June 5, 2009

On Being a Mother

This year on Mother's Day, I was in St. George (it was the weekend of the triathlon). I sat in the kitchen with my father, and we shared our thoughts about the Mother's Day of 1996-the first that followed my own mother's passing. During the sacrament meeting, all of the graduating young women were invited to the stand along with their mothers. As I went up to be recognized, Sister Carlson, my dear young women president, did not hesitate to leave her seat to accompany me and stand in the place of my mother. To be honest, at the time, I really didn't think much about what had taken place. But since my father and I spoke of the event, I've thought about it quite a bit.

Having served as a young women president myself, I now have a better understanding of why Sister Carlson's act was not only sensitive and appropriate, but it was completely justified. I felt such a connection to the young women whom I served, that many times I would have considered them to be my own daughters; I referred to them as "my girls" and I thought about their best interests the same way I did my sons. I feel certain that Sister Carlson felt the same way about me.

And so I've been thinking about how other women have stepped into the immense void that was created when my mother died, lovingly doing their part to make it feel less empty.

There's my sister, Cheryl, who taught me how to bake a turkey, prepare several different kinds of pies, and make Mother's famous homemade rolls. She helped me plan my wedding and did all the work to pull off two receptions. She served as my escort when I went to the temple for the first time, and whispered the same advice our mother had shared with her during her first visit to that holy place.

My stepmothers have given encouragement, advice, and love, and have been sensitive to my needs to hold on to the memory of my mother, all the while filling the role as grandmother to my children.

I am blessed to have a mother-in-law who will hold me close just like Mom used to do, and tell me how much she loves and appreciates me.

There are also women all around me who, in small and simple ways, have profoundly effected me. Jan Ladig, a woman I worked for at Franklin Elementary school, instilled in me all the confidence in the world to take on any creative project, and she helped me to feel qualified to do so.

I could go on and on. Great parenting books have been recommended, sewing tips have been shared, I've been alerted to sales with unbeatable bargains, I've been assured that what I thought was the chicken pox was not, gardening questions have been answered, decorating tips offered, and workout routines have been encouraged by women who have been kind enough to take an interest in me.

It's really quite remarkable, when you think of it! Just as it came naturally for Sister Carlson to stand by my side that day, it has been natural for many women to nurture and to love, to teach and to support . You know, I think that is what women do best.... we mother!

This post authored by Amber


CJ said...

snif.snif. Amber you are a truly wonderful woman, and mother. I admire you in so many ways. Thank you for your thoughts, and friendship. This was a lovely post on mothers. Made me want to call mine and give her a hug.

Heather said...

What a beautiful post Amber!

Pickle said...

Thanks for making me cry....this is beautiful!

Julie said...

That was really sweet, Amber. It really puts things into perspective, doesn't it? We are so blessed to have the influence of mothers in our lives. Thanks for being one of those special examples in mine.