Saturday, November 26, 2011

For JT

So I think it is pretty clear that I express myself better in writing. This may be due to the fact that I am a bit of a "passionate" person. And if you missed JT's talk on Sunday- "95% of the time that is a great thing... but the other 5% may be a little difficult" for those who live with or love me. (as I am sure any of my family, former room mates, or mission companions could tell you) So I have learned a way to deal with the "passionate" side of me.

I have warned JT that there is a price to pay for me being a Thinker and Not a Fighter. This means I take a long time to think through my feelings before I start any kind of argument or bring up any kind of issue. This isn't mature or noble of me, it is really due to the fact that I have to win- so I will not even begin an argument unless I am certain that I can prove I am right. JT knows when I am stewing on something, but he gives me my space until I have decided whether it is worthy of a fight or not. (in most cases- Not) Now, I am not bottling this all up. I would literally explode. I have a journal. Ok, Ok, we might as well call it a diary because it has little to do with real events or experiences. Mostly just a place to vent. To test out my arguments. To be passionate without consequence. So the price he pays for a kind wife - is a diary. A diary he is never to read, and may even want to burn when I die so that my posterity will not be shocked. It is a dangerous book to read. But after realizing what a One Sided Story it tells- I decided I should frequently insert the truth.

The truth that my life is wonderful. That my husband is my soul mate. That I am deeply happy.

And today- my Blog gets to be that entry.

This week was a hard week. Only my "diary" can hold all of it. We have been put through the ringer. I know that this spikes your curiosity- but that is about as much detail as you get. I wish I could say more. I was feeling absolutely drained when I saw that one of "my girls" was going through the Temple for the first time today to prepare for her Mission! (a girl that I have taught and adored since she was 7 years old!) I felt like this was the last thing I could handle this week. And yet I knew I wanted to be there for her. When I was getting the kids out the door early this morning to be watched by my Sister in law- JT arrived home from work. I wished he could be going with me- but he had worked long hours and needed sleep. I felt like I needed him with me today and yet I knew he needed sleep desperately.

As I entered the Temple without him I felt the weight of the week press down on me. I struggled to put on my Happy Face. To smile when I want to cry. To make it through.

And then it happened-

Right before I was to go in and take my seat, the line of people ahead of me shifted. It was truly as if the clouds parted and there he stood. Quietly laughing with a friend. I couldn't believe my eyes. I had just left him at home exhausted and half asleep! The minute I believed it was him and not just a dream- I began to cry. And cry.

This must have seemed ridiculous to those around me. After all- he is my husband. Hadn't I just seen him? Why would I be so excited? They had no idea.

To JT- You are my Hero. I would be so lost without you. I would be weaker and smaller. I would have forgotten myself a million times. I don't know what I did to deserve you. I know that I do deserve you. You were there when I needed you most and least expected it. You held my hand when I felt empty. You are my Best Friend. You are everything to me. I love you always-

And I hope this makes up for the 5% of "difficult passionate" that I have been this week.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Rollercoaster

It's early in the morning. But it isn't cold or damp outside like it would be in Washington. It's California. And it is our Nelson Family Vacation -1991. I eat a muffin and juice for breakfast and then take my Dramamine. My stomach is already twisting in circles and we haven't even left the hotel room to go to Magic Mountain. I am scared to death, but I know I can't chicken out. I am the fifth out of six children, and in a family like mine- saving face is everything.

There it is. The Viper. It is huge. It is red. And it is the biggest Roller Coaster I have ever seen.

Standing in line is like being tortured. I have to watch it scream and loop past me over and over as I wait for my turn.

And then it is my turn. My stomach drops. I look to my big brothers whose faces glow with excitement. Even my little sister appears ecstatic. Am I the only one scared to death right now? The belts lock. The bar comes down. Is this really going to hold me in place???

And up we go. Slowly I feel the pull of the cars ahead as we make the first climb. It is moving so slowly. Is this to build suspense? Or to fool me into placidity? Is it to give me time to rethink this terrible decision and beg to be let off? No. I am too high now. There is no way off this ride. I tell myself this is fun. After all, people are smiling... aren't they? We are close to the top. I can barely see my parents below.

And then the drop.

Lurching over the top of the small mountain the ride takes off. My stomach is in my throat. My heart is beating out of control. We are racing down the track. As soon as we recover from the drop I am pulled around a corner. Suddenly I am filled with excitement! This IS fun! I lift my arms from their death grip on the bar to extend them over my head. I start to smile. And then it happens. Suddenly I am upside down. My bearings are lost. My head is spinning. I am lifting off of my seat. The only thing connecting me to this planet is centrifugal force. (or is it centripetal force?? I must have been asleep in Physics the day we talked about this) I can hardly comprehend that I am upside down before I am swept into my next loop. Adrenaline is rushing through me. I think I want to scream with excitement. Or is it terror? Either way, nothing escapes my mouth. It is a giant hollow "O". My stomach continues to twist. I loose all frame of reference. I have no idea which way is up and which way is down or where on earth I will land in the end.

And despite my horror. Despite the suppression of throw up. Despite the unknown. I am enjoying myself.

I can see the last turn up ahead. I feel the machine contract and break as we come to slow down. I try to assess my feelings. Relief? Disappointment? Shock?

When we exit the ride I notice eager faces getting on for the next spin. I am wobbly. My heart is pounding. My brothers are cheering and high-fiving. My little sister is proudly boasting her lack of fear. Everyone is having the time of their lives. The fear has worn off. The more steps I take from the ride the more I convince myself it really wasn't so bad. By the time we rejoin my parents I find myself echoing my siblings in the desire to "do it again!"

Here I am- it is raining outside. It is definitely not California. I am not 12 years old. But all of those feelings are here.

These past few years have been a Roller Coaster that puts The Viper at Magic Mountain to shame. Just like that little girl had no idea what she was getting into- I was naive. I had no idea it would be this kind of a struggle to get into PA School. I had no idea I would be slowly pulled up a track for more than a year of prerequisites. I had no idea that the top would feel so high and so far from where we had begun and that the rush of the fall would be so intense. It was out of my control. I relied on the Centrifugal Force of Faith to keep me hanging on. There were moments that I lifted my arms and thought the ride was going just where I wanted it to. And there were other times that I just had to rely on a Nelson's desire to "save face." Convincing myself that this was a fun adventure. For over 2 years I have not known which way was up and which way was down. I have literally just been along for the ride....

But today, I think we pulled up to the station. I think the bar is being lifted and I am being released.

JT just got accepted to the University of Washington!!!

This is it. The ride has ended. The confusion. The unknown. The stress. The disappointment. The Hope. It has all slid into place and here we are.

Did it go by fast? As I begin to step away from this process will I just remember it as an amazing experience where our family grew closer? Will I think just about the fun parts where my hands were in the air? It has been up and down and up and down for as long as I can remember. And yet all I can do is smile and join in on the High Fives!


The ironic part is... it really is just the beginning. Now he gets to go through the grueling life of a student in PA school! So, I guess it is just like Magic Mountain. We are already begging to "do it again!"

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

why do we do this?


Why do we do this to ourselves? JT just finished a book about running where it stated that 8 out of 10 runners will get injured each year.

Do we do it for the shin splints? for the knee problems? for the joint issues? for the I.T.B.S. ? (which is the problem I have) or for the thrill of pain?

I can't tell why anyone else does it. And if you asked me 5 years ago I would have told you I wouldn't be caught dead running -- unless Nordstrom was giving away Lancome Mascara and the ONLY way to get one was to run...and then I probably would have bribed someone else to run for me. But here I am- Running.

Everyday I cinch on a sports bra, pull my hair back, and lace up my shoes to go to the gym. But there is something different when I do that same routine to go Running.

There is nothing better than a crisp autumn afternoon in Washington for a nice run. I actually ran through a crunchy pile of Maple leaves today! Talk about euphoric! The crackle of leaves breaking under my feet- releasing the warm smell of maple! I almost closed my eyes. (but I know better than that, I grew up with Maple Trees- and I know that under every layer of crispy leaves is the wet layer that hasn't dried out from last night's rain and will be slippery as heck!)

I think I may have figured it out. Why I run. I won't run on a track. I can't run on a treadmill. The only joy I find in running is outside. I think that is half of why I love running. Being outside. With the fresh air blowing past me (ok, ok, if you have seen me run - you know I am hardly going fast enough for anything to "blow" past me).

I discovered today it is the freedom I love about running. Just Going. Moving. Change. I can't run on a treadmill because I can't stare endlessly at the Bravo channel on the Gym's T.V. I suffocate on a track because I can't stand knowing that I am running in circles. Even running the path around the lake gets mundane. I like change. I like knowing I am getting farther and farther from a messy kitchen. Farther from the calls of mother hood. Farther from the duties of life. Closer to silence. Closer to being an individual. Closer to myself.

(I shouldn't have to insert here that I love my life. -but I will - I love my kids, my messy kitchen, my role as a wife and mother, that is not what this is about)

I remember something I started doing years ago at EFY as a counselor. When there would be a moment that I loved. That I knew I needed to cherish for forever. I would try to capture it by opening up my arms wide and inhaling deeply. Silently I called it my Freedom Stretch. I would absorb whatever wonderful moment it was. Usually a moment when I was alone and remembering a perfect part of my day. I did this on the Mission as well. Particularly with the sky. The sky was huge in Madagascar. I loved it. I loved feeling like it went on forever with endless opportunities. I loved absorbing the smells, sounds, and feelings from my mission.

And here I am doing it again- when I run. When I am sure that no one is looking - I extend my arms and run as fast as I can down the hills. When I am brave- I close my eyes. When I am nervous - I open them up and look up at the sky. I soak it all up.

What does this have to do with anything? My blog isn't about running. It is about my life.

When I heard we were moving to Rochester- I was nervous (of course) but deep inside I was starting to stretch out my arms and Run. I was getting off of the treadmill of reapplying that we have run on for 2 years. I was leaving behind a track that kept my life going in circles. I was seeing a giant new horizon like the ones in Madagascar. I knew I would need to be brave, to close my eyes and let it happen.

It isn't that I wanted to escape anything here. Just like I don't actually want to escape my children when I go for a run. It was just the thrill of freedom. Freedom to start from scratch. To redefine myself. To dream big.

Now- as the prospect of U.W. enters the picture - I have a lot to think about. I am hopeful that JT gets accepted. I know this is a great program for him. I know that it will be "easier" than moving (as everyone points out) but I am not yearning for easy. I know that whatever is right- will work out. I know it will be wonderful to stay close to family and friends.

I think I will just need to find a new way to feel that freedom here. To find that newness and change and adventure in my own backyard. And I think I will start by running.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Interview

JT interviewed today at U.W. for their P.A. program. (which is in the Top 10 schools in the country!)

We are more confused than ever. And maybe farther from an answer to our favorite question "Are you moving to New York" than ever before.

Of course we will need to wait and see if he gets accepted (should hear back in 2- 3 weeks) and then start praying some more.

One thing JT said today was how confident he felt during the full day interview. I think it helped to know that he was accepted to a very strong program in NY to help him stay calm. He said he wasn't nervous at all and was able to be calm and answer the questions easily. He didn't have to feel like everything was riding on this interview since he already has acceptance at Rochester.

SO, is Rochester just the back up plan? Do we stay here if JT gets accepted? Or do we say thanks to Seattle and pack our bags anyways?

I am not sure of any answers right now. The only thing I know- is that I am married to an amazing guy. And that wherever he goes, I am going also. He has not let me down. He has pushed hard for years to reach his goals. He has not given up, even when most probably would have. He has stayed positive and optimistic. He has been thoughtful and understanding of me. It is a huge undertaking to change careers after you have graduated, after you have an established career, after you have a family to support- but he didn't let that scare him. We have made a lot of sacrifices, and have many more years of sacrifice before we are done, but to see the smile on his face- and satisfaction in his eyes tonight reminds me that it is all worth it.