Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pausing to reflect

Growing up with two older brothers and two younger brothers, I hung out with the boys. My brother who is about two years older than I am was my best friend. We played together every single day. We had many great adventures. Riding Billy the goat, using a two by four as a teeter totter across the Rinderknecht fence (I was afraid of the sheep and made my bro go on that side), pushing snowballs around until they were larger than we were, building forts and digging for treasure, being stung by wasps and sitting in ant beds by the ditch, running through the lawn as my dad flood irrigated it, riding bikes everywhere we had to go in our seemingly large world, and making boats out of large zucchini to float down the ditch.

I loved my childhood days. Especially during the summertime when we would accompany my dad on his trips over the mountain to Bear Lake. We used to help my grandpa bring in the hay every summer. I learned to drive a tractor at quite a young age because I was a girl and my muscles were not much help in lifting the fifty pound bales onto the trailer. I loved when we used what my grandpa called the slip, which was a "trailer" without wheels that worked much like a sled or sleigh. My brother and I used to ride on the hay wagon, climb around the haystacks, jump off the stacks, and try to see how long we could stay on the four by fours at the back of the slip. Hauling hay is one of my favorite memories. Perhaps due to the fact that my grandpa was one of my very favorite people in the whole world and I loved working next to him. Or maybe because it was a day out in the sun with my grandpa, uncle, dad, and brother. Part of it may have been the smells or just simply being in the outdoors. Whatever the case may be, they are some of my fondest memories from childhood.

Camping would have to be another of my fondest memories. My dad used to take us camping now and then never missing the week during the deer hunt. He would make us wear orange vests as we were out romping around and even though he was not a chef, he would open a can of something every night and make sure we were fed. I loved waking up in the morning to the smell of the campfire. My dad was always outside making sure we had a fire to start the day. These trips consisted of playing in the river, hiking, playing games, exploring and learning to ride the tote-goat. I was about nine years old when I first learned to ride. I subsequently graduated to a trail 90, a 175, a 350 and so on. Riding motorcycles is one of my favorite things to do. I currently have a Honda Shadow Sabre 1100. I still enjoy riding with my dad.

Gardening is another of my childhood memories. I do have to admit that when I was a kid, it was my least favorite thing to do. Well, the weeding part was. I liked planting and harvesting. My dad was an avid gardener. He loved growing things. My mother was busy. She seemed to always be canning, baking bread or cleaning. Now that I am grown up, I look back at the gardening with fondness. I remember one year in particular when my dad grew corn that was a foot taller than he is. I remember him teaching me which bugs were bad and needed to be squished. He also taught me to differentiate between the tiny plants and the weeds. I have referred back to this knowledge a million times in my life.

Going after wood was a time I looked forward to. My grandpa used to accompany us and he could spot a good dead tree from a mile away. The men would chop down the tree and cut it into pieces. We would roll the pieces down the hill to the truck. I love the smell of pine and the sounds of the forest. I still enjoy a day hauling wood. I even have my own chainsaw (it is a Stihl too).

I didn't have many friends growing up. I seemed to have all I needed with my built in friends a.k.a. my brothers. Hanging out with the guys was where I felt I belonged. I remember a time when I even longed to be a boy. That phase didn't last long when the truck loads of manure came in for the gardens and because I was a girl, I didn't have to help spread it! I made lemonade and cookies instead! My mother did teach me to cook at a young age and I liked helping her by making the biscuits, muffins, cakes, or cookies to go along with dinner.

My best friend in Kindergarten was Brooks Taylor. I called him Tater Tot and he called me giraffe neck. We played together all the time. I hung out with boys in first and second grade as well. I do remember one time deciding that I would try and play with the girls at recess rather than the boys. I found the girls and they had two large groups that were fighting against each other over dumb Lip Smackers lip gloss! I didn't even last the entire recess before I was bored out of my mind and I abandoned the girls for the boys.

I still struggle with finding and keeping girlfriends. I do not enjoy chatting about purses, parties, shoes, or shopping. I love playing and teasing with the guys. I can still do this with my brothers but have found that when I fit in comfortably with the guys at other functions, I make some wives uncomfortable. I have tried to sit in on the women's side of the room and talk about magazines, hair, nails, and skin....but I have a difficult time doing this. I am often the only girl found playing football at Thanksgiving, hauling hay in the fields, or on the day long snowmobile outings, motorcycle rides and such.

Don't get me wrong here. I do love being a woman. I enjoy doing crafts and cooking. I also like dressing up on Sundays and every now and then to go out or for a family gathering. I even spent hours doing my hair when I was in High School. I have a ton of hair! It took so long to dry and then curl it and perfect it before I went to school. I can't say that I love to sew...but I do love the finished project and so I keep on doing it. I even love shopping when it is at an antique or estate sale. I don't mind shopping for needs but it makes it all the more enjoyable when I find a good bargain as well. My kids have referred to me as the "clearance queen". I am definitely happy to be a woman and would not trade. I love the "scars" on my tummy from each of my four children. They are valuable to me and nothing in the world is comparable to that of being a mother.

Several times in my life I have determined to find and make some girlfriends and even try to find a best friend that is a girl. I have been somewhat successful in this endeavor. I do have a few girlfriends ( and I am so thankful for them and love them)...but none that call me or that I go out and do things with. As a 41 year old woman, I am still on the quest to find a girlfriend that I can hang with that likes doing the things I do and that I can just talk candidly with. I do have a few girlfriends that I could call and I think they would hang with me. I also have a few cousins that are female that I love hanging out with as well. I made a few friends when I lived in Hyde Park, River Heights and then a few in Paradise and I am so grateful for them. I am sure it is me and my perceptions, but I still don't feel like I belong to a group of women. For instance, when I walk into a meeting with all women, I don't ever feel like I am a part of them or that I belong. I often feel like I stick out like a sore thumb or that I am not where I belong.

I think it is something I need to overcome. I moved four months ago and I do feel as though I have been accepted and have a few new friends...but in the back of my mind, I am waiting for them to find out more about me and then dislike me. I remember in one of the places I lived, the women would get together and have a movie night or go out to eat together. I worked in a calling with some of the women who were part of this and they would often tell me that the topic of the nights conversation was me and how my kids are so perfect and how my house is so perfect and my hair and so on. I was never invited to these events and often told how someone's daughter would want her mom to do her hair like I do...but the mom would say...sorry, I cannot compare to Marnie! I have even been told by someone who saw my house in a complete disaster that they were relieved to find out that I am human. I am so human and people often point out my shortcoming or weaknesses. My x-husband would cling to any small thing I did wrong and bring it up all the time, consistently in front of others and seem to revel in it. I am not sure why I have this effect on people. But I have been and am still trying to figure it out and I really do want to be normal or fit in with the women.

What I have learned from these life experiences is that people need to be loved and accepted for who they are and not always judged or torn down. I remember one time when I was in a group that sang for a children's charity and we were practicing at my place, one of the girls in the group came through the door and though I barely knew her, told me that she had tried out for a main role in Les Miserables. I was so thrilled for her and told her how exciting that was and I hoped she got the part. She confessed to me that my reaction was the best reaction she had ever had. Her best friends had reacted as if they were so surprised she would even dare and they had told her she would not get the part. I don't know if she ever got the part or not but I do know that we need to build each other up and pat each other on the back and be glad for each other and our accomplishments instead of allowing the things other women can do to make us feel somewhat insignificant or small. Every woman in this world is amazing in her own right and does NOT need to compare herself or tear down a woman who seems to excel more than her or whatever. Every woman is of value and we need to love and lift one another up and build each other. I know that woman are naturally competitive and are easily made to feel less significant or like they are seems to be in our natures.

I guess in a way, this post is a shout out to women everywhere to stand a little taller, to be a little more kind and to remember that YOU are incredible as is everyone else no matter what their strengths or weaknesses are!


  1. Marnie - I am glad I read this and got to know you better. I don't ride motorcycles anymore (my dad had a 350 honda when I was in high school and my first husband had a KZ900 we rode together for a couple of years), don't watch sports (can[t keep up with it), and don't enjoy camping because my bones are old and if I don't get a good nights sleep I am a momma bear at her worst! I do think you are wonderful, sorry to hear that you are divorced but know that can be a blessing although traumatic. If you ever need to hang just give me a call!
    Where are you living now?

  2. oh yea I work in the new AGRS building across from room 118 anytime you want to stop by! Love ya

  3. Thank you Trish! My first real bike was a 350. I do not watch sports either; unless it is live.

    Thank you for your thoughts. Things are honestly going better than they ever have for me in my life. My kids are doing so well. It is good to have peace in our home.

    Thanks for the invite to hang out! I live in Brigham City. I am attending the USU extension over here and am loving it!

    I hope all is well with you and yours.

    Love you too.