When I was little, my family and I lived in Kanab, Utah. We started out in a little cul-de-sac called “Cottonwood”. Katie Allen lived across the street from me and Quartney Bernard around the corner. We were surrounded by friends and only a short walk from our mailbox. Next to our house was a small ditch and what felt like an entire field of Foxtail Grass. Shelbey and I used to gather it and build “lady bug hotels”.
We’d pick up rocks, twigs, leaves, and the foxtails and clear a safe space to build our hotel. Once it was comfortable enough, we’d scour the weeds for the tiny red, orange, and yellow bugs. We'd count their spots and sing to them. They’d never stay long, but we didn’t mind. It was a hotel after all, a place for the bugs to stop and rest a little while before they headed back to their real homes.
Shelbey and I shared a room in this happy little home. It was upstairs. One day Shelbey and I came home from school to find bunk beds in our bedroom. We were thrilled! We thought they were magic. They were light colored wood with red heart accents where normal screws or bolts would be. We loved it. I still remember laying on my top bunk and staring at the ceiling, thinking of the fun I had had that day and about what I had learned in school or primary.
When Jake and I were first married, he moved in with me to my Grandma Murray’s house. Due to some broken furniture, we slept on a full sized mattress on the floor. Upstairs was too warm in the summer and too cold in the winter. It was easier to control the temperature on the main floor. It cost a lot to keep the house warm. Sometimes our bedroom got pretty cold at night. It always took me longer to get ready for bed and every night I would come in to see Jake laying on my side of the bed, “warming it up”. It was a thoughtful gesture that helped me sleep.
Jake and I moved on from the full sized mattress to a bed in Grandma and Grandpa Townsend's home. He'd help me make it each morning, straightening the sage green bedspread on his side. Months later we're sleeping on a king mattress ordered from Amazon in the upstairs of my parent's house. We're in a time of transition. Trying to decide where our bed will be next. I'm grateful for family. We've always had a place to stay.
I think we feel like those tired lady bugs felt when they saw our hotels.
It's tempting to grow discouraged. It's tempting to long for somewhere more permanent. Sometimes I lay awake at night and instead of thinking about what I learned at school or primary, I worry about what the future brings and if we're ready. At times like those I find Jake, and he helps me sleep. I guess that's why I'm so happy.
My name is Maddie Townsend Topham and I am a happy wife!