Les Miserables

Sunday evening the hubs and I went and saw the 25th Anniversary production of “Les Miserables” at the Capitol Theater in Salt Lake City. It was the fourth time I have seen Les Mis performed live by a professional company, and about the hundred thousandth time I’ve heard it performed.
I got really excited about this performance when I saw the 25th Anniversary London cast perform the Les Mis concert on PBS. I recorded it and watched it several times. Even my children love the music. I think it’s some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard and that has ever been composed.
I first became acquainted and fell in love with Les Mis some time in Junior high. I was in choir all three years of junior high and I must have been in 8th grade where our choir teacher, Miss Reeves, has us listen to Les Mis after our concerts were over for the year and we had no more music to learn. She explained the story to us and then we listened to the complete symphonic version. I immediately fell in love with the music and the beautiful words. I remember Les Mis came to Salt Lake City that Spring and my parents got tickets and went. I was so annoyed because I wanted to go and I didn’t think my Dad would appreciate it. They got me a Les Mis t-shirt as a consolation.
The next year after that Les Mis came again. My friend’s family all got together and bought tickets and they called me that Saturday morning asking if I wanted one too. Heck yes! Finally, I got to go to Les Mis in 1992. It was the best thing I have ever seen on stage at that time. I was blown away. I had two bootleg copies of the complete symphonic version and listened to those until they wore apart.
A decade later my in-laws bought Les Mis tickets for everyone in the family in the Spring of 2002. The hubs had never heard the music before and he went out and bought the complete symphonic version on CD. I explained to him the story and he listened to the CDs a lot before went and saw it. As luck would have it, I sprained my ankle the week before we went and we were sitting in the balcony, and there is not an elevator up to the balcony in the Capitol theater. The hubs was as blown away the first time he saw Les Mis as I was.
So blown away, that the next year he got us tickets to Les Mis again as a mother’s day/father’s day present. I was very newly pregnant with our second child and was extremely uncomfortable during the entire performance. However, it was a fantastic performance that made up for my extreme nausea.
Les Mis is a story that means so much to me, and I can’t really put into words why. I read the book by Victor Hugo my senior year in AP English and it was so beautifully written. I got a slightly abridged version, but was way behind my class who were all reading the heavily abridged version. The heavily abridged gets rid of all of Hugo’s beautiful language and strips it down to just the story. I did not like it. I went back to reading the book I already had. I figured I knew the story well enough to pass the essay tests we were given after reading any books.
I think one of the reasons I love the story is because at it’s very heart it is about redemption. Jean Val Jean was a convict and he changed his life to be a respected mayor and then a dedicated adoptive father. He’s constantly putting his life on the line for others…whether it is confessing to Javert that he is Val Jean when he could have let the look-a-like go to prison in his place, or rescuing Cosette from her life of servitude, or saving Marius from the Barricades. I also love the political aspect of the story, with the students rising up against the French monarchy to establish a Democracy. And for whatever reason, Fantine, has always been my favorite character. Her part is small but her role is pivotal. I even sang, “I Dreamed a Dream” at a solo and ensemble competition in Junior High.
Les Mis was very critical for me during the worst time in my life. When my mother was dying of cancer, I would constantly listen to Les Mis. For some reason it was the only music I could stand. The day she died I laid in bed with her, held her hand, and sang Val Jean’s reprise of “Bring him Home” when he is dying in the play. In the reprise he is praying to God to bring him home to heaven and to bid him rest. That moment with my mother will always be sacred to me.
I just had to share my favorite moment of the Les Miserables 25th Anniversary. It is when the original London cast and current London cast get together and sing “One Day More.” Every time…every single time I watch this I get goosebumps on my arms and chills up my spine.
This is one of the many reasons why Les Mis is my favorite, hands down and absolute, Broadway musical of all time.

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl

At 1:47 a.m. this morning my oldest child, and only daughter, turned 10 years old. Wow, 10 years. A decade of being a mother to this beautiful girl.
When she was born a switch was turned on inside of me. It is the switch that would make me give my own life for hers. Which would allow me to protect her at all costs. The switch that made realize what unconditional love actually is. I never knew a love so deep and so fierce at the same time.
She has brought something to my life that it is hard to put into words. I had to grow up in the instant I realized she was growing inside me. I became second best in my life. There is something about motherhood that should make you drop most of your own selfishness and self-importance. There isn’t anything glamorous about getting pooped on while changing a diaper at 3:00 in the morning. From the second she was born her health became more important to me than my own. Her well-being more important to me than my own. Her happiness more important than my own.
When my daughter was born, a hole was filled in my heart that I didn’t even know was there. A part of my heart was more complete. And it has become even more complete with the birth of each one of her brothers. Which is funny, because with the birth of each of my children, I felt a piece of my heart leave that will forever walk around outside of my body in each of them.
Now that my daughter is getting older, I mourn the baby she once was. However, I love the relationship we are settling into right now. The one were we can have “girl time” and get pedicures together and she opens up to me about her friendships and the boys she has crushes on. I hope I’ve laid a good enough foundation of friendship, trust, and mothering with her that we will continue to have a good relationship when she is a teenager.
If there is any legacy I could leave my daughter, it would be love. Love is stronger than any tidal wave, more courageous than any super hero, and more powerful than any other force on earth. When I’m gone I want her to remember how much I love her so that she can carry that with her the rest of her life and never doubt it. I want her to give her own love generously and use it to help those around her. I don’t want her to ever doubt the she is a beloved child of God and her parents.
Happy Birthday, my sweet baby girl. The day you came into my life was the happiest I’ve ever known. Thank you for blessing my life with yours.

Are manners gone?

Thursday all I could do was worry about my sweet little baby nephew, Rock. He’s currently in the Children’s hospital, intubated, and in a medically induced coma. He has pneumonia, but is fighting it. There is a reason why they named him Rock!

However, even though I wanted it to, I couldn’t expect the world to just stop so I could sit and agonize, worry, and cry. I still had errands to run, tasks to complete, and bills to pay.
One of those tasks was grocery shopping. We were completely out of milk. Grocery shopping with a toddler should be an Olympic sport. My nerves were already frayed and then the toddler started punching everything I put in the cart, and when I took him out of the cart to save my groceries, he took off and ran half way across the store before I knew it. And that was when he was being good.
So, I was pretty anxious to get out of the grocery store when I reached the check-out stand. I wasn’t even a quarter of the way putting my groceries on the belt with the rude lady behind me started loading her groceries. I was so mad! At one point I even shoved her groceries back while giving her my death look. The checker even stopped the belt so I could finish loading my groceries preventing her from continuing to load hers.
Seriously, how rude can you be? I would have told her off, but in my emotional state, I would probably not be able to hold myself back. What happened to freaking manners? I never load my stuff when I’m next in line until it is clear that the person in front of me has an empty cart.
I try so hard to be courteous of others, and I feel like it’s hardly ever returned. Am I the only one who feels like the whole word has lost it’s manners?

Prayers for my Baby Nephew

Wednesday was a scary day. I learned from Facebook that my one year old nephew, who had RSV this winter, was having breathing problems. The next thing I knew they took him to the doctor, who immediately had him taken by ambulance to the hospital. I was in tears over that until the hubs called and said they life flighted him down to the Children’s hospital. Then I was really in tears. My poor baby nephew went into respiratory arrest. Ever since that phone call, my mind has been on Rock and his scared parents all day.

I know some of the fear they must be experiencing. When my now 7 year old son was just 6 weeks old (and was 4 weeks premature already) was hospitalized for a week with RSV. He was so tiny, only 6ish pounds. He had an IV in his head, a canula in his nose giving him oxygen, wires all over his chest, and the pulse/ox taped to his foot. The nurses told my friend, whose daughter was hospitalized for RSV two rooms over, that he was the smallest baby they’d ever seen. I’m sure glad they didn’t tell me that while he was there. I was nursing so I couldn’t leave his side, not that I would have, for a second. It was the worst week of my life. All I could do was worry about my poor tiny baby, and my poor 2 1/2 year old daughter who didn’t understand why all of a sudden her mommy and baby brother were gone and she couldn’t see them (children weren’t allowed on the pediatric floor unless they were patients).
So, I know a little bit of the fear the my dear sister-in-law and brother-in-law are experiencing. My nephew is just the cutest, most precious little boy. My prayers are with them. I hope they feel the same comfort that I felt that week I was in the hospital with my own little boy. I love their little family so much. Please, if you can offer a prayer for them or send them your good thoughts I would appreciate it. I know they need to feel that love and comfort surrounding them right now.

The Myth of the SAHM

I read an interesting article in the New York Times the other day and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

Stephanie Coontz wrote an opinion piece about all the opining about how mothers used to be valued back in the “good old days,” those being the 1950s and 1960s and how feminism came along and ruined all of that. You can find that article here.
What I found most interesting is how she cited that stay at home mothers back in the “good old days” used to not get any domestic help from their husbands at all, not even on the weekends. How they spent 55 hours a week doing chores and taking care of children. Women with smaller children worked longer hours than that. Can you imagine changing every diaper, giving every bath, making every meal, folding every basket of laundry, washing every dish, cleaning every toilet, without any help from your spouse? Because men who helped out were considered weak and unmanly. And women were property with barely any rights and received little help even in domestic violence situations. Wait…I get to do all the chores and get beat too? Sign me up for that deal.
A few years back I worked in the library at my church. The women from the ward just after mine would come in early and start making programs for their meetings right away. I was there checking in stuff from my ward members while they were copying and folding programs. There was this father who taught a Sunday school class who always had his baby daughter with him. The women in the ward just after mine were probably old enough to be in the generation between my mother and grandmother. I remember one would always say when this father left the library after checking in all his stuff, “I just can’t get over men taking care of babies.” To me it was the most normal thing in the world that I didn’t even think about it. I knew this family and I knew this man to be a very involved father. In fact, most men I know are very involved fathers. To these women it was a sign that times had changed.
And thank goodness they have.
When I think of what the generations of women who came before me had to put up with, all I can think is, thank goodness for women’s liberation.

Blogger down

Right when I finally had the time to blog, blogger was down and I couldn’t. Why?! Why did they do that to us?

I’ve been doing a lot of continuing education this week as a requirement of my professional license. I’ve had to drive long distances several times this week to do so. So…by the time I’ve gotten home, I’ve been too tired to even think, let alone write something witty and articulate.

I’m going to combine my Weight Watchers week 9 and 10 posts into one, since I weigh-in tomorrow. That will be interesting to write.
As for right now…I’m going to go bask in some sunshine. Laters.

Happy Mother’s Day

Today is the day we celebrate Mothers. I would like to honor two very special mothers in my own life.
My Mom

My mom was so funny. She was a ham! As you can tell from this picture. She loved to perform and make people laugh. She wasn’t satisfied until she had everyone in the room smiling. There was a glow about her and people were drawn to her for her warmth and radiance. And yet, for all of her out-goingness, she was deeply, deeply private. She only let a few people really inside to see the true Sue. And you were lucky if you got to know the real her.

She was a reader. She loved books probably more than people. I never saw her without a book or two that she was reading. Books were her best friends. She loved words. Her favorite book was her dictionary. It was a big, old thing, but she was never with out it. She loved to learn new things and share that with others, sometimes rather annoyingly. She called me very late one night just to tell me she found the word “pimp mobile” in her new Oxford dictionary. What a riot.
I hope she died knowing how much I loved her, how much I still love her. I hope she knows that all the mistakes she ever made as a mother were forgiven, the second I became a mother myself. This motherhood stuff is hard. She was one of my dearest friends. Even now when something happens, for good or for bad, I reach for the phone and then realize she won’t be there to answer it. Her loss in my life is profound. Most of the time I try not to feel so wounded by the grief of her passing, because I know she wouldn’t want me to be. But darnit, it hurts! I wish I could still feel her hug me, and kiss her on both cheeks (that was our thing) and have her call me “girl baby” once more.
‎”My mom is a never-ending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words, but I always remember the tune.” — Unknown
I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.
My Mother-in-law
Mary Jo

A lot of my friends have issues with their mothers-in-law, but not me. I don’t know how I lucked out to marry into the best family ever. Mary Jo is honestly one of the kindest women I have ever known in my life. You are lucky to be her friend. She is selfless, generous, and loving. I couldn’t ask for a better grandmother for my children. I love this woman so much that sometimes I forget she didn’t birth me herself. It’s no surprise to me that her son, my husband, would take after her so much. He’s one of the kindest, most generous men I’ve ever met. This lady is a class act. She welcomes everyone in her home like they are family. There is no such things as “steps” or “in-laws.” Family is family to her.

I hope she knows how much I love her. I hope she knows how much I appreciate her for all the things she does for me, for loving me, for treating me like I am one of her own, and for being such a wonderful grandmother to my children. I hope she knows how much I admire her and how I aspire to be half the woman she is. I hope she knows that my Mom’s death is made easier because I have another mother to love me, guide me, and look out for me. I wish everyone had a mother-in-law like Mary Jo. They broke the mold when they made her.
I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!