Patrick with Elder Nielson, the first missionary he ever met, 1998.
In the greater Brisbane (Australia) city area, if there is a news report of a stabbing, armed robbery, police car chase or drug-related arrest, chances are it’s in the southern suburb of Logan. So, obviously, that’s where my sixteen year old son was called to serve for a week on his “mini-mission”.
Cue parental heart attack, anxieties and worry.
I dropped him off one Saturday morning to the missionary flat, where two elders came out to the car to help with his bike, his suitcase, backpack and groceries. A final “Bye Mum, love you” tossed over his shoulder and I was driving back home, an hour north of where I’d just abandoned my firstborn to the cruel uncaring world. The entire way home I was praying – pleading – with God to make sure Patrick would be well, and happy, and gain something positive out of his mini-mission (and not be mugged, or hurt, or…) Continue reading
Lorren Lemmons is an Army/dental school wife, bone marrow transplant nurse, and mother to a very energetic 8-month old. A country girl from Idaho, she is now learning to love city life in Los Angeles. In her abundant spare time (ha!) she loves to read, write, watch Dr. Who, and eat strange and exotic food. She blogs about books at http://thestorygirlbookreviews.blogspot.com and about everything else at http://whenlifegivesyoulemmons8.blogspot.com.
I listen to the voicemail, tension hunching my shoulders. I’ve been waiting for this call for two weeks, but I’ve still managed to miss it. The HR representative’s introduction seems to last minutes rather than seconds. Finally she says, “I have good news. Bone Marrow Transplant would like to make you an offer.”
My first reaction is joy. This is my dream job – a nursing position in the area I am passionate about, located in a prestigious hospital with an award-winning training program. Our bank account is growing emptier, and my husband and I have been praying that I would find a job for months. The fact that those prayers have been answered with this job is a blessing that I hardly dared ask for.
However, as I watch my son smiling and giggling because he sees that I am happy, I pause. For the last six months, I have been with him every waking moment. We’ve experienced the greatest trials of my life, including emergency room trips, hospital stays, and postpartum depression. Becoming his mother amplifies all my joys, too – my marriage, my faith, the simple beauty of the world, all are more powerful as I experience them through the paradigm of motherhood. How will taking this job alter our relationship? Am I a bad mother for leaving this beautiful baby for a full-time job? Continue reading
Sandra Tayler is a writer of essays, speculative fiction, children’s fiction, and blog posts. Her writing can be found at onecobble.com. When she is not writing, Sandra divides her time between four children, a cartoonist husband, a business, two callings, a scattering of friends, a neighborhood, multiple online communities, some hobbies, and a cat.
“Thank you so much for all of your help this year.” My son’s fourth grade teacher told me earnestly as she extended a little gift bag toward me. It was the last day of school and I’d walked into the classroom to retrieve a forgotten backpack. The room was stripped of its purpose, almost barren, with desks stacked in one corner. My hands paused before reaching to accept the gift. Her thanks were heartfelt, and I knew they were undeserved. I’d assisted in a classroom science day and attended one field trip. These activities had been in direct response to my son’s needs, not motivated by a desire to help. I’d filled my time with work, illness, more work, a sibling whose needs chewed through more emotional time and energy than I had to give, and yet more work. The work paid the bills and since I was self-employed, incomplete work paid for nothing. My son had been a trouper, calm and cheerful, until the strain started to show in a dozen little ways both at home and at school. So I had carved out the time to be there for him; helping in the classroom was purely ancillary.
“Really?” I wanted to argue, but the word stuck in my throat, caught by the same emotion that was pricking at my eyes. I got thanks for an effort which amounted to being physically present. Surely effusive thanks and praise should be in answer to a true effort from me, not the bare minimum that I had given. Continue reading
Today’s guest post comes from Elissa East, who describes herself this way: “I am a lifelong member of the Church from Australia. Born in Perth and now living in Canberra, I have always lived in small branches or wards. I served a full-time mission in Sydney, Australia after which I met a wonderful man whom I married in the temple, and now have with 3 children and work full-time as a Business Manager at my children’s school. My favourite calling is teaching early morning seminary. I love to sew, cook, watch Dr Who, and read.”
I loved Economics in high school. The numbers and the way they all worked were like music to me. I will always remember though the day I proved my teacher wrong. He was trying to prove that anything worth doing has a monetary value attached. He asked us to raise put hands if we could think of one job we would want to do that you did not get paid for. I was the only person that raised their hand “A mother,” I volunteered. He was stumped – it was the first time anyone had ever got him on that question. Continue reading
The author of today’s guest post has asked to remain anonymous.
Friendly fire: inadvertent firing towards one’s own or otherwise friendly forces.
The words were said so quickly and with such ease I was shocked. We quietly went about our work; busy with our hands in service for our children. A young woman, with preschoolers, asked me about my work and told me she was, “fascinated by working women.” I replied, “It’s really hard. If you can stay home with your children do that. Go to school or learn a trade and go back to work later if you need to or want to.” Then another young woman joined the conversation, while still busily working, and said, “Besides, the children really suffer.” She immediately realized what she had said with little thought to the company she was in. We made eye contact and then went back to our work. I don’t remember where the conversation turned next; I only know where my heart has turned again and again since then; the “friendly fire” rhetoric against the working mom leveled by those who should be friendly forces and who often intend no harm. This rhetoric knows no individual circumstances and only levels generalized judgment or “friendly fire” causing harm when there is no enemy in sight.
“Besides, the children suffer” were words heaped on the words of a co-worker who, just weeks before, on my first day back at work said, in reference to his wife’s ability to stay home with their child, “You can really tell the difference between the children of working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.” I was stunned at his rudeness and the inappropriateness of his comment. Continue reading