Happy Mother’s Day All!
Can I tell you something sad? I promise to follow it up with a nice story and a gift if that helps.
Sad Thing: I miss my mom. Bad. I always miss her of course but it’s been worse lately. Ever since Dorothy was born it feels like that old wound which had at least partially healed has been ripped open again and I am grieving her loss anew. I think it’s happened because I am now on the mothering end of a mother-daughter relationship. I want so desperately for it to look like the relationship we shared. Since I know it was all my mother’s doing that our relationship was so special, I have been searching the memories and feelings of my childhood looking for ways that I can imitate her example for my little Dolly that I love so much. Thinking of her overwhelms me with bitter sweet emotion. There is so much happiness and gratitude for the gifts she gave me with her love. There is so much pain for her loss.
I have been thinking I’d like to share a few things about her on the blog, particularly lessons I have learned from her and gifts she gave me that I hope to offer my own children.
Today I have a story in mind that I think would be particularly appropriate to share on Mother’s Day. It actually involves not only my mom, but also her friends. As such this post will be peppered with pictures of some of my gorgeous friends and their littles. It’ll all come together if you read the whole post. Promise.
Story Time: One Sunday when I was a young woman my class was invited to attend Relief Society. I sat by my mom in the back row and enjoyed being in the presence of the beautiful women in my ward. Nancy Draper was giving the lesson. I wish I could tell you what the lesson was about… maybe love? or motherhood? I don’t know. To tell you the truth I remember being a little tuned out until Nancy started to get emotional talking about a good example of someone she had seen. She was telling everyone about how she gets her hair done at Lizzi’s (my mom did hair in a shop that was attached to the side of our house). She said that she loved to be there when Calvin and I got home from school. She described how my mom’s whole demeanor changed, how love and joy spread across her face as she saw us enter the room. She was deeply touched to witness such a small but telling moment.
This was not the only time I had ever heard someone talk about how much my mom loved Calvin and I. Ladies in my ward were always saying things to me like “Your mom loves you more than you know.” “Your mom is so incredibly proud of you.” “Your mom was just telling me how wonderful you are.” “Your mom told me about your great example.” It happened on a fairly regular basis.
I never got the sense that people were annoyed at my mom for bragging or being self-righteous or anything that could potentially accompany someone who talked so often and so positively about their kids. Quite the opposite actually. And really… how could they be annoyed? I can’t imagine my mom ever using her kids as leverage to better her own standing in the eyes of her peers. I bet she never once took credit for who we were or what we accomplished, although she certainly would have deserved it. No. She just loved us. Deeply and truly. She saw the best in us and she shared those things openly with others.
What kind of impact did this have on me? Well… I’ll tell you. I never once doubted that my mother thought I was worthwhile, capable, talented and strong. She told me so herself on pretty much a daily basis, but to know that she was sharing those things with others was somehow even more meaningful. I also never questioned her love or her loyalty to me. Of all the things she could have shared, she chose the positive things.
And you know what else? There was something in the way these women passed along the compliments that left me with the impression that they admired and respected my mom, and that was significant too. It influenced how I thought of my mom for the better, which influenced how I listened to, responded to, and appreciated her.
We live in a time where the issues surrounding women and motherhood are so divisive. I think the example of my mom and her friends is relevant and timely, which is why I wanted to share it today. Instead of preaching too much to you about it I’d like to make my friends and peer-mothers some invitations and promises. Consider it my Mother’s Day Present (to you AND your kids) for 2014.
I cordially invite you to tell me how much you love your kids. Tell me about their successes and strengths. Tell me why they are the best, coolest, brightest, most wonderful children on the block. I promise I will never judge you as being braggy or tiresome. I want to hear it and I will celebrate their successes with you. Chances are I already think they are special and it will bring me joy to hear you talk about it. I promise to pass along the things you say and the way you say it to your kids at every opportunity.
I also promise to tell your kids (whether you have complimented them to me or not) that they have a good, good mom. Because you know what? They do. They really, really do. And because I believe telling them so is important… not so much for your sake (though I certainly hope it does make you feel good) but for theirs.
For all of you, not just my friends who live close, I promise prayers. I have decided (for lots of reasons) that I want to start praying daily for the mothers of the world. To you that I know and love, who devote every part of yourselves to the betterment of your families, I am so thankful for your examples and your support of me. I would love to call down some blessings from Heaven for you.
To my friends and family who are still waiting for the opportunity to have children… My heart is ever with you. I have been praying for you already and I promise not to stop.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the remarkable women in my life! I love you all so much!
And finally, you must indulge me one special shout-out to my dear cousin Aerika who just had her very first baby, a sweet little girl that she is calling “Lizzi,” after my mom. A very special first Mother’s Day to you, darling!