Saturday, April 9, 2005

Finding joy in the goofy and the happy

Published April 9, 2005
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

A very good friend of mine has a daughter who celebrated her 16th birthday a week ago today. In the grand tradition of 16 year olds, Charly has decided the time has come to trade her after school time for a hard earned paycheck and get a job.


Filling out an application, she came upon a series of lines meant for personal references. As you know, a reference should be someone who is not a family member, knows the applicant well, and can attest to his or her skills and positive attributes as a potential employee. A reference can make or break an applicant in some jobs.

And whom did she choose to fill this challenging and illustrious role, do you ask? Why, me.

What a feeling! Out of all the people in all of Southern Utah, she picks ME! How cool is that? I, Sarah Wilson, have the honor and responsibility of speaking to the abilities and strengths of Charly, a teen on her way to a bright future surely filled with fame and fortune.

I can see Charly now, standing tall in a shimmering dress, beautiful face aglow as she clutches her Oscar or Emmy or Tony, as the case may be. Just before the orchestra cuts her off she'll say, " And I'd like to thank Sarah Wilson for believing in me and giving me the start I needed that got me here today."

Okay, so maybe I'm getting a little carried away here (just a little). In the interest of clarity, I will explain. Charly's request is what I lovingly refer to as a "Goofy Happy Thing."

A Goofy Happy Thing is anything in life that is completely mundane to the average person but has the effect of creating spontaneous, silly excitement in you. In other words, a normal person might feel slightly flattered at being asked to serve as a reference for a kind and capable teen. Ask me, and I'm instantly skipping down the street without a care in the world.

You may think this is a phenomenon specific to me, but I challenge you to look closely at your own life. We all have our Goofy Happy Things. If more people recognized the goofy and the happy in life, the world would be a better place.

If you're having a hard time finding your own Goofy Happy Thing, I'll let you borrow a few of mine for now, namely: Finding pieces of cereal stuck together in my bowl; winning a particularly difficult game of Minesweeper (expert level, if I do say so, myself); finding someone who has actually heard of the Hall and Oates song, "Sara Smile;" pink footed pajamas on a three year old.

Oh, and fan mail that includes chocolate...lots of chocolate.

Saturday, April 2, 2005

Published April 2, 2005
St. George Spectrum & Daily News
I remember a day long ago when I thought I was losing my mother to some sort of insidious brain disease. My good friend, Joi, called and I asked Mom if I could spend a few hours at her house.

Mom grilled me on whether or not my chores were done, whether or not her parents would be home, and what time I was planning on being back, then gave me the hoped for consent. I hurried to get my coat and headed out the front door.

"Where are you going?" came a voice from the kitchen. There was my mother, standing in the dining room doorway, looking confused. The time lapse between permission and repression? About 1 minute. Inwardly, I cried a plaintive, 12 year old cry and thought, my mother is losing her mind!

Years later, I talked with her about her absent mindedness. She said she first started noticing it during pregnancy, and indeed, it is something most pregnant women experience as a temporary side effect. However, her next words were, "after your brother...it just never went away...What did you say, dear?"

Fast forward to the present. I realized I had left the upstairs cordless phone downstairs, so I hurried down to retrieve it. Upon descending the bottom step, I looked into my family room and thought, "Why did I come down here, again?" I didn't remember for another hour.

I wouldn't be worried except that exact scenario happened 18 times today. Whether I was searching for a hook for hanging aprons or needing something from the chest freezer in the laundry room, by the time I made it down the small flights of stairs in our split level home, I had forgotten why I even started.

They say the memory is the first thing to go, and people, it done gone. There's a cutesy little wall hanging I see for sale now and then that says, "Of all the things I've lost...I miss my mind the most." I laugh hysterically every time I see one, probably because I think it's the first time I've ever seen it.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. I had my fifth child just four months ago, at the same age my mother was when she had HER fifth and the absent mindedness settled in for good. It's just par for the mothering course, I guess. And when I say course, I mean one of those thingies where you take the doohickey and hit it with the thingamajig.

Of course, senility at 28 isn't all downside. There's comfort in knowing I'll never remember bad news (Iraq WHO?). It gives me something new to blame on my children, and that's always good (up 'til now all I had was gray hair and broken Precious Moments figurines). And speaking of gray hair...nope, I've lost it...and it was going to be a funny one...I think.

What did you say, dear?