****I wrote this post about a week ago but hesitated posting it because I thought it sounded self-serving. Then I realized that my mother's entire life has been spent serving her children...so there's no way to write about her without writing about my own life. Also, I can't find a good picture of her...will find one later.***
There hasn't been a good decision I've made in my life that wasn't the direct or indirect result of something my mother taught me. For any of you who have met my mom, and I pity those who haven't, you know she is indeed the most mothering, nurturing, caring and loving woman you will ever meet. I was fortunate enough to be born at the end of my family, and therefore had a lot of one on one time with my mom over the years that I cherish now more than ever. As this Mother's Day approaches, I pay a brief recap of the lessons my mom taught me through the years.
My mom taught me, when I was in elementary school, to learn how to fight my own battles. I remember coming home on a few occasions seething because something another student or a teacher had said. My mom would always listen, and offer counsel, but she would never intervene. She taught me that I needed to stand up for myself, but also to consider where other people were coming from.
In jr. high I started having problems with the church. I rebelled in the usual ways, ditching seminary, hooking up with dubious youths, talking on the phone at all hours. My mom was very patient, never yelled, and just loved me. I knew I could tell her things, even when I was sure she wouldn't like what I had to say. She was the driving force for me when it came to rebuilding my testimony. I remember hearing her pray for me and my siblings, seeing her love of the scriptures and the gospel, and the reverent way she always spoke of the Savior. This drew me closer to the Spirit and eventually led to my reactivation.
In high school my mom was there on the front row for all my choir concerts and plays. She murmured not as she watched some of her favorite clothes walk out the door to get used as play props...some never to return. She drove me to early morning diving practice and reminded me that modesty was always the best choice. She sewed costumes, attended young women activities, and baked cookies for my gaggle of cohorts. I guessed that secretly my friends wished she could be their mom.
As I headed off to college I took my mom with me, at heart. My first few years I went home almost every weekend. All I wanted was to sit at the kitchen table and talk to my mom about all that had happened that week. My mom was always available. She was always ready to talk. I told her about boys I was dating (not all the juicy details...she was still my mom...) and about classes I was taking. She listened, offered advice, and followed up on past counsel. She was truly my greatest ally.
The first letter I received in the MTC was from my mom. It made my very sad and lonely day so much better. I struggled in the MTC but my mother's comforting and motivating words through her letters kept me going. She wrote every week, and quite often it was the only letter I got. I read some of those letters a while ago. She was always so positive, so reassuring.
Now that I'm married and have a little guy, my mother's advice and counsel has become all the more valuable. I'm often amazed at how someone 42 years older than me can offer such contemporary and relevant input. She knows what I'm going through usually before I do. Recently she called me and said, "Roby, I couldn't sleep last night because I was worried about what you will do if you get pregnant and have Eli running around. That sounds like too much." After all these years, her children still keep her up at night.
My mother is a mother through and through. The years of advice and counsel have been invaluable, but I've learned more in what she has done than what she has said. I've watched her take food to sick neighbors when she herself has struggled with health problems for years. She taught me through example that when a person loses a loved one they like to talk about it, and need people to listen. She has loved those who are hard to love, cared for the difficult, and reached out to those who most have turned away.
This Mother's Day, I pay tribute to my mom, and to all the other women who have influenced my life. Thank you all for being examples to me. Thank you for listening, for talking, and for being friends, sisters, sisters-in-law, nieces, aunts, cousins, and most of all, for teaching me how to be a better woman and mother myself. Happy Mother's Day. You deserve it.