When we moved to California over a year and a half ago, my mom made the sixteen hour drive with me and newborn Emma. She had been stoic about the great opportunity we had been offered but I knew that she was just as heartbroken about us moving so far away as I was about leaving her. It was a special time. I felt closer to her than I had ever felt before, having just become a mother myself.
Before her flight back to Colorado, she presented me with a list of her sage wisdom and advice to help with our adjustment to the journey at hand. A year and three new moves later, I have kept that list. Each item on the list represented to me both something my mom had learned from her life experiences, and something that she wanted me to have an easier time with than perhaps she did. They said a lot about my mother, the kind of woman she is and the love she has for her children. They also speak volumes of the views and thoughts of many righteous generations of women who came before her. I wanted to share my mother’s thoughts and my thoughts on my mother.
1. “Look up your new ward and attend on Sunday.” My mother is a woman of faith. She has had many challenging experiences through her life but she always finds a way to grow from them, all while leaning on the supporting hand of our Savior. I have been blessed by her testimony and example.
2. “Make a friend at church and at the apartment complex.” She is a fierce friend herself, and has recognized the value of true friendship in her own life. I know that sometimes she hasn’t felt like she has that kind of friendship reciprocated, but that has never stopped her from loving and seeking out others.
3. “Take precautions with Emma. Always keep apartment doors locked. Be safe.” Heaven knows that my mother has always been protective of her children. At some points, we felt that the caution she exercised was undue, but it established within us an understanding that our mother loved us dearly and didn’t want anything bad to taint our happy, young lives. So many children could only ever ask for so much.
4. “Keep trying for a first floor apartment.” Mama has always been practical and detail-oriented. She can perceive inconvenience or inefficiency from the start and always does her best to make things as smooth as possible for those around her. We had to go through several months before we moved to a first floor apartment, and boy was my mother right!
5. “Get involved.” My mother has served valiantly in her various spheres. Despite being a working mom, she was always active in her children’s lives and activities. It is an example I am so grateful for as I have recently become a working mom myself. She has shown me the numerous fruits of involvement.
6. “Keep in touch with family.” My mother has made so many sacrifices over the years, not the least of which has been distance from her own family. But that distance has established a deep connection and appreciation for her parents and sisters that she has been grateful for. She has shown through example that distance never need divide and that love bridges that gap.
7. “Send pictures.” While never one to love pictures of herself, my mother makes me feel beautiful. Her appreciation of visuals of our family helps me know that she loves to see me, and that it helps her feel more connected. My mother herself has always been beautiful in my eyes, and I cherish the images of her smiling face.
8. “Mickayeen and you should be there for each other. Be patient with one another. Speak up for your needs – he isn’t a mind reader. Keep communication lines open.” My mother’s relationship and love for my father is inspiring. They have been married for nearly 28 years and I know that many of those haven’t been easy. They have leaned on and learned from each other, and because of that I have a wealth of marriage advice at my disposal. Through it all, I am so grateful that my mother and father love each other enough to never give up on each other. What a rare example they have given me.
9. “Request a blessing when you need some spiritual uplifting. Say family prayers together everyday.” I’m so thankful that my parents created a spiritual culture in our home. They saw first-hand the blessings of the priesthood and the power of prayer and they taught those things to their children. Their testimonies have given strength to us and provided celestial assistance when mortality had nothing to offer.
10. “Find things to do and places to go that are cheap. Use your time positively. Enjoy exploring your new area.” I tease my mom that she passed on her financial worries to me, but truly I am grateful for the frugality with which she raised us. I feel better prepared to face a world that rapidly changes economically because of it. I also am so grateful for the elements of play and fun that were cultivated by her in our family. My favorite memories are always the ones that featured my mom laughing. I want to raise my family to have similar joys.
11. “Cherish your time with Emma – children grow up so fast.” As a child, time turns slowly. But when you become a parent, it all goes by like flashes of light. I am grateful for that, because it means that the memories of my youth are lengthy, full and heavy with purpose, pleasure and growth. I am thankful for the long lengths of time with my mom, and that I didn’t have the option to take them for granted because they did seem to move so slowly. As a parent, I hope that I can make my children’s life as full of love and opportunity as my mother did for me.
“And remember that you are never alone and you don’t have to do ‘it’ all alone. Your Heavenly Father is always there for you. And your family is just a phone call, text, email and FaceTime away. I love you and am proud of you. TTMAB. Love, Mom.”
Mom, It isn’t lost on me that so many children never receive the amount of care, concern, attention, opportunity and love that I did from you. I am so grateful for your bravery, your sacrifices, your time, your thoughts, and your unequivocal love for me. Thank you for the gospel, for our spirit-filled home, for every sport I could imagine playing, for listening to me cry hysterically late at night and telling me to sleep it off, for my smile, for my eye shape, and my type-A personality. You gave me more than everything I needed or wanted.
Happy Mother’s Day. I love you.