After a beautifully long day of reflection spent far from my home in North Carolina, I just wanted to share a few words about mothers and daughters.
One of the most vivid memories I have of my childhood is pulling my mother by the hand into my little bedroom in Boise, Idaho with what I assume to be a Dr. Seuss book. I was so excited to have an audience as I plopped on the bed to read to her. It was such a precious moment for me, I think, because I was so safe and secure in the knowledge that out of her busy day, my mom chose to spend that little, precious time with ME! I was always tickled to death when things like this would occur – a day out at the park, my mom coming on field trips with my elementary school class, spending endless hours in the kitchen with my little Easy Bake Oven while she made real food beside me. Or even when she was a substitute Spanish teacher in another school district, and she’d let me come to class with her to help her teach on days I didn’t have or want to go to school. These are the moments that I think of when I think of my mother.
What comes to mind more recently, however, are the long days spent in waiting rooms at doctors offices, or her coming into my room at night to calm me down after a painful day. The times when I can’t even understand how she got any work done, because she let me intern at the Eye Bank, where one or the other of us were in each other’s office spaces at least once an hour. Or the times after I came home sick off my mission, and she would tiptoe upstairs in the mornings before she went to work, just so she could talk to me face to face and make sure I was still breathing. Even though I’m sure my ultra-drowsy self couldn’t comprehend much of what she was saying, I still felt the impenetrable love behind actions that I was sure I would only do for those I loved most.
I love this gospel. I love this life! I am so grateful for the time and the blessings I have, and I know that many of the blessings I receive are because of the faithfulness of my sweet mother. My greatest teacher, mentor, example, and friend. My endlessly compassionate and selfless mother.
Is it any wonder that Heavenly Father would have us live in families, we who He has commanded to love Him and to love others as the greatest two all-encompassing commandments? Is it any wonder that He would have us to treasure motherhood, to hold womanhood and virtue most dear? Is it any wonder that we celebrate the mothers, grandmothers, and future mothers in our lives on a Sabbath day, in arguably one of the most hope-filled and beautiful times of the year?
So Mama, I just want you to know that you have made a profound influence upon me, upon my brothers and sweet sister, upon my father, and upon the little slice of the world that you have touched? Everything about you gives me a reason to become better, to seek after greater knowledge and virtue, to have a greater hope for the future.
I remember being about eight years old and REALLY starting to look up to my parents. Once when we were eating spaghetti for dinner, I looked up at my mom, with tomato sauce all over my face, I’m sure! I just remember thinking how much of a ‘lady’ you were, Mom, for not even having to use a napkin. That small moment really turned my life around. I did everything I could to emulate the greatest and most refined Lady I knew, from wanting to wear your clothes (despite how big they were on me!) to talking the way that you talked, to wanting to do everything with you! I just want you to know, that has never changed. Every challenge, every adversity I am faced with, I always return to the same thing: What would my mom do in my place?
Let me tell you, it has made eating better SOOO much easier! Haha.
I have the greatest mom in the whole world. I would never be anywhere near the person I am today under someone else’s guidance. She is perfect for me, and her guidance and light will continue to help me wherever I go, because I know where she’s been, and I know what I need to do in order to follow in her footsteps of faith. Of course, my life is going to be different. That’s just a fact. But I know that her sweet, compassionate efforts in helping me understand who I am as a daughter of God are not in the least bit in vain. Her strength has made me stronger. Her wisdom has made me wiser.
Nowadays it’s a little harder to show appreciation to my sweet mom. We’re 2062 miles away, and it’s a little harder to keep in contact through the dreaded time difference. But the love is still there. The hope of becoming like Mom still remains. I think of her many times over the course of a day, even if I seem to be jumping from one activity to the next. I still watch movies or shows or YouTube videos and think to myself, Mom would love that!
Motherhood is not just the existence of a child. Motherhood is the nurturing, the growing alongside, the sitting by and suffering when your own child suffers, and rejoicing when your child is joyful. Motherhood is the act of giving your whole self to others who test your patience and endurance over and over and over again before the day’s even through. Motherhood is the truest reflection of God’s love for us upon this earth.
There is a story/saying that has stuck with me since an early age about mothers and their special role in our lives:
I am so grateful for my wonderful mother, and all she has given me, and taught me. I am also grateful for the patience and loving kindness of my grandmothers, both of whom are some of my greatest friends and role models. I am overjoyed at the truths of this gospel that will allow me to live with these virtuous and lovely women forever, and at the prospect of becoming a mother myself in the future. I am so grateful to know that these three women are among the many people I know love me unconditionally, and I am also so very grateful for the ‘future mothers’ whose examples and friendships have changed my heart forever. I love it! And I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for the opportunity that I will have to follow their examples in this divine work of motherhood.
With great love,