A Page of One's Own

Three Years

Oct
07

I have been thinking about this post for the last three months. To feel safe, I have wanted to write a list of what I learned in the past year of marriage, like I have in previous years. Lists are clean and neat, and I certainly learned enough this past year of marriage to make a substantial list.

But every time I thought about the last year of my marriage, a list seemed too cheap somehow. What I actually learned cannot be synthesized in numbers and phrases.

So here goes my best attempt to express this year in a series of paragraphs and pictures.

When Branden and I began to date, I had a severe eating disorder.

For the first year of our marriage, I succumbed to the eating disorder. For the second, I dug as hard as I knew how. I clawed my way out. For the third, I healed.

I say this because Branden and I never really experienced the “honeymoon phase” of marriage and dating that many people do. Our early days together were full of the push and pull that addiction brings–the balance of fighting against deceit but feeling too broken to put my heart completely on the line. I was afraid of being loved and was afraid of loving openly.

For the first two years, I said I was sorry, a lot. I said I was sorry for being a handful, for being “too much,” for having such a multitude of issues. He didn’t bring up his “stuff,” because he was busy taking care of my apologies.

This year, I started to say “Thank you for understanding,” when my impulse was to say “I’m sorry for being myself.” I began to realize that the burden of my journey away from maladaptive coping skills and towards self-love was mine to own.

When we started to date, Branden and I struggled to communicate. I needed to talk about everything, all the time. My idea of closeness has always been communication, while his has been creating memories through quality time. When two people differ on something so fundamental to a relationship, I think there often is a long stream of questions: “Who is wrong? Why isn’t this working? Is it you or is it me?”

I asked myself and Branden this for the first two years. If my way of communicating was wrong, his must be right, I thought. Or if his was right, I must be wrong.

This year, I began to accept that maybe our methods can co-exist. And as soon as I considered this, we began to accept each other. He stopped trying to quiet my passion and I stopped trying to pull rawness out of him.

As I gave him space to be unapologetically himself, he started to tell me his story day-by-day. Almost the moment I committed to let him be himself without questioning that this somehow threatened who I was, our communication problems became almost non-existent.

I have learned that Branden is not responsible for me, and I am not responsible for him. And as soon as this started to click, as I began to heal from the scars of my past, we became much more of a team. I can now honestly say that I love Branden exactly in this moment of who he is. I love that he loves smoking meat and working with wood, that he gets emotional about inspirational music auditions, that his way of being vulnerable with me is soft and thoughtful. I love that I know his struggles, which ones came out to me when I stopped pushing him and started loving myself. And I choose to believe him when he says that he loves me, really loves me, and that he thinks (at 9 months pregnant) I am the most beautiful woman in the world.

I cannot begin to describe how much I appreciate him. When I see posts about people in love who are “best friends,” I always wonder what that really means, especially when they seemed to have met only yesterday.

But Branden has earned that title for me and I hope I have earned it for him. He chose to marry me when we didn’t know if I would ever recover, or if I would ever be able to have kids or lead a “normal” life. He demonstrated so much confidence in my ability to fight and overcome that I couldn’t help but try. He inspired me to do what I thought could not be done, and he sat with me through counseling and encouraged me through despair and prayed for me through sleepless nights. He sat with me on many bathroom floors and talked me through many panic attacks, and he loved me and never shamed me in moments of relapse and struggle. He is the best friend that I have.

So what have I learned this year in marriage? I learned the richness that comes from loving someone without trying to change a thing. I learned the depth that comes from believing I am lovable, scars and all. I learned how to really love.

More than anything, I learned what a wonderful man I married. 

 

What I Have Learned In Two Years of Marriage

Aug
10

First things first. Happy second anniversary to the love of my life, Branden. For this anniversary, I got him a homemade floral wreath and a pink baby baseball hat and a rock painted with the word “nope” that I can flash at him every time he starts trying to fix a problem instead of just listening. Obviously my gifts to him this year were extremely selfless.IMG_0307

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IMG_0329In addition to my increasing selflessness, this year of marriage has ushered in a new chapter of knowledge and experience. I consider marriage to be holy and sacred. I consider it the most important relationship on earth. I look back on my list of what I learned in marriage last year, and I sense vast differences between then and now.

We have changed. I have, he has, our lives have. With every year, I hope to reconsider and add to this list. Year to year, day to day and moment to moment, we will change and compromise and modify and try. So on this beautiful 9th of August, I write this list in honor of my incredible husband and our marriage.

  1. The moments that I want to be selfish, need to be selfish, when I have reached the end of my rope; those are the most important moments to fight my self-centered urges.

My doctor of three years, a very good friend of mine, asks about my relationship with Branden every time I see him. And every time I answer, he says “Marriage is about always thinking of the other person, especially when you don’t want to.” The first time he said this, it echoed somewhere deep within me and reverberates still today. Especially when you don’t want to.

Ninety-nine hours out of one hundred, loving Branden is easy. And for that one hour when I am tired and the baby is crying and I feel ugly and SOMEONE FEED ME, I hear the annoying echoing in my mind. Especially when you don’t want to.

I think that one huge difference between a good marriage and a truly rewarding one is how people treat each other in these “one hours.”

        2. Having a child complicates things.

IMG_5755Obviously, Kaylee.

I think new couples know this. But until they experience it, the complications are hard to describe.

Let me try.

Going on a date, even to dessert or just a game night, becomes significantly harder. There are feeding times, nap times, bed times, and fussy times to consider. When we finally get to the ice cream parlor, I struggle focusing on Branden. What if my baby needs me? What if she cracks her head open? What if she is starving? What if she stops breathing? A million passing thoughts. I try to shove them aside and relax. In the back of my brain, she is always there. Motherhood has doomed me and blessed me to a life of eternal responsibility.

Both of us are tired. For the first few weeks of our baby’s life, this is bearable and even exciting because–wow–we actually created a human life. But after a while, the novelty wears off and peaks through only in rare glimpses.

Branden no longer wakes up when the baby cries, because he is a deep sleeper. I start punching his shoulder in the middle of the night. I cry to him about how much I hate nursing. I complain too much. He is in graduate school. I am not ready to be a mom. He is not ready to be a dad. We are not ready to be parents. Who ever was?

We don’t agree about what is most important–moving her from her swaddle to a sleep sack, moving her from her bassinet to a crib, giving her a binky less and less. One million decisions I never thought about, and the weight of the world seems to hang on each.

Having a baby complicates things.

        3. When complications arise, love harder.

Love is not some mysterious force that you fall into and out of. It is a decision. It is getting flowers, forgiving quickly, saying sorry. Going to dinner, holding hands, praying together. Sacrificing, trusting, laughing. Cleaning the toilet, going on a bike ride, watching your show instead of mine.

So when complications come, do more of these things. Love harder.

        4. Choose to forgive quickly.

I am the queen of the annoying people who do this poorly. But I have found that when I make a conscious effort to let go of something quickly, I am relieved of a burden. With only a few hours of distance, I realize that whatever happened really was meaningless.

I learned last year the importance of forgiveness. I learned this year the importance of timely forgiveness. The minutes wasted are too precious.

         5. Putting someone else’s needs about my own is incredible.

I would have used the word “stupid” instead of “incredible” four months ago. I was angry. Branden was starting graduate school and I was at home with a baby trying to make money. The options to make money were limited, and I found myself doing what I did 8 years ago, before a high school and college degree. I felt resentment that I wasn’t in graduate school and that my dreams and my plans were on hold. I struggled immensely with the role I now occupied.

However, as time has passed, I have began to feel this deep type of satisfaction that has never before stirred. Every time I sit down to do my job (that I don’t want to do) and to change a diaper (that I don’t want to change,) something moves in my heart. I feel that I am becoming something instead of getting somewhere. It is silent and unappreciated, and it is marvelous. Aside from the personal time that I insist on daily, I live for my husband and my child. For the first time in my life, I have truly put someone else’s needs above my own in an inconvenient way.

This has increased my love for my family, my husband and my baby, in indescribable ways.

    6. Bring the party.

IMG_0319While I was going through this moment of grumpiness and resentment, I was not bringing the party. I was extinguishing the party with gallons of water and fire extinguishers in both of my hands.

I don’t want to be the wife who the husband dreads coming home to. So I try to bring the party. And if my house doesn’t get clean because I’m busy writing notes and dancing in my underwear, I’m over it. Actually if my house doesn’t get clean because I’m doing anything else, I’m over it.

  7. I married a good man.

I love Branden. I respect his opinion. I appreciate his hard work.

Branden applied to 15 PA schools. Fourteen rejected him. Most PA applicants are much older than him or I, and have thousands of hours of experience more.

I have watched him work harder than I knew a man could work to be where he is today. He started working at a plasma center shortly before we were married. He woke up before school every day, often with only a few hours of sleep to get him through the day, to increase his patient care hours and thus his chance of acceptance to PA school. Branden and I have never woken up together, other than an occasional Saturday or holiday, our entire marriage. He didn’t take off spring and summer classes, because he wanted to get through school before our kids were grown. He struggled through difficult chemistry classes. He was placed on a priority wait list at Rocky Mountain, and we waited, and we waited, and we waited for months. A month before PA school started, the director of the school informed him that there was little to no chance of acceptance, because everyone had already filled out their paperwork and paid their fees.

Branden got a call informing him of his acceptance about a week and a half before the program started, after a difficult and grueling year of waiting. He earned this position with sleepless nights, hard work, optimism and prioritization.

In the middle of his insane schedule, I will never forgot a bleak Monday about a week before I was due. I was sick and tired and sore. He had finals coming up and hours of homework. Instead of working through this, he came home and told me I was beautiful all slumped down in my pajamas and played Rumikub with me for three hours.

I married a good man.

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Marriage is Work

Jun
14

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There exists this amazing and terrible principal somewhere in the universe. This principal insists that in order for something to become one of the dearest in our hearts, we must sacrifice for it.

I feel that social media, and maybe media in general, has largely skewed the perception of this principal. Through social media, we see whoever we want to see however they want us to see them. We see everyone’s best–their smiling faces, their favorite quotes, their successes–crammed together in a beautifully crafted Instagram feed or Facebook wall.

It is difficult to compete when you are a human and everyone else is a picture.

Relationships have not escaped this distortion. It seems that thousands of people post a gorgeous, flawlessly-edited wedding picture with a mushy caption on their one week, two month, three year anniversary. This may lead those in relationships to question themselves, to feel insecure, or to “want out” of the situation, mainly because their lives are full of day-to-day chores, financial stresses, hand-me-down jeans and over sized t-shirts.

I have been married for two years, so I am certainly no expert. But let me be real with you.

Marriage is work.

There are no short-cuts. We live in a world where many successful businesses advertise quick ways to get amazing results, where social media portrays perfect lives, and where TV dramas demonstrate couples breaking up because it “just isn’t working for them anymore.” But back to that principal of the universe: the dearest things have the steepest cost. Marriage is work, and that is why it is good.branden and me

In order to love my husband fully in our relationship, I have to decide to love him day after day. The tricky thing about marriage in my two years of experience is that in order for it to be good, both people must actively try to fulfill and serve the other person, even when the y feel their own personal needs are not being met. When both people try to do this, amazing growth happens. Without both people on board, at best one person is being selfish and at worst, abusive. Marriage is the antithesis of competition, greed, selfishness, and self-fulfillment. In other words, it is work.

Branden and I struggled when we were dating. I was working through some pretty serious problems and relied on him for too much. And while I had that going on, Branden had no idea how to communicate with a 2×4, let alone an emotional girlfriend. He decided to take a chance on me and asked me to be his, for which I will be eternally grateful. About six months into our marriage, we had a conversation wherein Branden was able to express a few things that I had done that hurt our marriage.

And I had to change.

IMG_5755Nothing has taught me my weaknesses or strengths the way that marriage has. Nothing has forced me to evaluate if I truly am being my best self the way that marriage has.

After this difficult conversation six months into my marriage, I woke up every morning and asked myself: do I chose Branden today, or do I chose myself? I am far from perfect, but I have become more self-aware and hopefully a little less selfish by consistently thinking of this.

I wanted to write this because I believe in transparency. I believe that our lives are for sharing, and that every struggle that touches or strengthens someone becomes a struggle that is worth-while.

So let me transparent. I am not a perfect wife, and sometimes I am not a good wife. But my heart swells with the thought of the daily opportunities I will have for the rest of my life to fight with Branden a little more, to laugh with Branden, to struggle with Branden and to triumph with Branden.wedding 5

Let me be transparent: my marriage is a million things more than smiling pictures. It is long nights of trying to work something out and setting aside time for date nights and our baby crying and no one wanting to get up and compromise, compromise, compromise. It is giggling, and surprises, and birthday cakes, and indescribably precious moments that have taken my breath away and made me pray in gratitude for the chance to know someone so closely. It is insecurity and vulnerability. More than anything, it is the deepest and best kind of sacrifices that we try to make for each other, taking into account the day-to-day chores, the financial stresses, the hand-me-down jeans and the over sized t-shirts.IMG_5773

Our relationship has changed, and it changes from week to week and month to month. It is more mature, in ways that make me appreciate who Branden is and who I am differently than I ever could have imagined. It is more difficult, in ways that make me grow up and try harder and forgive quicker.

I love being married, because marriage is work.

 

The Brooks’ Year Review

Dec
31

Dear family and friends,

I can hardly believe it’s been a year since I last wrote you all! We hope that this letter finds you happy and healthy and as thrilled as can be!

Well. It’s finally happened. MY PARENTS ARE EMPTY NESTERS. The other day, I called my mom at 7 AM. Generally, she’s awake at 4. By 7, she’s made breakfast and lunch and dinner, run errands for the day, gone on 2 runs, re-organized something in our house, etc…etc…. Anyways, when I called her, she was still in bed. I was shocked out of my mind but tried to play it cool. I hung up, immediately called Brittany, and said: “MOM IS STILL IN BED AND IT’S 7 AM. I THINK SHE’S LOSING IT.”

After a mini intervention, it turns out that she is still stable, still happy, and enjoying waking up at 7 AM. The empty nester life is one of luxury, you know? My dad continues to be our happy, positive friend. I can tell he’s loving all the time with my mama—dates for days!

Taylor decided he didn’t want to spend the rest of eternity teaching history classes to 8th graders, so he started his graduate program at the U, while still teaching 8th grade. He gets a little bit hated on because he’s now attending the University of Utah, but we generously forgive him and tell him to try harder next time. Lexie decided to get her second degree in nursing, the champion! She became manager at the assisted living home she works at, and all her little minions call her all the time with questions about what to do. When her and Branden and Brittany get together, they like to talk about needles and medication and blood and hospitals and stuff, and I mostly just cry and tell them to stop because they’re scaring me.

Brittany loves Dixie University, and I love visiting her at Dixie University because 1. Her couch is the freaking bomb to sleep on, and 2. She is a little grown-up doing grown-up things as a sophomore in college! It blows my mind. She is also working on her nursing degree, and is now certified as a phlebotomist and a CNA. She just took the final for her hardest class today, and naturally celebrated by buying a little jean and gold dress for my baby girl. The other day, Branden was like “Kaylee, maybe we should start paying Brittany for all the stuff she’s bought our baby,” and I was like “No. We can’t afford that.”

Ben is currently all graduated from high school, preaching and serving people in Vina Del Mar, Chile. WOW how we miss him! My mom and I decided it was so hard to say goodbye to him because he is everyone’s baby. He is doing so well out there—working hard, playing soccer with Chilean babies, eating Chilean food and loving people to life. We love him and are incredibly proud of the young man he is.

I am 8 months pregnant and a college graduate! Honestly, Branden and I have no idea what are plans are for the next year, so look forward to next year’s letter because we could pretty much be anywhere in the world doing anything. Hopefully we’re in the Bahamas doing nothing, although that’s unlikely. We are excited to meet our little one here in a month. Branden is so cute about the whole thing. The other day, I asked him if he was nervous about any part of parenthood. He thought about it for a while and then responded: “There is one thing I’m nervous about.” (I got all quiet and sensitive, ready to comfort him in his fears.) “Kaylee, I don’t know how to dress a baby with their little flailing arms and legs.” So while he’s worried about that, I’m worried about screwing the kid up. Regardless, I love her dearly.

We hope that you all have a marvelous Christmas season and a glorious year! Thank you for your love and friendship!

The Brooks (The empty-nesters, Taylor and Lexie, Kaylee and Branden and unborn child, Brit, and Ben.) 

What I’ve Learned in a Year of Marriage

Aug
09

wedding 2   Today is my first year wedding anniversary! This is absolutely a day worth celebrating for me and Branden, because I truly feel that marriage is the most wonderful, celestial thing on earth.

This being said, I think anyone who has been married can agree that the first year is definitely a year full of learning. (And, I’m assuming, all of the years after.) I’ve put together a list that I have been thinking of for quite some time of the biggest things I’ve learned in a year of being married. Obviously, I’m no marriage expert, so I speak only from my own 365 days of experience.

1. Freaking have fun.

There is a lot to be stressed about most of the time for your whole life. Some people freak out. Some people go get ice cream and laugh it off. Branden is teaching me how to just have fun.

wedding 62. Fighting isn’t bad. Being mean is bad.

When old couples say “We haven’t been in a fight in the 50 years we’ve been married!,” I always think: “Wow. Neither of you must have any personality.”

Branden and I have learned together that disagreeing respectfully is valuable. Of course it is important to keep tempers in check, to speak kindly, etc… Marriage wouldn’t be what it is without differences in background, differences of opinion, and differences of expression. Who better than to kindly call you on something than your spouse? And who better to help you think of something in a new light than your spouse? Fighting about something can be very useful, and I wish people would stop putting “agreeing” on a pedestal. You don’t have to think like someone to love them completely.

3. Don’t criticize your spouse, ever, ever, ever, to anyone on the outside.

Here’s the thing: my parents would probably always take my side if I told them about a recent argument I had withwedding 1 Branden. (Actually, they really love Branden. They would probably tell me I was being a drama queen babe.) But my friends would definitely take my side. And if Branden went and told his friends about some argument, they would probably have a good hate-on-Kaylee fest. And in any relationship made up of two humans, there are plenty of things to criticize on both sides. But this is your very own marriage–not yours and your spouses and your families and all your friends.

I can’t count how many times a day Branden and I tell each other “I love you.” It’s probably embarrassingly cheesy. But I truly believe little expressions of love mean everything in a marriage. I know that Branden loves me, but every time he tells me, I feel reinforced and important. Tell me your appreciate me, you love me, and I am your one and only. I’ll do the same for you, and then we will be sure to never forget it.

4. Put your spouse first, even when you really don’t want to.

I think out of everything, this is the one that makes the most difference, at least in my own marriage. I know every time I’m tired or frustrated, I pretty much have a choice. I can be selfish and demand attention and pity (which inevitably ends in someone being frustrated) or I can do something nice for Branden (which almost always ends in me and him feeling better.) I’m sad to say I haven’t always chosen the latter; this is maybe the hardest one for both Branden and I. As Branden says, “Marriage means no more ‘woe is me.'”wedding 5

5. Pick your battles based on what actually matters

I’m pretty sure Branden and I would have had a lot more “unimportant” or useless fights if he said something every time I did something idiotic. One time, Branden and I got in this stupid fight over who was right about the price of jelly beans or something. Don’t do this. You end up actually getting mad and then you don’t remember why but you remember forever that YOU WERE RIGHT.

6. Be faithful in every way

It is a fading belief that marriage is forever, but it is one that I am very committed to. It doesn’t matter if I’m mad at Branden, if we hit a rough patch (even one that lasts years) or if I turn emo or something. We are in this forever, both of us, and that means being completely transparent with each other.

7. It is the tiny little things

I had such a hard time at the beginning of our marriage with Branden leaving for work at 5 in the morning. I missed him, and I didn’t get to see him until late at night. Even then, it was only for a few minutes and then we were on to homework and a million countless other things. I felt like I was married and never got to see my spouse. Branden started writing me notes every morning. I would wake up and read the corner of a ripped piece of chemistry homework paper telling me to have an amazing day. This meant everything to me.wedding 4

8. You won’t change when you get married

Okay, that’s a little bit of a lie. You will change, but your insecurities won’t disappear and you will still do the annoying things you did before. Marriage isn’t a means to find someone who will make you “happy.” You make you happy, and that person compliments the happiness and confidence that you create within yourself.

9. The best thing you can do for your spouse is to emotionally be in a good place

I need me time. I need time to get myself together, to take a bath, to read a book, to do yoga, and to chill. I have learned that when I take a few extra minutes every day to take care of myself, I am able to more fully give to Branden all that he needs.

10. Love your spouse without qualification

It is a strange thing. When you are with someone as often as you are in marriage, you get to know their weaknesses, quirks, flaws, and shortcomings pretty quickly.

For example, I am very impatient. Branden is the epitome of patience. I can communicate extremely well. Branden was pretty bad at communicating when we got married.

We had to give each other space to be human and learn. Accepting someone means that your love is truly unconditional.

Branden is the champion at this. I always felt that when I reached a golden standard of “good” or “good enough” I would then be worth spending money, time, and love on. It turns out that when you are married, and in a good marriage, you don’t really have to do anything other than be your own kind of “good” to qualify for all of the love in the world. Knowing this has given me a huge surge of confidence in myself, and has also given Branden confidence in the dreams he is pursuing. It is pretty cool to know that someone loves you just for being alive.

Pregnancy Brain

Aug
07

I promise you that pregnancy brain is a real thing, and if it’s not, tell me that it is.

Two days ago, I was running late. Actually, I was running late every day this week, but my story is particularly about two days ago. I rushed out the door on Wednesday and awkwardly tried to waddle to my car with all my bags when I went to grab my car key from my backpack. I had already previously lost my house key as well as a key ring, so my single car key always just hangs out by itself in my backpack. But for some reason, something had possessed me the day before to attach my single car key to all of my gift cards. (Why?)

Well, I quickly found that my keys plus my gift cards weren’t in my backpack. They weren’t in the fridge. They weren’t in the freezer either, or under the couches where they wouldn’t have fit anyways or the cupboards or the toothbrush drawer. And yes, I looked in all of those places. I spent the next two hours wandering around the house crying because obviously losing your key and some gift cards is basically the same as breaking both of your legs at the same time or maybe all of your fingers. 

Finally, I called Taylor to come take me to work and school. I got to work all puffy-eyed and entirely grumpy, and I moped shamelessly all day. Every time Branden called to check on me, I started crying about something else that was going wrong. So when he got home that night around 8:00, he just said: 

I will not eat and I will not sleep until I find your key, Kaylee. 

I think he said that because he was tired of me crying, although I’d like to think it was because he was feeling as passionate about finding my key as I was. 

Anyways, we searched for another 45 minutes and both had the idea to go through the outside trash can, just in case. We put on our head flashlights and everything, and the digging began. I started feeling discouraged as we reach the bottom of the trash can and still there is no sign of my key. Branden pulled up one last box, the box of an air mattress that we had opened the week before. It was closed pretty tightly, but for some reason Branden opened it and there they sat, my key, my key ring, and about 20 gift cards.

So apparently I dug up the trash at some point, found a sealed box, opened that box, and placed my key and gift cards inside, then returned the box to the very bottom of the trash can, all within the course of one day.

TELL ME PREGNANCY BRAIN IS REAL.

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin

Jul
29

Life is hysterical. One year ago I was in Brazil. Last year I wasn’t even married. THIS YEAR I AM WITH CHILD.

It definitely hasn’t hit me yet that I’m pregnant, probably because I wasn’t originally planning on giving birth for another few years. People come up to me and are like: Wow! Congratulations! You are going to be the best mom! And I look around like, who is this person talking to and why are they saying my name?

I took the pregnancy test while Branden was at work. I actually didn’t even tell him I was going to take it, so that was exciting. The last few weeks, I had been really tired and I suddenly couldn’t eat chicken or apples, but I still absolutely expected a negative. I woke up, took the test, and didn’t even look at it as I got ready for my run. I casually glanced at it’s little face, double took, got closer, blinked 100 times.  Yes, it said PREGNANT.
Naturally, I went for a run directly following this the discovery of this news. I’m the worst at keeping secrets, so I called my 25 besties and told them about it all before I had even told Branden. I wanted to tell him in person, so he could wait while I finished my run 🙂

I walked into his work an hour later with breakfast in my hands. I handed him a donut and some orange juice along with the blaring PREGNANCY result while secretly recording his reaction on my phone. He dropped the test as he went for the orange juice, looked at it, said “whaa….” and then flipped it over and just stared for a while. I saw it register slowly and then all at once, and he bolted through the door and across the counter and hugged me good. All his co-workers were all crying and stuff, and one of them said: “OH MY GOSH!!! ARE YOU HIS WIFE?!”

No, lady, I’m the dirty mistress.

Of course I’m his wife.

And just like that, all plans change. I applied for graduation in December, for which I will be 8 months pregnant. Hopefully they ask me to speak at graduation so I can run off needing to pee at the end. Glamour. I started making doctors appointments. They asked: How many weeks are you? And I was like: I don’t even know what that means.

The learning curve for anything pregnancy is pretty steep. Example: You find out you don’t have maternity coverage and have to figure out how the heck to finance a little one. Also, people freak out about everything when you are pregnant, thinking you shouldn’t do anything other than eat broccoli and sit down all day. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I’ve been surprisingly chill about it, and I listen to some of the guidelines, but other ones I think are ridiculous and I ignore.

For instance, there are these stupid charts that say what you think you’re craving and what you’re actually craving and should eat. You think you’re craving pizza, but you’re actually craving spinach.Um, I’m pretty sure I’m craving pizza. Thank you though.

Branden is pumped out of his mind. He makes lists of everything me and baby will need, and he talks to my stomach everyday and tells baby to be nice to me when he/she is making me throw up. I am excited on most days, and sometimes I’m so scared I cry. Actually, when I feel any emotion, I cry. Once again, glamour.

A grand adventure is about to begin!! Thank you all so much for your support.

Kaylee

Moments that Change Us

Jul
11

In and out, in and out.

Four years old and I tell my dad I didn’t eat more peanut M&Ms. But I did eat more peanut M&Ms and he knew it and sent me to my room and we talked about lying. A little knot formed in my belly and I sat on the ground until it went away. Tyler came over and wanted to play. We threw dirt clods at the blue green shed with crackly wood and little pieces of dry dirt stuck where the paint peeled. I told Tyler lying was bad because it hurts peoples’ feelings.

In and out, in and out and two moments gone with two breaths.

I woke up this morning and listened to myself breathe and then listened to Branden breathe. I matched our ins and our outs and thought about moments that pass with each in and out, moments that change us.

I am nervous, so nervous for my first middle school race. My hair is slicked back, my eyes wide and my jersey loose. I walk out of the locker room with Abby and two of my friends, two boys, yell across a field, “Kaylee, you are so beautiful!” I blush and turn away. Am I beautiful? After the race, two of my girlfriends tell me they have never seen me with my hair down, and that girls wear their hair down so I have to wear my hair down. The next day I try it out. I blush when someone comments and put it back up. I’d rather be me than pretty.

I didn’t make the basketball “A” team later that year. I call my dad crying after I look at the list void of my name. He stops by Albertsons on his way home from work and we have our very first “to hell with the world night.” Ice cream, chocolate, a chic flick, a back massage, and I’m better than the “A” team anyways.

I turn over in bed and whisper “happy birthday” to Branden. In and out, and he’s still sleeping.

We have these moments, the unexpected ones, that are irreplaceable, that cause time to slow down and even stop for a second, that leave a mark somwhere within us. We choose to let go of something, we choose to forgive, our hearts break, we succeed and we fail. We see another person hurting and the world expands, we suffer loss and the world shrinks. We forget that every moment of every day, we are breathing in and out, in and out, and then every once in a while something reminds us, and we are stuck forever in a moment that is too much to ever forget.

I’m camping with my family in the mountains of the Wasatch Front. Brittany and I escape and lay in a wide field under the stars. She tells me her eighth grade secrets and I tell her my high school secrets, and we laugh and cry a little. We are two tiny ants in the vast universe, and as she is talking, I know what it feels like to really love another human being.

In and out, in, out, and I wonder if today I will have an unforgettable moment, a breath in and out that lasts forever.

I’m 20 years old. I recently returned from my mission, and my bishop asked to give a homecoming talk at church. It is traditional in the LDS faith to speak in the native language of your mission for a few minutes as you give your speech to your family and friends.

Branden Heath, the sweet boy I had played 1-on-1 basketball against in high school, has been talking to me the last few days. I don’t know him at all, and I am guarded and skeptical on why he is interested in playing basketball again with me after so many years.

He speaks Portuguese fluently and helps me practice for my speech in church. I get on the stand on December 29 and see him walk into the back of the church building by himself wearing a green and gray sweater vest. In and out, calming down, but nervous, so nervous. I can’t speak Portuguese without crying, and so I give my speech in English instead.

I walk up to him expecting a joke about how I chose to talk in English when he had been taking time to practice Portuguese with me every day. I had already heard it from most of my friends who attended.

I put my head down and say “I’m sorry, I just couldn’t do it” as I approach him. He wraps me up in a hug and says “Are you kidding?! It was way better in English anyways. Kaylee, it was perfect.”

Branden has been my home ever since.

And just like that, I’m 22 and time passes so quickly that I dig my heels in and want it to stop, even for a few breaths so I can remember this moment, another moment that I feel is changing me.

I stay awake and let Branden sleep, in and out. “Happy birthday, love.”