Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Best Gift ever for Mother's Day

I received the BEST mother's day gift ever this year. I was privileged to think about and honor my own mother by having my brothers and sister here, and I was blessed to have ALL of my six children with me...........being a mother is the best part of mortality.........and having a mother for all eternity....... has become even more important now that she is gone from my view.
This first picture is the baby of the family I grew up in, my little brother Pat. He lives in Las Vegas. Then there is my only sister, also my baby sister, Colleen. She lives in Orem.

This next one is Colleen, then me, then Daryl, a massage therapist here in St. George, next to him is Tom, my oldest brother, he lives in Payson.

This is half of his family. Angie is 12, and McKayla is 10. He left his wife and 3 younger children home due to the traveling that exhausts all children.

This is half of Daryl's family. His wife Shannon with their 11 yr old son Michael, and 13 yr old daughter Natalie. They have 3 sons married too.

This is 5 out of 6 members of my sisters family. They are missing a 16 yr old left to participate in a basketball tournament.

This is MY family........ALL of my children.......yipppeeee!......... We are standing in our backyard just an hour before Elder Eric was to speak in church. We are all in order according to age. The heighth is a little deceiving due to the hill we are standing on. Notice the temple behind me, between Krystal and I, it's my favorite view. This is taken outside on my back porch.....you gotta love that backyard!!!

Now notice the next generation. Krystal, Jeff, Damon almost 7, Allie 4, and Kyla 2.

Then there's Heather and Samuel, and Kalia 21 mos. and Annaliese 6 mos. I got to tend these little sweeties for 6 days while mom and dad went to Hawaii for "business". (tee hee)

Here's Tara and Wayne's family. Kenya is 10 months old and starting to walk (my favorite time of a baby's life) and Malakai......almost 3 and Maddux.........of course the same age.....are they cute or what? They look so innocent don't they?

This is the crew that we had in our house BEFORE sacrament meeting, we had 94 total AFTER church for dinner...............and I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!

I wanted to end this post with a few words about these incredible kids. They are responsible for so much of my healing this past year. They believed and had faith, they prayed and fasted...........and believed some more. I have a picture of each of them in my bedroom where I put vinyl letters above the pics....it reads......"MIRACLES happen to those who believe". So many of you that read this post made it happen too, but as a mother on Mother's day, I was overwhelmed with such a blessing as these six kids. I didn't feel guilty on Mother's day, instead I felt such GRATITUDE for the privilege of BEING a mother. All women will get the chance someday,(thankfully), but I have had my chance here and now, and what a great life I have had doing it. The pains of raising little children fade, and the strength that I gain from spending time with them remains and continually gets stronger.
I heard a song last night (what a surprise Karen, you hardly ever listen to songs lol), this one if from Lindsay Housekeeper (a St. George girl). She wrote it about her own son growing up so fast and going off to school, and how hard it is to let them grow up. I feel the same way sometimes. I just want them to be little again,
but at least I have pictures of them to remind me of how sweet and precious they were, and will always be to me.

here's SOME of the words to it:
The yesterdays have quickly slipped away....
I can't rewind or turn back the hand of time...
I am so proud of who you are becoming....
I'm holding on "just a little" so you know you're not alone
I'm letting go "just a little" so you can reach your goal and
it's the hardest thing Ive ever done
but I know you've gotta grow
still I'm holding on "just a little" to the little child I know (she says boy)

If it weren't for them, I would not be a mother, so this is to THANK MY CHILDREN for loving me, time after time of me being a clutz, and saying SO MANY DUMB THINGS!!, for forgiving me when I yelled and ranted and occasionally went into a rage. I wish I could go back and do a better job, I have learned so much now, I KNOW I would do better.
I love you Krystal, you have been more patient with me than anyone else. You cut me slack when I needed it , but didn't deserve it. You are the best first child a mother could ever ask for.
Heather, I love you so much, I am sorry that I gave you so much of my personality, especially when it comes to emotions. You gave me back what I dished out and I needed it so badly. You helped me to realize that I was unreasonable sometimes, and yet in the end , you always obeyed me, Thank you for being such a great daughter. I marvel at your talents, and beauty.
Tara, I have always loved you so much, and don't know how I deserved such a miracle as you becoming my best friend in my old age. You were there for every detail of my cancer year. You cried with me, and uplifted me, and brought me back to reality when I felt sorry for myself. One time when I said, "I need to sit shotgun because I have cancer", you said, "You don't anymore, they cut it out", you made me laugh so hard, you have such a great personality that keeps us all laughing.
Eric, I love you so much, my first born son, how could I have ever lived without you? Your service and dedication to the Lord literally saved my life. I will always cherish my memory of you rocking me in the rocking chair when I had a meltdown a few days before Christmas when you were 17. Your tender compassion is a gift to me.
Jonathan, I love you so much. Heavenly Father knew I needed you and sent us a special message in the temple about your arrival, and that told us how important it was for you to join our family. I love how you act so tough, and yet you are the softest person ever on the inside. I feel so loved by you when you call me Carol, it is so funny. Thank you for influencing all your friends to love me too. I will cherish the memories of you always wanting an afterschool treat, and how one time when I tried to give you popsicles you cried and said, "but it's not homemade" and after that I made homemade cookies, a different kind everyday for about a year.
Kimberlee, my little miracle last child. I love you so much. You are the life of the party, and you have been the life of the family. You have taken the best of all the other 5 kids and incorporated it into your life so that you are "the last, the best of all the game". You are smart, talented, beautiful, and yet motherhood is your number one priority. I love that about you. I love how you always say thank you when I do something for you. You have helped me to stay feeling young. Even though, I am getting older, you make me feel like I'm not.
I am so glad you came along, and that the Lord preserved your life when I feared you wouldn't make it. You are and always will be my baby girl.

Being a mother is the greatest gift of all, and I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for giving me the most loving, supportive mother in the world, that made me feel I was so special that I could do ANYTHING!!, and I thank him for allowing me to be these six children's mother.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Elder Esplin is HOME!

Have I talked about my SON?? I don't think I have, at least lately, but he has just returned from his two years spent in San Diego, California on a mission for the church. He had to learn Spanish and mostly preached the gospel to Spanish speaking people who lived there, and in close by surrounding areas. He arrived home last Tuesday, at 4:15 and many of you were there and saw this silly reaction from me when I saw him get off the plane. If you weren't there, you should get a good laugh out of this, I couldn't hide my emotions.
This is the video that Tara's husband took of all of us at the airport. I was SO EXCITED!!! Not just because Eric was coming home;
but because of what's happened while he's been gone, it was a moment that I wondered if I would get to see.

It was a little over a year ago that I was faced with the dilemma of how to tell Eric that I had breast cancer.

My own mother died with breast cancer that had spread to her liver about 12 years ago, and Eric was all too aware of that. Telling him was not something I wanted to do. I did not want him to worry, or be interrupted in any way while he was serving. I did not want him to feel like he needed to come home. At first I told everyone, "Don't let Eric know, I will be all better when he gets home and I will tell him then". That idea lasted a few days, until everyone convinced me that sooner or later, someone was going to leak it to him, and he would be hurt to think I didn't tell him. I realized all of a sudden that I NEEDED his spiritual strength and PRAYERS. Who better is the Lord going to listen to than someone who is giving his full time attention to serving HIM......... yes, Eric needed to know...

Dale came up with the idea to call the Mission President and let him tell Eric. That's what we did, and it went pretty well. Eric did tell us later that his heart sunk to his toes, and of course he first thought of my mom and a dear friend of mine, Kim Judd, that had passed away from breast cancer that spread to the rest of her body in 2004. He remembered all of that and did feel some fear. He said he started to fast immediately, and then felt peace, that all would be well.

I felt that it was the right thing to do when I told him in a letter, "Elder Esplin, this is what I need you to do, I need you to stay on your mission , be very obedient, and work extra hard, and pray for me, and I know that by the time you get home, I will be 'as good as new', I promise you that I will be here when you get back." I have thought about that statement so many times over the last year. I hoped and prayed that my feelings and thoughts were inspired, not just wishes. I couldn't sleep the last few days before Eric came home, overwhelmed with what has happened over the last year or so. I worried that I wasn't as good as new because I am so not cute anymore. (is that vain to think I was ever cute?).
(This is just a nice way of saying I feel like I am ugly, but my breast cancer support group teaches us that "berating ourselves is more damaging to our health than almost anything else", so I know I shouldn't think things like this)
I know the truth is that I am "as good as new", or even better on the inside, even if my outside is not what I would like it to be. I heard Elder David Bednar speak Sunday night, and he cautioned everyone to NOT diminish our bodies. God made them and doesn't like it when we don't like ourselves, or abuse ourselves. I never thought about it that way. I will do better.

Thank you all for coming to Elder Eric Esplin's homecoming party, whether you were at the airport, or at the pizza factory, or even if you were there in spirit. It was such an uplift to me to see so many of you rejoicing with me that I am still alive and well, and got to enjoy the sweet gift of seeing my son Return with Honor. When Eric left, I had long blonde hair, so he has a little adjusting to do just when he looks at me, besides adjusting to everything else.
He is doing great. The biggest difference I have noticed is he doesn't seem to like too much noise. I have heard him say several times this week that he would like it if we all would talk and scream (some of the grandkids) just a little bit softer. I hadn't even noticed how loud we were.

Two days later, I was privileged to be invited to witness the birth of my youngest brother's new baby son in Las Vegas. This is little Beckett Charles McKnight. He weighed 6 lb, 8 oz. I love his mother, my sister-in-law, Heather McKnight. (Some of you might remember that I went to their wedding in between chemo sessions.) In case you think my skin looks good here, Eric is very good on the computer and showed me how he can "touch up" pictures, so he erased my wrinkles..................ooohh, if we could only do that in real life. :)

It is great to have him home, and I am back home now too.
Today we spent some time in the temple together. We had some family names that needed to be baptized, so Eric baptized Kimberlee and I in behalf of 7 of our ancestors, it was a great experience. Afterwards, we went to a bank, where he applied for a job as a teller, and then on to the Spectrum to put his announcement in about his homecoming.

If you are anywhere near the St. George area on Sunday, May 10 ( what a nice mother's day present for me :) ), he will be speaking in Sacrament meeting at 1222 East Brigham Road in Bloomington Hills at 1:30, and we are having a dinner buffet at 3:00 at our house afterwards. You are all invited, and if you really want to , you could bring a side dish to go along with shredded seasoned beef that I will make in the crock pot for the entree. We will see what else I can cook up besides that too.

Thank you all for you loving support. Hope to see you all soon. Love, Karen