but, don't tell--it sure was fun to be up late with him. He has the best heart--would do anything for anyone, and does volunteer work for the Sheriff's Department. When he leaves here, with a car full of kids, he always makes two circles in the cul-de-sac and the kids--and me too--love it. He is quirky as well as hard working. Everyone should be a little quirky and he does it well. He would go anywhere to help and has, even in the middle of the night. There seems to be a middle-of-the-night theme to his life.
Next--four years later--came Taylor, the cuddler. A fast delivery--forty-five minutes (Phil reminded me it was 20 minutes--it seemed like forty-five, times five) once we came through the hospital door, but seven days late. A chubby, happy baby. Then, at about year one he got sick, lost the chub and never put it back on. Well, until he worked in the bakery at a restaurant, when he was a teenager, and ate half a dozen rolls, hot out of the oven, slathered in butter, every morning. When he realized what was happening to his fit form he gave up the rolls for slimness. He is now a great cook and the things that boy cooks/bakes are divine. He asks us to Sunday dinner often, and we can hardly get there fast enough. Whenever his department (at BYU) has a cooking contest he takes first prize--every time. The last one was called, "I don't know what's in it but it sure tastes good." He reassures me when I am doubting and when I am worried. And the things that boy says! Totally off the wall. We're always laughing. His sister-in-law says he has "an excess of personality," and he does. He is quirky but tender too. Reads to his girls every night and then says and does things that keep his wife laughing--and shaking her head in disbelief.
Hillary, my first girl came 2 1/2 years later, two bloomin' weeks late. Her name means "happy" and it fits. Everyone loves her. She woke up happy, was happy all day and went to bed happy. I often tell her I think she is really Aunt Pat's child that got misdirected. (Aunt Pat was a total joy and I have moments of stoic grumpiness.) She has more friends than you could count and they all think they are her favorite--and they probably are. When she calls she often says, "It's me!" in the kind of a voice you would use to say, "You won the lottery!" And with her as a daughter we think we did. She is easy going 99% of the time but when she says she doesn't get mad, she gets even, she means it. She is the bestest friend a mother could have and we "play" often but not often enough. It was the saddest day of my life the day she left home. She is funny, compassionate, strict with the kiddies but says such off the wall things to them that they now say off the wall stuff too and we hoot with laughter.
A full five years later came our last boy, Bentley. He was three days early. Way to go, Bentley. Blond and blue eyed. A self assured little boy. "Counting" never worked for him. He just looked at you as if to say, "What kind of silly manipulation is this?" He was slow to read--wanted to be outside, in any kind of weather. When he was ten months old we couldn't keep him from crawling into Bear Lake--c-o-l-d Bear Lake. The first book he read was "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nim," in second grade, and from then on he was an excellent student. Nothing stopped him from good grades. We never had to say a word. He's put himself through college with scholarships and hard work. He makes me laugh and his laugh makes me laugh more. Then he laughs more and on it goes. I'm almost laughing just thinking about it. My favorite time is having him in the kitchen when I'm cooking, him hovering over me, holding a spoon or a fork, saying, "Maybe I should just taste that." He does love good food. He calls me for cooking advice, which I love.
Our last baby, Elizabeth, was a surprise. Nine years after Bentley was born--our oldest was 21 and on a mission. She was five days late and the doctor hurried her delivery--she's been mad about it ever since. When I wrote an April Fool letter to Trent with a bunch of silly stuff and wrote "The Rabbit died," (we had a powder blue VW Rabbit) he knew I was pregnant. Mom had died the year before and I have always been sad she didn't get to hold this beautiful baby. But, I'll tell you a secret. I think Mom is with her a lot. She looks a lot like Mom too. She is sassy, funny, and smart. I love staying up late with her--there's a staying-up-late pattern here--and I love when she leans over the back of Phil's recliner and talk to me as I'm on the computer. She is independent and determined. She should go into counseling as she can "read" people and sees things no one else does. She doesn't take any guff, well, at least not from her parents and I wonder where that strong will will take her. Good places, I think. Her grandma Snyder was hard headed and we think she watched from Heaven and took note. She is just two inches taller than her tiny grandma and sometimes, when I catch site of her, she takes my breath away as she is so pretty.
These are the things I am most thankful for.
Except for my main thankful, the man I fell in love with so hard so many years ago. He is my strength, my lifeline, brings sanity to my insane moments. He is positive when I doubt. He is steady when I waver. He holds me up when I fall down in a quivering mass of of self doubt. He is the Priesthood holder that I look up to. He goes forward in faith when I whine and look over my shoulder. (I'd probably be the pillar of salt. Well, not really, but I might be a pillar of tears.) He likes facts and numbers while I like Science Fiction. Numbers are Greek to me--I don't even know my own cell phone number. He has every church book ever printed. (Well, he wishes he did.) If you ask him what he wants for a birthday or Christmas he will whip out a 3x5 card that has a list of ten books on it. (He always has 3x5 cards in his pocket.) He is faithful in his church duties and goes the extra mile. He loves his children. He would walk through fire for them but can't express it. I'm the expressive one but he is the one who never steps off the mark. I'm all over the place, dancing along through life, laughing over my shoulder, until I bump up against an obstacle and then Phil rescues me and makes the bump on the head all better. He is a no nonsense kind of guy, so when he says things that are odd, I take him seriously instead of seeing the "funny" in it. Once I learned how funny he really is and quit taking him so literally, life has been a lot more fun. I hope to live through eternity with him by my side.
These are my biggest thankfuls. And my parents and siblings--there is no way to adequately give them the honor they deserve.
Also I adore the people my kids married, and are dating. How did my kids pick so well? I love their partners as if they were my own children. They each have wonderful qualities that complete my children and I honor the parents that helped make them who they are. I am lucky. And blessed.
And up too late, as usual.