Layers of life.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Juggling, Mothering

Here is the poem I submitted to BYU Studies in December, 2009. It won 2nd place in the BYU Studies Poetry Contest that year and was published in the BYU Studies journal in September, 2010, on page 132.

Juggling, Mothering

Bills, babies.
Mopping, maybes.
Catching, crying.
Teasing, trying.
Honking, hoping.
Holding, coping.
School, stress.
Is this a test?
Laughing, loving,
Sharing, shoving,
Reading, feeding.
Watch me! Am I free?
Explaining, maintaining.
Waiting, hating.
Goodbyes. Dry eyes.
Always tries. Not a price.
Fill, spill, need to chill.
Wake up. Make up.
Take up. Never break up.
Hugging, snuggling.
Giggling, wiggling.
Listening, whispering,
Answering. Not a thing.
Playing, saying.
Wishing, kissing.
Helpless, selfless.
Living, giving.
Take a breath. Stop to rest.
Need to eat. Do I ever sleep?
Watching, wondering.
Missing mothering?
Don’t cry, days fly by.
Hold on tight. This feels right.

Nicole Hall Dominguez

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Reliving 9/11

Do we really need to relive 9/11 every year? Well, do we want to continue living in a free country? Turn on the TV. Watch a special about 9/11. Relive that moment. What went through your head? We were alive when that happened and actually experienced it--all of us in different ways. It’s like our grandparents being alive when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred, except they weren’t able to watch from their living rooms.

Watching first in confusion when we heard the news of a plane crashing into one of the twin towers. Then in horror as we watched another plane crash into the other tower---sadly realizing this was not a mistake but an intentional act to hurt the people of our country. Learning that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon. Wondering what building would be hit next. Praying that no other hits would take place. Crying as we watched one tower fall, knowing there were people still inside, and unwillingly acknowledging that the other tower would probably not remain standing either. And, yes, aching pain searing through our hearts moments later as we watched the other tower fall as well. Who were the people that had to die that day, in that way? And who did they leave behind? Hugging the nearest loved one, sobbing together, watching the pictures of NYC on TV---dust where once stood a declaration of the greatness of our country and the people in it.

Then, overwhelming pride mixed with mourning, as we learned of Flight 93: they had figured it out in the air! They had figured out what was happening and had come together to do something about it. Like the people of this great nation had done so many times before, the passengers on Flight 93 came together to uphold their God-given freedoms; to uphold life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and to preserve these inalienable rights for others, even at the expense of their own lives.

Yes: remember! Learn. Learn history. Learn the history of this great nation of ours. Learn of its successes and failures. What can we learn from them? One thing that pertains to us right now is the ongoing cry by some for a “change” to the economic structure of the U.S. Why? Can’t we learn from history that communism and socialism have failed to bring about the “changes” that their founders claimed they could achieve? The biggest “leveling” factor in the history of the world is the United States Constitution. It has brought more freedom, more opportunities and more wealth to more people than anything else in the history of the world. The standard of living in the U.S. is unprecedented, and other nations that have caught sight of the vision of this document, allowing the freedoms and liberties and restricted government outlined there to take hold in their own nations, have come to realize similar blessings.

Why do you think people have been flocking here from around the world since this country was founded? Have you been to a second or third world country lately? If not, I urge you to visit one. Look around. See how people are living there. Heck, try living there yourself for a year or two. It brings a sense of gratefulness for where you were blessed to have been born that is not soon to be forgotten.

Do we want to hold on to one of the most important documents in the history of the world, the U.S. Constitution? Do we want to preserve our freedoms? Then, for the sake of your future and your children’s and grandchildren’s future, REMEMBER 9/11.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Not Missing Much...

"Honey, you’re not missing a whole lot." Part of me wants my husband to believe that and part of me wants ME to believe that. But 2 things happened, one last night and one this morning, that made reality hit hard and I thought, Man, Joe is missing this.

Last night, when we were winding down for bed, Deivy and Justin ran into my room and Deivy yelled, “Mom! Mom! You gotta see this!” And I was like, “What is it?” Then Justin did the single funniest thing I think I’ve ever seen any of our kids do. Especially at his age, with his background of sort of being slow to communicate. It just made it so funny because it was so unexpected!

Justin was just looking normal, looking at me with his big, heart-shaped, solemn face. The only way I could tell that something was coming was by looking at his soft brown eyes: they sparkled with excitement and were slightly creased at the edges with the hint of a joke. He waited patiently for his cue from Deivy.

With a nod from Deivy to “Go ahead!” Justin threw his hands up in the air, stuck his tongue out, practically down to his chin, and rolled his eyes up to the ceiling. I laughed and clapped for joy that my little 2-year-old was finally coming out of his shell. He was purposely trying to be funny, and achieving the right effect!

Then this morning I was helping Justin get dressed. He stepped into his shorts and I pulled them up to his waist—-maybe a little too high. He thought that was funny and pulled them up to his chest and laughed and laughed. I yelled for the kids to all come and see him. We all had a good laugh.

Two good laughs. Because of Justin, Joe---your 2-year-old-but-not-missing-much little boy. But don't worry. We'll remember and tell you when you call.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Every Day, Actually

I made it to Saver’s, finally, today. Second-hand store shopping is much more my style than mall shopping: it’s one store where you’ll find all the clothes you need for your family at a fraction of the mall prices. So, dragging in my five children and two bags full of unwanted items (but “someone else’s treasure”) in order to get my 20% off discount, I entered the store full of hopes of fun shopping times and finding good deals.

After about an hour of digging through clothes and shoes, we eventually decided to call it quits and headed for the dressing rooms. As soon as we got there a lady exclaimed rather loudly, “Do you have 5 children?!” She apparently was waiting as her daughter tried on clothes.

I let out a sigh-laugh and replied, “Yep!” with a slight smile. Great! I thought. She must have seen how wild my kids were behaving as we meandered our way through the store. Had she seen them playing with nearly every single toy in the toy aisle? Or pick out “pretty” shoes for me in the shoe aisles? Was it her that stopped short as my 2-year-old blindly dashed out in front of her? Perhaps she saw how my children loved to climb underneath and through the clothes on the racks. Did she see them chasing and fighting and getting mad at each other? Or even worse--did she hear me scold them to stop being so loud?

“Well,” the woman was saying as my mind raced through the events of the last hour, “God must have blessed you with more patience than the rest of us.”

In one second all of my “oh no’s” turned into a melted mush as I felt my cheeks get warm—partly from the compliment, and partly from not feeling so patient. “Actually,” I said quietly, “I’m still praying for that one,” and gave her a quick, sincere smile. Every day, actually.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In the Name of Chocolate

In thinking of a name for my blog, I thought, What identifies me? What about me makes me, me? What is something I love passionately, besides my husband and my children, and isn’t breaking any laws? Chocolate.

My husband says I’m addicted to chocolate. I think of it more as something I need to eat every day, and it helps me be happy. Like medication, you say? Hmmm, so if we put those two things together, could you say I’m addicted to my medication? Ha! Of course not.

Hold on, let me just eat a piece of chocolate real quick.

OK, better. Now, what was I saying? Oh yeah! Chocolate addiction? Absurd! Did you know that the average American eats 20 lbs of chocolate every year? And that without the Spanish exploration of the New World, chocolate would not be a world-wide phenomenon today? (How do I turn on the Food Network channel at just the time Marc Summers is talking about how chocolate is made? And the History Channel just when “The History of Chocolate” is being aired? I call it, “Divine Providence.” Or maybe it is the devil trying to fuel my "addiction.")

Back to the chocolate addiction. 20 lbs of chocolate a year? Try a month, baby. That’s right. And none of this Hershey’s junk, either. My preference is Ghirardelli. I buy a 24 oz. gold bag from Wal-Mart for $10, and a 28 oz. purple bag for $15 (this bag is sometimes on sale for $12—watch for it.) And it takes me about a month to go through that, with my children and my husband taking their bit as well.

I don’t try to hide my chocolate. Everyone in my family knows where I put it. It’s useless with this many people in our little house to try to hide it. Besides, I have nothing to hide—it’s not like it’s an addiction or anything…

Actually, when I was first married I did hide my chocolate. That’s what my mom always did, so I did it. But then Joe would find it and tease me about hiding chocolate from him. I think he was a little offended and thought I was selfish—like I didn’t want to share my chocolate with him! I DID want to share my chocolate with him—every favorite chocolate piece, every flavor; I wanted to eat it together and talk about it and share one of my favorite things in the world with him!

I thus began leaving the chocolate out in the open, and whaddya think happened? He ate it ALL! Gone! I had maybe two bites. You see, he didn’t understand the concept that chocolate connoseurs like myself do: Chocolate is not to be eaten to be eaten; chocolate is eaten to be tasted and enjoyed.

I then bought my chocolate secretly and hid it so well he never found it. The problem was, I never found it, either. Until weeks or sometimes months went by. I hid it too well!

So I figured, “out of sight, out of mind” would have to work for poor my poor husband. I had to teach him; to restrain him; to guide him. I was a chocolate whisperer of sorts. It was up to me to help my husband understand how precious and important chocolate was!

And it has worked. I put my chocolate in my bedroom cupboard, up high so little non-understanding fingers can’t reach it, but right there in front so everyone can see it when I open my cupboard to put on my watch or earrings.

The children can’t have any unless I’m eating some and they ask politely. The hubby occasionally consumes some when I’m not around, but it’s usually when I am eating some as well—he has really improved! There is no limit to the amount I can eat in a day, but I try to keep it under four squares. I do limit my children generally to one a day (if we don’t put limits on our children, no one will. More on that to come in another posting…) And of course I don’t limit my husband—I never have. What do you think I am, a NAZI wife? Just a little nudge here, and a gentle shove there. Chocolate whisperer That’s all.

The children also know my chocolate is special. It’s not something we just eat to eat. It’s a “treat.” Is there any other way to eat chocolate, other than considering it a “treat?” That’s the magical thing about it—it’s so good and rich, you can’t possibly eat it ALL the time. When you’ve accomplished something and feel you deserve a reward, what better reward than to eat chocolate? Maybe you’re tired and need a little pick-me-up? Chocolate. And when you’re feeling down, chocolate will ALWAYS make you feel happy.

So, yes—“chocolate” had to be in the title of my personal essay & poetry blog. My family and close friends all know I passionately love chocolate. And what could be better than chocolate? Layers of chocolate.