Family, Parenting, Relationships, Uncategorized

We said yes!

As many of you know, my daughter Annie spent part of the summer in Africa.

On her way home!
On her way home!

She came home on a Thursday. Her boyfriend, Josh, flew here Friday and stayed at her friend’s house.

(Thank you SKN!)

Then, Saturday morning, he surprised her by proposing at Eastern Market on Capitol Hill.

First glance at him
First glance at him

If I’d had any doubts about this marriage idea before, they were quickly washed away when I saw the joy in Annie’s face when she spun around to see him standing behind her with a bouquet of sunflowers.

Notice I wrote that “if” I’d had any doubts. That is different from I “had” doubts.

I’ve been thinking about this proposal for a while now as we plotted and schemed about the best way to pull it off.


As Annie became closer to this boy, friends would ask, “Are you okay with this?”

What do you say to that question?

I said, “I trust Annie,” which is true. She doesn’t make important decisions lightly. Ever.

But, what does it take for a mother to really be “okay” with her 20-year-old daughter getting married?


Since I’ve known about this pending engagement, I’ve felt like Steve Martin in the movie, “Father of the Bride” when he looks at his daughter after she announces she’s getting married, and he see’s a six-year-old telling an engagement story. (Similar to how I felt when she said she was going to Africa!)

Cover of "Father of the Bride (15th Anniv...
Cover via Amazon

In the abstract, I’d imagined me scrutinizing every facet of the boy’s life, character, family, and personality.

I know it’s cliché but, every parent wonders if anybody will ever be good enough for their child.

I mean, we’re talking about my Annie here, my baby girl, born with all that wild hair all over her head, the one who was so cute the doctor kept dropping by my hospital room just to hold her and play with her hair. In fact, she said, she’d never seen a cuter baby. (I had a different doctor when Sara was born or she would have said Annie was as cute. A mother always has to cover her bases, you know.)

Dr. T. thought Annie looked like she’d stopped at a heavenly hair salon for some highlights before coming to earth.

Does this boy who wants to marry her know what she means to me?

Does he know that when she was in pre-school and sang, “You are my Sunshine,” that my heart melted like a popsicle in the hot sun?

Does he know that song became “our song?” Does he know that we wrote love notes to each other all our lives and ended with, “Always remember,  you are my sunshine?”

That girl’s happiness means more to me than words can ever describe.

So, again, how does a mother get “okay” with her daughter getting married?

It’s like putting my heart and hers in the palm of a stranger’s hand and saying, “Be careful with it,” and then praying like crazy he knows how much I mean it.

Before Annie left for Africa she said Josh wanted to talk to Doug to ask his permission.

“In our family, he needs to ask the mother too,” I said.

I knew Doug would be too much of a soft touch. If anyone was going to do the scrutinizing and deep, investigative reporting, it would have to be me.

I had my opportunity for this big talk a few weeks ago when Josh and I went to lunch.

A weird thing happened at that lunch.

Even though I was armed with questions, and had ignited my full-on mother radar , a softness took over me, and my goal became to see Josh as Annie saw him.

Instead of wanting to grill him, I wanted to love him. I wanted to love and appreciate the man Annie knows and loves.

And, guess what?

It was easy.

I received a beautiful gift and sensed the humble, sweet spirit of a young man who truly adores my baby girl.

So, when she said “Yes” to him at Eastern market, so did I.

yes 3

I’m okay with this.

I’m okay with him.

I’m more than okay. I’m excited because I can see why he chose her; and why she chose him.

And, this mother is quite okay.

But, Josh, always remember, she was my sunshine first…

You Are My Sunshine
You Are My Sunshine (Photo credit: Enokson)

Remembering a Springville Summer

While in my hometown of Springville for a few weeks, I passed the city park and noticed a new water fountain, stream and splash pad filled with kids running around and playing in the squirting sprinklers.

It reminded me of my summers at Park-Ro-She swimming pool on the north end of Main Street.

My brother and I walked up to Main Street from our house to catch a school bus to the pool for summer swimming lessons.

When we were older and better swimmers, we rode our stingray bikes there every day and spent our summer days jumping off the diving boards, racing in the pool, playing follow the leader, Marco Polo and performing astounding flips and our share of belly flops off the diving boards.

It seemed like everybody in town was there every day. We played and swam until we were hungry; pedaled home for lunch, and went back until dinnertime.

Those were the days of no sunscreen too, so we were the pale kids with perpetual sunburns, freckles and plenty of blisters.

While reveling in my Park-Ro-She memories, I remembered when I was in middle school and my friend manipulated me into going to a boy-girl party.


I did everything I could to get out of going, but when she told me she had set it all up, and that if I didn’t meet the boy at the corner by her house and walk with him to the party, it would hurt his feelings.

Even though I would have been happier at the pool, hopelessly waiting for my freckles to merge into a tan, I went.

When I got to the corner to meet the boy, the first thing he said was, “Here.” Then he handed me a ring and grabbed hold of my hand like we were an official couple.

When I got to the corner to meet the boy, the first thing he said was, “Here.” Then he handed me a ring and grabbed hold of my hand like we were an official couple.

I pulled my hand away and looked at the ring, wondering where he got the idea that walking with me to a party meant I would wear his ring and hold his hand.

I pulled my hand away and looked at the ring, wondering where he got the idea that walking with me to a party meant I would wear his ring and hold his hand.

The first thing on the party agenda was to play the boxed version of We lost, of course, because we didn’t know anything about each other.

The first thing on the party agenda was to play the boxed version of The Newlywed Game.  We lost, of course, because we didn’t know anything about each other.


The Newlywed Game
The Newlywed Game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Later they turned off all the lights and everyone paired up and went into different dark corners of her house.  I pretended I was sick and said I had to go home.

The next day, when I was back at Park-Ro-She, I jumped off the high dive, slipped off the ring, and happily watched it sink to the bottom of the pool.

“Goodbye, boyfriend!”

I felt relieved to be free of the burden of a boyfriend I never wanted in the first place.

Thinking she was doing me a favor, a misguided friend found it and brought it back to me.

“I don’t want that ring,” I said.  “I’m trying to break up with him.”

“You can’t break up with him by just losing his ring,” she said.  “You have to give it back and tell him you are not going out with him anymore.”

“Fine,” I said, handing her the ring.  “You tell him for me.”

My first relationship ended less than 24 hours after it started.

When I told my Mom about the break-up, she said, “Well, I don’t blame you a bit.  You don’t need to be bothered with that falderal at your age.”

During my time in my old hometown, I couldn’t help thinking about the swimming pool, the drive-in movie theater, the A&W, the stingray bikes, and Peay’s Market.

Thanks to James Adams for posting this on the You Know You're From Springville Facebook page
Thanks to James Adams for posting this on the You Know You’re From Springville Facebook page
art city drivein
Thanks to Ryan Grassley for this photo


All of those places are gone now, but the summer memories they gave me will last forever.

















Memoir, Personal, Relationships

Regrets and Do-Overs

While in Utah visiting my family, my sister and I got into a conversation about regrets.

What do I regret? What kinds of things would I do differently if I had a few do-overs?

Life never stops moving forward. Stay focused ...
credit: deeplifequotes)

Do I regret filling yards of surgical tubing with water and spraying an apartment full of poker-playing boys in college? No.

Do I regret filling up my first semester of college with classes like trampoline, tennis and dance?

Or making a spontaneous decision at 9 p.m. at night to load my car with college friends and drive to Las Vegas for the weekend?


What I regret are the times I could have been kinder to people.


I remember a girl in junior high and high school that everyone teased mercilessly because she had acne and a nervous twitch.

As she walked down the halls, people imitated her twitch as she passed them.

I hated walking that same gauntlet as all the boys sat on the hall benches and called me “Little Bob,” after my Dad who was a little league football coach or “Little Snowsie,” after my brother.”

If I hated that kind of attention, how must it have been to be mocked for bad skin and a sudden jerk of the neck I couldn’t control?

Luckily, I can’t remember directly teasing her myself, but maybe I’ve conveniently forgotten that detail because I’m ashamed of myself.

Even if I didn’t personally injure her, I never once stood up for her.

I’m ashamed of myself for the times I could have stepped back from the teasing or stepped in to stop it; for the times I kept my mouth shut when I could have jumped to someone’s defense or when I opened my mouth only to add to the cutting remarks.

Doug shared a story on Facebook from The New York Times Magazine called, “George Saunder’s Advice to Graduates.”

He wrote about regret he’s carried for  42-years. He regrets that he wasn’t nice to a shy girl who joined his seventh grade class.

She wore blue cat-eye glasses and nervously chewed on her hair.

Students teased her, asking if her hair tasted good, or they simply ignored her and never tried to befriend her.

I don’t know how many kids passed through my life like that. How many did I ignore because they didn’t look or dress right or simply because I had plenty of friends?

Saunder’s said, “Relative to most of the other kids, I was actually pretty nice to her. I never said an unkind word to her. In fact, I sometimes even (mildly) defended her. But it still bothers me. So here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it: What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.”

That phrase “failures of kindness” hit me hard because that is what I regret most too.

“Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded…sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly,” he said.

But, what about the times I didn’t respond sensibly, reservedly or mildly and without even knowing it, may have been downright cruel?

There are no do-overs for those times.

In his graduation speech, he wisely shared that: “as you get older, your self will diminish and you will grow in love. YOU will be gradually replaced by LOVE. If you have kids, that will be a huge moment in your process of self-diminishment. You won’t really care what happens to YOU, as long as they benefit.” (One of the best reasons ever for having children!)

His end-of-speech advice was, “Since , according to me, your life is going to be a gradual process of becoming kinder and more loving: Hurry up! Speed it along. Start right now.”

If I had one do-over, I would definitely follow his advice and err on the side of kindness. I’ve clearly become a much kinder, more selfless person as I’ve aged.

But, if I could dial the years back to my adolescence and do a few things differently, I’d still do the crazy things like hose down the poker-playing boys, master my trampoline moves, and skip off to Vegas; but, I’d also be a lot kinder.

Related articles