Wednesday, January 18, 2012

With all the changes, who am I?

Where before we were a family of three, we're now four.
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And, where before I was a graduate student, now I'm not. I finished my graduate program in American Studies in Summer 2011 and my second daughter, Bridget, was born in September. Since then, I've enjoyed motherhood, complete with tons of laundry; time to read a book just because I want to; cooking up new ethnic foods, and trying to get my house in order. I've been so busy, I haven't had much time to think about what comes next. As I get to that question, I'm also wondering who I am now that I'm not earning money or a degree for my efforts. I'm not pursing a fulltime career right now because I value this time with my children.
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Of course, I'm a child a God, wife, daughter, writer, sister, mother. That's if you define me by roles and relationships, which I believe is one important way to define oneself. But, what if you define me by what I do? I no longer have a neat job title that says it all for me. In fact, as I was reading today, a quote from a religious leader of my faith by the name of Ezra Taft Benson stuck out. He wrote that today followers of God, of Jesus Christ, must have "'a style of our own' pertaining to success and self-image."
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I'm still working on that. But, in the meantime, I'm cherishing the simple joys of motherhood. In fact, I've been so busy for the last year and a half, I never filled in the details for my vacation to Canada, just over the border in Sault Ste Marie two summers ago. But, who cares, really? Are today's blogs just like our grandparents' longwinded family slide shows, minus the popcorn and the togetherness on the couch? Sometimes I wonder... And yet, they do provide a place to write, to communicate a vision of what has been, what is and what might someday be. For a writer who no longer has a place to write, maybe that's something worth striving for, even if no one reads it, but my sister. Hey there, Christie, are you reading?
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But really, here are some new pictures from the last year. I'm thinking I might play around a little more with this blog thing and see if it's for me. (Thanks Lara.)

1 comment:

Trisha said...

This is where my thing in my signature on my email comes from. I think you'll like it.

A woman renewing her driver’s license at the County Clerk’s office was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation. Emily had hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

“What I mean is,” explained the recorder, “do you have a job, or are you just a …..?”

“Of course I have a job,” snapped Emily. “I’m a mother.”

“We don’t list ‘mother’ as an occupation…’housewife’ covers it,” said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall. The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high – sounding title like “Official Interrogator” or “Town Registrar.”

“What is your occupation?” she probed.

What made me say it, I do not know. The words simply popped out.

“I’m a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations.”

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair, and looked up as though she had not heard right. I repeated the title slowly, emphasizing the most significant words. Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

“Might I ask,” said the clerk with new interest, “just what you do in your field?”

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply, “I have a continuing program of research (what mother doesn’t) in the laboratory and in the field (normally I would have said indoors and out). I’m working for my Masters (the whole darned family) and already have four credits (all daughters).

Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day (24 is more like it). But the job is more challenging than most run of the mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money.”

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk’s voice as she completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants. Their ages are 13, 7, and 3. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model (6 months) in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern.

I felt triumphant. I had scored a beat on bureaucracy, and I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than “just another mother.”

Motherhood…what a glorious career. Especially when there’s a title on the door.

:) Keep your chin up. This is a hard thing to get through, but you'll make it.

My wedding cake

My wedding cake
My sister, Christie, made my wedding cake -- all five layers of it. It was fondant, covered in fresh red roses and green ribbon. For a more modern look she chose to make a square cake.

Trip up the canyon

Trip up the canyon
OK, here's the truth, what Renn and I really look like when we wake up. After our first backpacking trip as a couple, Renn's hair looked like grass growing on his head and mine lay flat and matted as we walked out of the mountains.

Karen and Renn in Mexico

Karen and Renn in Mexico
This is us on our last day at the Hummingbird Inn in Maneadero, Mexico. It was a fun week of service with Engineers Without Borders. Renn and other USU engineering students helped put in drain fields at an orphanage, The Gabriel House, for children with severe disabilities. I helped dig some holes and wrote an article for the newspaper about the experience.