Saturday, December 15, 2012

Here's the Thing About Pants

For me, I would not wear pants to church to make a political statement about gender equality in the LDS church.  WE ARE ALREADY EQUAL.  Doctrinally, this church is so awesome about views on women, men, and their unstoppable power as a team.  Our bodies are built with different parts and different strengths, not to divide us, but unite us.  To give us power.  To help us show love.  To accomplish amazing things together that could never be done separately.  Have you read this article?  Do it now; it will change your life.

While I think men are cool, and I respect (and am attracted to) their manness, I have no desire to be a man, or even be like a man.   BEING A WOMAN IS AWESOME.  I like what my body looks like and is capable of.  I like the instincts and emotions that come naturally to me because of my genetic makeup.

And though completely different from men, women are equally smart and equally important.  There is no question that God loves us just as much as men and that we are vital to the plan of Salvation.  The Gospel celebrates this fact!

The problem is that often people get confused about the “ROLES” of woman.  Nowhere in the Proclamation to the World does it say that women must nurture their offspring by … (fill in the blank).  Likewise, it is up to each individual woman to use her unique strengths/talents to find the best way to nurture her family.  There is not just one way to be a wife, mother, a woman.  We are all different and trying to confine a woman to one specific role can only breed unhappiness.  And that is the anti-purpose of life.  WE ARE MEANT TO BE HAPPY!

Yes, I think that some people, some of whom are Mormon, are confused about the roles of women.  Yes, I believe that the social constructs, not the doctrinal constructs, of the church could use a little tweaking.  But the main reason I want to wear pants is to say that I can be a good wife, mother, woman, and disciple of Christ in a way that is unique and special.

 It really has nothing to do with pants at all.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Discussion About Pants

I am thinking about wearing dress pants to church on Sunday.  I have actually been toying with the idea for several years now, but I have feared that my intentions might be misunderstood.  I’ve been afraid that people might think that I am an “angry” feminist.  The truth is that I am a feminist, though “an amused” feminist might be more accurate. 

I tend to laugh my face off (in a reverent, head-bowed sort of way) during the Mother’s Day church meetings.  This past year, our Mother’s Day Relief Society meeting was truly one of the most awkward of all time.  It started off with a member of the bishopric telling jokes about the emotional differences between men and women.  It painted women as volatile and bossy and made men look foolish and submissive (at least the political incorrectness was equal opportunity). The meeting ended in a spirited, though one-sided, discussion about the evils of women in the workplace.  The general consensus seemed to be that it is okay for a woman to work, but only if she HAS to—if the family’s very survival depends on her bringing home a paycheck.  One woman went so far as to say that basically all human dysfunction, specifically obesity, is caused by mothers who do not love their children enough to stay home with them.

At this point I was trying very hard to keep myself from snorting.  This was the weirdest, most uncomfortable lesson ever.  And funny.  But one woman—a workingwoman, I gathered—was not amused.  She stood up angrily and stomped out of the room. 

Which leads me to my second reason for being afraid to wear pants to church: that people might think that I am only trying to stir the pot—to cause controversy and stir up drama.

After the “obesity” comment my hand itched to shoot into the air.  I had much to say on the topic and wanted so badly to right the wrong of what this meeting had become.  Here is what I wanted to say:

“I came from a home where my mother worked.  She did not work because she HAD to.  She did not work because my father couldn’t pay the bills.  She worked because she wanted to.  She was good at it and it made her happy.   However, she did not take the decision to work lightly.  She and my dad made it a matter of deep and sincere prayer.  They felt the Lord’s approval and felt his hand guide them in every step of her successful career.  And because she was fulfilled in that aspect, she was able to be a sensational, nurturing mother to her three children.

“And, even though my mother worked, none of her children turned out obese.  In fact, we are all functional, happy, relatively skinny (wink) people who are striving to make good choices and raise righteous families.  We are all grateful for her example of being a strong woman, and because of that we know that there is not just one way to be a faithful woman and mother in Zion.

“I, myself, choose to be a stay-at-home.  The career lifestyle does not appeal to me and I am blessed with a husband who provides so I can be at home full-time.  But I am also blessed to know that I have a choice in the matter and that if I follow the will of the Lord, I cannot go wrong.”

So that’s what I wanted to say, but didn’t.  I didn’t want to rumple feathers and be thought of as a revolutionary.  I didn’t want to stir the pot.

But maybe I kind of did.

Lately, I have been doing a great deal of thinking about cultural traditions verses actual doctrine of the Mormon Church.  How much of what we do in church is what the Lord mandated and how much of it is because of Mormon, and even human, tradition?

I agree that when we go to church we should dress appropriately and reverently.  We need to be clean and in our best, showing respect and love for our Heavenly parents.  But I don’t know if women wearing dresses is the only way for us to show that respect.  Are dresses the only way for women to be “feminine”?  Did God create dresses for women?  Or did man create dresses for women?

These are interesting questions and I think there is room for discussion.  Also, my sister-in-law posed a great question to me:  “Maybe you would wear pants to church, but would you wear dress pants to the Temple?”

So I am not one hundred percent sure what my Sunday attire will be, but I am going shopping today to see if I can find some suitable pants just in case.

(Much more on this topic to come)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Baby Love

Dezzy has been here for two weeks. New mommyhood has been a different experience this time around. I am not mired by postpartum insanity or cardiomyopathy nonsense. For the first time I am able to really truly experience what it FEELS like to be a brand new mommy, not just to go through the motions. There is tenderness in the first few weeks of a baby’s life and I am so blessed that I am able to notice it, delight in it, and heck, roll around in it. I missed that the first two times.

Desmond is what I lovingly refer to as a “grouch pouch”. If he is awake—okay, and when he is asleep too—he is usually groaning, grunting, and occasionally roaring like a lion. He has an innate talent for the “stink-eye” and lays it on thick unless he is being fed, snuggled, or brushed. This makes for a very exhausted mommy and daddy, but I get a kick out of my opinionated boy. I am interested to see if this behavior is an actual personality trait or just newborn gas. Only time will tell.

I love snuggling with my warm, gooey little package. I like to rub my face in his hair and breathe in all of his good baby smells. I love holding his potato bug body close to me as he nurses. I love his cute little bum and his round, happy belly. I love his button-nose, his jagged part-line, and his long ticklish toes.

Here’s a few pictures of this past week:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Letter to My Body

Dear Body of Mine,

This has been a rough year for the two of us. I openly admit that I have done some pretty terrible things. I’ve looked in the mirror and called you rude names, like Creature-Monster, Beached Whale, and Christmas Tree Orb. I have given you medications that made you feel like junk. I have worn uncomfortable, albeit fashionable, shoes just to spite you.

But you haven’t been a peach to me either. Remember how you wouldn’t sleep—not a wink—for about six days straight? Then there were the panic attacks and Emergency Room visits. Yeah, those were fun. If that weren’t cruel enough, you sometimes used your “functions” to shame me. The excessive barfing, the peeing without warning, or the… ehem… noises….

And not to point fingers or anything, but you grew very big this year. Too big, too quickly. For the last few months I have worried that an Oompa Loompa might appear out of nowhere, tip you sideways and roll you to the juicing room.

So, dear body, after all you put me through this year, all the times you made me cry, all the times you declared war on my digestive tract …

I have one thing to say to you…

You did good.


P.S. Thanks for not getting stretch marks.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

If We Had a Christmas Card...

...the picture on the front would look something like this:

And just so you could see how cute and trendy we Lee people are, the photograph would be framed by some sort of cool modern pattern, like IKAT or Chevron (in mustard yellow of course). This Christmas card would truly depict how laid-back our family is, how together we have it. You might even be overwhelmed by our perfection.

A more accurate depiction of our family, however, would actually look something like this:

Me, looking shell-shocked, my children, adorable as ever, but rarely with brushed hair and washed faces, and Ryan, far far away in a distant land.

This year has been one of the craziest of our lives, but we have received so many blessings: Doug's successful open-heart surgery, the news of a joey in the pouch, a new job, new investment properties, THREE of our siblings getting hitched, and so much more. We have learned so much this year and grown closer to each other and, most importantly, to our Savior. He has held our hands through these crazy times and we owe Him everything.

This upcoming year looks promising and hopefully a bit more contained. After three months of being apart, we will be finally joining Ryan in Denver--oh, we have missed him! Then, in February we will be welcoming a new baby into our family. His name will be Desmond, and if he is anything like our other kids, he will be spectacular. Then we'll find ourselves a new home (we'll be staying with my folks till then), and then our lives will be simple and trial-free forevermore (keep your fingers crossed).

So, if we had a Christmas card, that would pretty much be what it would say. But we don't have one this year, so this blog post will have to do. Merry Christmas, you wonderful people, you. We wish you the happiest of seasons and best 2012 possible.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fall Pictures That Warm My Soul (in no particular order)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bella and Me (and Edward and Ryan)

The audience at Breaking Dawn Part 1 could be divided into two categories. First, there were those who laughed hysterically at all of the ludicrous parts. Second, there were those who wished death on the people who laughed hysterically at all of the ludicrous parts. While I belonged to the former group (and am still finding tomato seeds and other rotten vegetables in my hair), I found myself relating to the movie in a very strange way.

Remember when Bella drank human blood to satiate her half-vampire fetus? Well…the other day Ryan and I stopped at a gas station for drinks. I strolled the aisles looking for something, anything, that sounded good. Nothing did. Not the juices, not the sodas, even the thought of bottled water made me nauseous.

Feeling the impatient jabs of the hungry baby inside of me, I crossed my fingers and settled on a jug of whole milk. As I was accustomed to skim milk, the creamy consistency tasted positively decadent. It coated my throat and my teeth. It both warmed and chilled my stomach.

“This tastes… good,” I said to Ryan, surprised that it was milk, of all beverages, that did the trick.

And then it hit me. Of course! It was so obvious now that I thought of it: the muffled mooing sounds I heard at night, the strange hoof-shaped bruises on my abdomen. I was not pregnant with a normal human fetus, as I’d originally thought. No, this baby was different. Special. This child was obviously half human, half bovine.

What this says about Ryan, I can’t say. All I know is that I polished off the entire jug of milk within 30 seconds.

But seriously now. I felt an honest tenderness toward Edward and Bella the entire movie. I connected to their conflicting and evolving feelings about the human/vampire pregnancy.

When Ryan and I were discussing having another child, Ryan expressed many concerns about my health. My last pregnancies were difficult and I had a horrendous health scare after delivering Kiana. I assured Ryan that my body could handle one more baby and that there was nothing to worry about. When I finally did get pregnant, however, I instantly went into full panic/vomit mode. Thus began what I refer to as my own personal “terrible awful.”

Going through what I went through, and go through, is hard. But I know that Ryan suffers beside me. I’ve seen that horrified expression on his face, the one Edward had as he watched Bella shrivel in pain (although I still feel like my pregnancy has been worse than hers. Sure, her baby was eating her from the inside-out, but at least Bella didn’t have an anxiety disorder).

Even though I have moved passed the whole “I wish I never got pregnant” business, sometimes I feel like I am responsible for our trials. I feel guilty about being sick. Ryan is running a marathon—caring for two children and a partially insane woman, watching that woman cry, providing, back-rubbing, worrying, praying, erranding, cleaning, traveling, doing, going, being—while sometimes it is all I can do just to get out of bed in the morning.

But marriage is like that. Sometimes one partner has to fight the werewolves while the other lies helplessly on the couch. Both roles are difficult. Ryan has carried me through this hard time, but it also takes strength for me to allow myself to be carried. I am learning how to balance my emotions and needs so that being carried is even possible. I am learning about perseverance. Most importantly, I am learning about gratitude, for I am blessed beyond belief in a spouse who loves and supports me through my ups and downs. My own personal vegetarian vampire.