Wednesday, July 2, 2014

For my Dad: Love Matters

It's been awhile. In truth, I kind of forgot that I started this blog. But now that I have nothing to do this summer but wait for my mission call to come, I decided to start writing again. I like writing. I don't know if people like to read what I write, but I don't want to miss the opportunity that somebody could learn something from, or even just understand, for a moment, my perspective on the world. Who knows, maybe a publisher will run across my blog and beg me to write a book about my musings. Ha, just kidding.

Anyways, here is a personal essay I wrote about my amazing dad for my freshman writing class (I've been at BYU for the past year).

Love Matters

I walk through the double doors, my eyes scanning the crowd for an empty seat, preferably one with easy access. The room is full of chattering girls, with the occasional guy looking out of place in this child development class. I spot an unoccupied chair, but it’s in the middle of the row.  Side-stepping and murmuring an occasional “Excuse me,” I make my way through the line of legs and backpacks, finally arriving in the middle of the row and slumping down in the seat. The projector flashes on to reveal a single slide with the words, “Do love, warmth, and affection matter in proper development?” My thoughts immediately turn to my own development and memories quickly begin to flash like a rapid-fire camera, capturing snapshots of my childhood.
* * *
            I squeeze my eyes and mouth shut as the warm water rushes over my head, rinsing the lavender suds out of my short hair.
            “Dad! I’m ready for Superman!” I yell in my loudest voice. I hear footsteps and a familiar melody coming down the hallway. Springing out of the bathtub, I raise my arms up high, waiting for my dad. He appears in the bathroom with a towel, and begins to wrap it tightly around my torso while singing the opening notes to the Superman theme song. He grasps the back of the wrapped towel with both hands. My anticipation grows as his singing grows louder and more excited. Finally, he swings me up into the air as the triumphant theme swells. I squeal and thrust my arms out in front of me, flying high around the house: through the kitchen past my smiling mother, over the barking dog, and back down the hallway into my bedroom. He sets me down and I laugh as the excitement wears off.
            “Thanks Daddy!” I say as I stand there, shivering and grinning widely.
            “You’re welcome sweetheart. Now, put your pajamas on and I’ll come to tuck you in soon.”
 He exits. I quickly towel off and pull on my purple pajama pants and matching shirt. I clamber onto my bed, and begin to flip through a picture book about farm animals that fight over the last potato. Again I hear footsteps in the hallway. I fling myself onto the pillow and yank my blanket over my head, hiding beneath the fabric and stifling giggles.
“Oh, I guess I can’t tuck Rachel in if she’s not here,” my dad teases. I hear him start towards the door.
 “I’m right here!” I burst out in playful indignation, ripping the blanket off of my head.
“There you are!” He smiles and tickles my tummy. I shriek with laughter, my legs kicking out to ward off the tickles.
“Okay, let’s tuck you in.” He grasps the edge of the comforter and tugs it gently up to my chin, tucking the sides under my arms. He grabs Lammy, my special blanket, and flicks it in the air, fanning it out. I catch the edge in the air and we spread the blanket out on top of my comforter. He helps me find the “crunchy spot”— a distinct wrinkle in the lace edge that I rub softly between my fingers as my eyelids begin to droop. My mouth stretches open with a big yawn. Dad begins to weave a soft, mysterious melody. Strands of silky notes creep into my head and encase my thoughts, catching them in their enchanting grasp. The melody pulls my eyelids lower and lower until I finally give in to the gentle force of the song. The lullaby ends, and I feel the gentle press of lips on my forehead, and a whisper, “I love you,” as I drift off to sleep.
* * *
“To answer the question, let’s take a look at this video,” I hear my professor announce and the chatter dies down as the lights dim. The slide changes to a video about children in a Romanian orphanage. The clip shows images of children with big, round eyes flatly staring into the camera; the light in their eyes has been slowly snuffed out by the dreary days of loneliness and cold. They rock back and forth or bite their own hands just to stimulate themselves in some way. My professor recounts a story of a child he saw on a visit to Romania. She lay on the floor, shirking from any sound or motion because she was punished for crying. Punished for crying out in loneliness, punished because she was being denied any sort of affection. My heart grew heavy as I tried to imagine a life without simple acts of affection: a squeeze on the shoulder, a proud smile, a congratulatory pat on the back.
* * *
The shrill cry of the whistle signaled the end of the game. My run becomes a walk and I wipe the sweat from my face with the edge of my shirt. My heart sinks once more as I glance at the scoreboard. 2-1. Begrudgingly, I shake the hands of my opponents, mumbling “Good game” after every touch. My throat burns with a fiery lack of air as I sit down to stretch. Around me, I see disappointed scowls on the faces of my teammates. We were so close, but we just couldn’t clench another goal. Carefully, I pull my cleats off and my feet breathe a sigh of relief. I slip on my sandals, and carry my gear and my disappointment over to my dad.
“Hey girl. You played great out there.” He takes my bag full of cleats, dirty socks, and empty water bottles.
“We lost. I know we could have won,” I groan as I shuffle to the parked car. “You drove two hours just to see us lose.” I run my hands through my wind-crazed hair and let out a sigh.
“You worked harder than anyone out there and you had some great plays. You left it all on the field. I’m proud of you,” he says as he puts his arm around my shoulders and squeezes. My spirits lift a little as I slowly climb into the car, my legs heavy with fatigue. Dad puts my bag on the backseat, but I leave the defeat in the parking lot as we drive away.
“Can we get Chipotle?” I ask hopefully as we navigate out of the soccer complex parking lot.
“You bet. You deserve it!” my dad replies and I smile. He slides a disc into the CD player and I smile as I hear the opening notes of my favorite song. I start to sing along, and we laugh as my voice cracks on the high note. Man, my dad is the best, I think as I lean the cushioned seat back and imagine myself savoring a large, juicy burrito.
* * *
My thoughts return to the present as I hear my professor quietly answer the question on the solitary slide.
“Yes,” he says reverently, “Love, warmth, and affection absolutely matter.” I feel my heart silently agree with him as it swells with love for the warm memories of my childhood and my dad. The bell rings and the chatter of girls, backpack zippers, and rustling papers grows as the crowd exits the narrow rows. I walk up the stairs and out of the building. I see a man and his little daughter walking past. She is grinning from ear to ear, skipping and holding his hand with her tiny fingers. His expression is one of such warmth for his skipping daughter, his pride and joy, that I cannot help but smile at this scene. I feel my heart overflow with love once again at the thought of my own loving dad, threatening to spill over into my eyes.  I answer my professor’s question in my own mind, Love does matter; in fact, it makes all the difference.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Garfield County Penitentiary Prisoner #87640

#87640, turn to your left. *Click* Turn to your right. *Click* Guard, escort this delinquent back to her cell.

This is what could happen if you, like I recently did, suffer a sudden lapse in common sense and decide to make an incredibly idiotic decision.

One cloudy fall day, about a week ago, I started out for a typical run with my cross country team. We started down a familiar running path that runs east-west across Enid. The path had recently undergone some repair to make it nice and paved. Most of the renovation was done, but they were still working on some of the very beginning, tearing up the old path, and laying new cement. We jogged a mile up the path then had a friendly team race over the next mile and back. We started to jog back to the stadium; I lagged in the back of the group about 400 yards behind the rest. As we neared the beginning of the path,  we noticed that the contractors had just laid some fresh, new cement. Take a moment to ponder this image. Freshly laid, sparkling gray cement, whispering your name seductively. It calls to you. Some other teammates had already  written in the slab, including my valedictorian best friend. Naturally, I did what any other crazy, brainless teenager would do. I quickly and neatly wrote my initials, "RP" in the corner of the slab. I ran away, leaving my legacy immortalized in the gray stone behind me.

The next day, my friend approached me and told me that the contractor had called the city, who then called the school, and imminent doom was awaiting us. I started to get nervous. How was I to know that my silly little initials would cause such a fuss? I texted my mom.
Me: How much trouble can you get in for writing your name in cement?
Mom: Did you sign it Rachel Pypex?
Me: Haha, no just my initials, but I think I'm in trouble...
Mom: Well good luck with that!

Thanks mom for the comic relief. Let me explain the Pypex story. Two of my five mischievous uncles found some wet cement while delivering their newspapers on their route, at about ages 12 and 14. The elder, Matt, wrote MP and the year. The younger, and slightly more devoid of sense (at this moment at least, he's actually very smart), Mark, had written out M-A-R-K P-Y-P-E, when Matt caught what he was doing. "What are you doing? Don't write your full name!" Panicking, Mark slashed an X for the last letter. MARK PYPEX. Turns out, it wouldn't have mattered anyways, because the woman who owned the new cement witnessed the whole escapade and called my grandma. Therefore, we allude to this story in all acts of signed vandalism we experience.

Anyways, after my mom cyber-mocked me, I was called to the principal's office with my fellow vandals. He explained that he knew we were good kids who just made a stupid decision. He also explained that the contractor was being very understanding, having a teen of his own, and was trying his best not to get us in legal trouble with the city.

We are still waiting to hear if the city has accepted the contractor's attempt to fix the cement. If they have, I'm off the giant, three-barbed, legal hook. If not, I can kiss $500 of my future babysitting money goodbye.

Moral of the story: Don't write your name in wet cement. Write someone else's name, or a cool code name, or your alter ego's name. Not your own. Or else you will end up a marked vandal and have to face mockery from your family and friends and history teacher who refers to you as Garfield County Penitentiary Prisoner #87640.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Welcome and a few words on flat tires...

Hello all! Welcome to my blog! If you've come to read about petroleum engineering or how to knit a scarf out of spaghetti noodles, unfortunately you've come to the wrong place (however I would like to become an expert on spaghetti knitting one day). If you've accidentally stumbled upon my blog, stay if you like to hear about funny friends, crazy family, delicious food, and lots of spiritual epiphany.

Now for a few words: Nitwit, oddment, blubber, and tweak! I applaud you if you caught the reference; if not, you're missing out on my all-time favorite book series featuring a boy with a lightning scar. Anyways, I will share with you a small story about my most recent flat tire (notice I said most recent and not first!). My right front tire had been going almost-flat for a few weeks. I don't know the cause, however, I suspect it may have something to do with my reputation for curb-checking and/or my less-than-leisurely style of driving I use in order to get to school on time. Mi padre took the leaky tire off then mi madre went to have it fixed. Then I had the privilege of putting the tire back on with help from my resourceful and ever-patient father. You might be wondering what the moral of this boring anecdote is. There are two morals: one, try to avoid violently launching your car up/off curbs, and two, be grateful for a father who is willing to not only change the tire for you but also teach you how to change tires (and teach you how to cut a canteloupe too!).

Keep visiting and I promise the stories will get more entertaining. But for now, I hope your satisfied with my flat tire story and the promise of many more to come! (Stories, that is.)

Love and fresh tires,