tender times

Jul 17, 2020 by

Our Keziah-girl is getting married in 48 days. The emotions are big in all the ways. Joy, grief, longing, happiness, all the things. We are going to miss her fiercely. Her impact in our home is huge. She is loud, hilarious, determined and her presence is always known. She knows just what to say to bring a smile to Fisher’s face or to encourage him to keep trying when life is hard. She can get him to do what no one else can. She pulls her siblings together for games, adventures, and giant work projects – they would cheerfully follow her to the ends of the earth if she asked them to.

And so we cry. And laugh. And savor every moment we get with her. Everything feels precious. Every conversation. Every game. Every meal. Every story. Every prayer. We have about 25 nights left that she will sleep in our home because she will be gone a lot over the next 7 weeks. I want to spend those nights snuggled in bed with her, hearing her breathe, but she would never allow that, so I spend my nights snuggled up with Richard with tears running down my face.

This parenting thing is hard. We give our hearts so completely to these little babies, then we pour ourselves into them, teaching them, loving them, preparing them for adulthood. And then they grow up and leave and a giant hole is left.

I’m so grateful. So deeply grateful to have been granted the privilege of being a mother. Mothering our children has sculpted my soul, enlarged my view, and grown my heart. Reading to them, teaching them day after day after day, helping them discover the world around them, helping them see who they are, how God works in their lives, and who He created them to be has been an exquisite journey. Two of our children have flown the nest, two of our children are still here, finding their wings. And two of our children are still trying to come to our home and may or may not ever make it into our arms.

It’s a tender time.

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thankful & blessed

Jan 31, 2019 by

Full heart today. I have made two kinds of delicious soup, cleaned my house, worked on our taxes, sent my kids to the temple, and spent sacred hours with my girl.

Blythe is in labor with our first grandchild. I have been preparing for this day for pretty much her whole life and now it is finally here. During our hard years of me not understanding her or her needs, I didn’t know if she would ever allow me to be at her births. And for me, a doula and childbirth educator who loves being with birthing mamas with my whole soul, that thought was deeply painful. Many mornings I would do a visualization technique where I would picture her in labor and envision our relationship at that future date. Then I would think about what I needed to do in the current time to have a future relationship that would allow me to be at her birth. It was one of the most powerful ways I was able to curb my harsh words and be the mama she needed me to be.

And now that day is here. Right now. And it is glorious.

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losing patience and finding love

Mar 8, 2018 by

My boy has been grumpy. Grumpy isn’t even the right word for it as it is SO FAR beyond grumpy. Full of mountains of rage? Obstinate beyond all conception? Having never raised a teenage boy before, I really have no idea what is normal. I have wondered if this is some crazy, anger-filled period that all boys go through (and if so, how on earth have generations of mothers survived it?) or if something is going on inside of him that is outside the bounds of normal.

Today is the umpteenth day of the grumps and I almost lost my cool completely and screamed at him for his refusal to do his math and his angry words and dagger eyes. But I didn’t. I calmly explained his lesson to him again and again and again. When he still refused to even try, I told him he could choose to do housework or math. After folding laundry and doing dishes, he finally lashed out at me.

“How many other kids have to have a mom who can’t ride bikes with them? How many other kids have a mom who can’t really do anything with them?”

Oh my. Big feelings right there.

I was a bit tempted to lash right back at him and say “I JUST bought a bike and we WILL be riding together and STOP your whining about how hard your life is and do your math. For heaven’s sakes, you have parents who love you and food to eat and hundreds of Legos and gobs of books and clothes to wear and you live in America and are not in a war zone!”

But I didn’t. I responded with a soft voice and said, “Oh buddy, I know. I know it is hard to have a mama who can’t do all the things you wish she could.”

At some point, I did remind him that I will be bike riding with him as soon as the snow melts and that we are going to have some epic adventures. And then he started crying and said, “What chance is there that you won’t get hurt again when you ride your bike and you will be in bed for another two years? Not very big!”

So fear and sadness are at the bottom of this grumpiness. It doesn’t excuse his behavior, but it sure does give me a window into his soul.

I know my broken body is not the worst thing in the world, not by a long ways. I know our lives are full of blessings and rich with beautiful friendships and awesome adventures. But today I saw for a brief moment how very heartbreaking it is for my tender little boy to have a mama whose body doesn’t work like normal. More love, more patience, more nurturing, that is what this boy on the cusp of manhood needs from me.

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sometimes mothering is hard

Mar 6, 2018 by

Mothering is getting the best of me lately. All these vastly different people with different needs, challenges, and personalities living under one roof is hard. Really hard.

We have still not adjusted to having Blythe back in our home after her mission. It has been almost a year and parenting an adult child is still something I haven’t mastered. There are lots of wonderful moments. And there are lots of hard moments. I love this girl of mine so fiercely, so deeply. Yet, it is hard for me to have a pleasant conversation with her.

Sidebar: This girl is doing amazing things. She came home from her mission, started school two weeks later, started at a college of massage therapy program a week after that, and excelled in her classes. She graduated in December, took her boards last week, passed them on the first try, and is ready to start looking for a job in the massage therapy field. She is engaged to a young man and getting married in April. So many good things going on in her life and I’m so, so proud of her.

And yet, it is still hard for us to understand each other. And it breaks my heart.

Then there are the daily ups and downs with homeschooling. My boy who doesn’t want to do math EVER and at the same time giggles while I read our latest read-aloud, Wee Free Men. The girl who wants to create and build and invent and paint and makes messes all over the place every single day. The teenager we rarely see because her schedule is so tightly packed with gobs of good things. The stomachs that are hungry and the hearts that need to be soothed – it all takes so much of me. It is exhausting and soul-filling all at the same time.

I love mothering. I really, really do. I never thought I would, but I have given my brain and my heart to raising these children well and loving them fully.

But I’m not all that good at it. I’m not a natural and it takes serious effort for me to love and serve and give.

After a rough morning with my boy and two rough days in a row with Blythe, I’m tempted to throw in the towel. To give in and give up and say, enough, I am done.

Instead, I am going to dig deep into the marrow of my soul and remember who I am and who God is and who they are and I’m going to keep on trying to mother them.

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on turning ten

Nov 25, 2017 by

It is the night before my last child’s tenth birthday.

I am sitting here eating leftover pumpkin pie, watching Keziah, Dallin, Fisher, and Annesley play Egyptian Ratscrew and laughing their heads off.

And the tears keep spilling out of my eyes.

This darling girl has been such a gift to our family. Such a gift to my heart. Such a gift to this world. And she is growing up.

Ten has always felt huge to me. I remember when Blythe, my firstborn, turned ten. It seemed so old to me. Past the halfway mark to eighteen. On the countdown side till she would grow up and leave our home.

We have been through this tenth birthday with Keziah and Fisher and it has been hard each time.

But not this hard.

Now my baby, my last precious baby, is turning ten. And my heart hurts so much.

Our cuddling days are numbered. I know I can always hug her, but having three older kiddos has shown me there is a natural end to the daily snuggles that young children so freely give…and that we all need so much.

The pain of saying goodbye to my mothering-the-babies days feels monumental. The tears won’t stop and the ache won’t go away.

Tonight I will hold her and rub her back one last time as a nine year old. I will tell her her birth story and listen to her prayers. And then, I will say goodbye to an era. Twenty-one years is a long time to have small children in our home…and yet, it has gone far too fast.

Annesley Aliyah, I love you baby girl.

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how i love them

Mar 1, 2016 by

Last night in the middle of an ordinary moment, time slowed down and all of a sudden my entire being swelled with love for these people God has given me. I saw them with new eyes and a new heart and could not believe they are mine. Oh, how I love them!

For our weekly Family Home Evening we went swimming with a few other families. I was too sore and feeling too fragile to get in the water, so I watched the splashing and front-flipping (new skill for Annes off the diving board!) and diving from the sidelines. Afterwards we stopped at the grocery store to grab some essentials for the week. Shopping all together is a pretty rare occurence and it was so fun, I decided we should definitely do it more often. Everyone put in their two-cents over which fruits and veggies to buy (Annesley begged for mangos and who can resist a cute little cherub begging for produce?) and we sent kids all over the store to find items and bring them back to the cart. On one of these runs, everyone ended up together and were walking towards me at the same time laughing and joking as they approached.

Time stood still. The light bounced off their faces and I fell in love with them all over again. These people mean everything to me. And sometimes, I forget. I forget how great my privilege is to love them. In the midst of living, I forget to look into their souls and connect.

So last night was a gift. For a brief moment I saw them as He sees them.

And I remembered.

Here they are all in all their delightful silliness over the past few months.

These two love to take selfies (dualies?) together. May it be recorded that Fisher kissed his sister.


Meditating with a plunger? She left me a whole string of plunger pictures on my camera.


Sledding down our road on Annesley’s birthday.


More sledding.


First day of snowboarding. Oh, my goodness, they LOVE snowboarding.


Decorating the Christmas Tree.


Dancing in front of the Provo City Center Temple on President’s Day.


All of us (minus Blythe, of course!) in front of the temple.


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love makes the world go round

Sep 27, 2014 by

In the midst of all these bad dreams, pneumonia-laden lungs and a body full of faulty connective tissue, I am a mother.

A mother of four beautiful children who need me to be emotionally present in their lives.

We are trying our darnedest to create an emotionally safe home for these precious ones God has blessed us with. Lots of times I fail. I resort to anger and impatience and the poor coping mechanisms I was raised with.

And many times I choose love. And forgiveness. And patience.

And snuggles.

Always the snuggles bring us back to center.

Early in the morning, before anyone else is moving, Fisher creeps into my room with a book and with his sweet blue eyes asks if I will read to him, “just one chapter before school?”

Late at night, after everyone is done moving, Annesley will sneak into my arms for just one more hug and kiss before bed.

And my heart swells with oceans of gratitude that I, the person who never wanted to be a mother, the person who entered marriage as such a broken, angry soul, the person who believed my life was far more important than a child’s life, get to hold these children in my arms and nurture them with my heart.

I get to mother.

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growing up

Dec 5, 2013 by

I forgot to mention my little Annes celebrated a birthday last week while we were at Grandma’s. She has jumped from 5 1/2 (what she has been telling everyone for months when they say she is five – “NO! I am five AND A HALF!) to the ripe ol’ age of six.


Oh my goodness.

We opened presents that were hidden all over Grandma’s house. Just wait till you see the blue-haired crocheted doll I found for her! She is darling as can be and Miss Annes loves her and has named her Mar-a-dell. I actually have no idea how to spell it, but that is how she says it…with emphasis on each syllable. She designed a mint chocolate ice cream cake with a giant six made out of Oreos on top.

She has been such a silly kissy, cuddly, snugglebug lately. In the past few weeks, as her warm body has lain against mine, I have been brought to tears quite a few times. My little girl is growing right up and I almost can’t bear it. It looks like I will never be a mother of a five year old again. Or a four year old. Or a three year old. Or a two year old. Or a one year old. Or a tiny precious newborn.

I want to savor these moments that are slipping past me ever so quickly – these long days of reading and teaching and cooking and cleaning and repeating myself five gazillion times. I remember the day Blythe was born in crystal clear clarity. And now I hardly see the girl. She is so busy with her studies and music lessons and performances. It is wonderful to see her blossom and grow into herself as a young adult, but boy howdy, is it hard.

And not just because I know our time with her under our roof is coming to an end…but because I can see what the future holds. All of my little babies are going to grow up and get busy and move on. There isn’t any way around it.

It IS a beautiful thing. Mothering these children has been the work I have dedicated myself to for the past eighteen years. My goal has always been to raise happy, capable, emotionally healthy adults who love God and serve His children.

I just thought it would last longer. I thought I would have babies forever and ever.

And now there are no more babies. And no more toddlers. And no more preschoolers. Good grief, I have graduated out of three whole phases of mothering! I really didn’t see it coming. I somehow thought I would always have a baby on my back, a little one in my bed, and a toddler asserting his independence each moment of the day.

But those days are gone. And it is good, it really is, but it is also bittersweet. I can’t help but cry every time I am shopping for clothes for my children and realize I don’t need to go down the baby and toddler aisles. Sometimes I hold up a little romper and hold it close to my heart trying to remember what my children felt like when they fit into that size.

My little one has been six for over a week and she seems so much older. Bigger. More capable.

All I can do is let her fly and become the person God created her to be.

And cry.

And cheer her on.

p.s. Someday I will find my camera so you can see these little cuties. I lost it the night of the one-inch undoing and am desperately hoping it turns up somewhere!

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full days, full nights

Apr 15, 2013 by

The last week has been full of inspiration, friends, food, fun, new ideas, adventures, family, and excitement. It has been chock full of so, so much.

Hence, I haven’t blogged. Blogging requires me to have a little bit of time in a day to type out my thoughts and this week I had time to live fully, but nothing extra was left over for typing.


My pelvis had been shifting out of place for a few days and was giving me quite a bit of nerve pain, so late in the afternoon I was able to squeeze in an appointment with my chiropractor to put everything back in place. It is always a little frightening to me to have my hip manipulated because I do not want anything to happen to cause more injury to the area. He did a fabulous job and gently worked my hip socket, psoas, IT band, and trochanter till everything was back in their correct spots and the pain was gone. While I was there I asked him about riding my recumbent bike…see yesterday’s post for more on that!

Monday night during Family Home Evening we were treated to delicious cinnamon rolls from our friends, the Thomases. They were thoroughly enjoyed and quickly devoured.


Learning time. Cleaning time. Get ready for iFamily time. More cleaning time. Run to the store and get more chick feed time. Mutual for the big girls in two different places. More get ready for iFamily time.


Seminary. Play practice for Keziah’s Improv class. iFamily fun and teaching my three classes. Get locked out of my car by Miss Annes. Friend rescue to drive to Rigby and get extra keys. Very rushed dinner time for all the big ballet girls. Run the ballet girls to ballet. Rush home to hold a book discussion at my home on The Jew In The Lotus. Learn a lot. Go to bed way too late.


Learning time. See the sunshine and no wind and realize there are cheap flats of strawberries being delivered in town today and decide to have a strawberry-park-library-bike shop afternoon. First trip to the park for 2013. Underdogs for Annesley on the swing. Kez, Fish, and Annes playing tag. Lying down on the picnic table in the sun = pure joy. Then a leisurely library trip where we discovered some new books and I felt like a normal Mama Tracy again. Then the bike shop to figure out bike trainers and the awesome bike store owner who let me borrow a trainer for the weekend. Sometime during the afternoon my cousins, Jim and Bev, dropped by our home and invited us to dinner. They were here from Colorado for their son’s college graduation. Blythe was the only one home so she gave them my number and we started working out a plan to see one another. Because of my hip injury and my breast lump the summer before I haven’t been to the family reunion for the past two summers and have SO missed my extended family. After some rearranging of schedules, we were able to work it all out to meet them for dinner. It was wonderful to catch up with them and visit over some yummy food. Jim even treated us – how fun is that?! After dinner we hurried over to a fundraiser for Dando Amor and OSSO, Blythe’s new passion. She is hoping to serve a volunteer mission with OSSO very soon. What an inspiring evening! We were able to learn more about the work the volunteers do, cry over the great need of the children of Equador, and listen to amazing performances of Broadway songs put on by Playmill performers, past and present. It was an amazing night. Blythe was able to meet with the director of OSSO and she has her heart set on serving in Equador for 3 – 4 months. After the performances, we went shopping in the lobby for special things from Equador and Burkina Faso. Keziah bought a darling bag, Blythe found an adorable wallet, and I bought some wire bugs for Fisher and Annes. We didn’t get home till after 11 p.m. and quickly found the two late nights in a row had about done me in.

Friday and Saturday

Woke up as early as I could given the lack of sleep the past few days and packed for the Mom’s Retreat for iFamily. Then, after getting to gym a bit later than usual, I taught gym, thought I was invincible and did two handstands on the vault AND rescued a boy who was going to crash on his head. The handstands were okay, at least they felt okay at the time, but the rescue did me in. I dislocated my shoulder and wrenched my hip out of place and soon had to lie down with ice packs on both regions. As gym wore on, my pain increased, and my frustration with myself went right along with it. By the time Kat and Heather picked me up for the retreat I was ready to be immersed in an ice bath, but I only had a dinky little ice pack to keep switching from shoulder to hip and my right shoulder was several inches than my left. Ouch.

Off to the Mom’s Retreat we went and oh, what fun we had! Kat catered the event and her food creations are always delicious. We had some wonderful presentations on nurturing ourselves as moms, nurturing our family, specific principles we can implement in our homes in our own individual ways to be more effective in our mothering roles, and stayed up till almost 3 a.m. talking and laughing as only a bunch of girls can do. The next morning we had more of Kat’s yummy food and then I did a vision walk with the group and we had a powerful discussion on our roles as women, daughters, mothers, and friends. After a quick cabin clean-up, we started home through gale force winds, lightening, and rain.

I reconnected with my children, took a catch-up nap, then got ready for our evening activities. The girls went to the Symphony to hear Beethoven’s Fifth and an awesome percussion concerto while Richard had a date with Fisher and Annes. I went to Stake Conference and took pages of notes, basked in the Spirit, and felt inspired to more fully commune with God on a daily basis.

What a week. Chock full of really, really good things. But now, I need some days of early bed times to catch up on all the missed hours of ZZZs. I

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