Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Tribute to Mom

I don't usually think a lot about mom. After 11 years I am used to her not being a part of my every day life like she was before she died. But I've been thinking about her a lot lately.

After mom died we sisters looked at each other and rejoiced in the things that we could see in each other that were like her. Andra loves babies like she did. Laila looks so much like Mom when she was young. Margaret is loving like Mom was. I actually felt quite left out in this listing of characteristics--we all know that I am so much like Dad. It took a lot of searching on my part before I found some of Mom in me; I love working with numbers, and I am (almost) always late. I know that is not a good characteristic to have, but I was just so excited to know that some part of me was like Mom.

I wonder if we can ever truly appreciate our loved ones while we still have them. That probably sounds like a terrible thing to say--but let's be real. Even the most compatible people clash from time to time, and it's easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life and forget what a remarkable thing it is to have a life filled with loving family and friends.

I know I never appreciated Mom enough while she was alive. She was one of my closest friends and I talked to her almost every day--which was a big deal back in the days of expensive long distance charges. But how could I, the mother of young children, appreciate yet the mother she had been to me as a teenager? How would I really understand how amazing it was that one year 5 of her children were teenagers and she didn't kill anyone? Each new stage that I experience as a mother brings me a new appreciation for the woman that our mother was.

Nothing about mom's background predicted success. She came from a poor family and married a young man from an almost-as-poor family. They both worked harder than I can conceive of to provide for their family.

I read a quote the other day that reminded me of Mom. I spent a lot of my teenage years noticing all of the things that she didn't do well, and thinking about how I would have done better. As a young mom I made sure to not repeat faults that I had seen in her mothering. It probably wasn't until a couple of years before she died that I realized how unimportant those particular characteristics were. I saw then that Mom excelled at the truly important virtues.

Maya Angelou said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Mom made me feel amazing. I would rather have had her for 31 years than any other mom for a lifetime. She sent me off to college at financially stressful time and never told me how bad things were. She talked to me like I was the smartest, most wonderful person in the world. She asked my opinion often and never gave hers in a condescending or patronizing way. I could go on and on--I now have a list of things I wish I could thank her for, and an even longer list of things I would apologize about.

I wish I were more like Mom. I think she had the gift of true charity--the gift to be able to love others as Christ loves them. That's not a gift that I have--at least not right now. But I am resolved to try to do better. In this thing I would love for people to be able to remember that I was like my mother.


abstowe said...

How can you not be at all like Mom, when you have become such a mother figure to all of us. Who do we all call? You!
I am jealous that you are good with numbers and so wish I was not always late too.

AmShaZam said...

I wish I had known her.

Grant Watson said...

I've never know anyone like mom. The last few years she spent all of her time at the table reading scriptures, on the phone crying intermittently with whoever was on the other line or visiting with sisters that hadn't seen the inside of the church for longer than most of us were alive. I think what I learned most from mom I learned then. People matter most. I think all of us have a long way to go. What I know is that when she went, she wasn't translated because at least one of us needed to see her one more time and help carry the casket.

Nanna said...
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Cindy said...

Andra--maybe she gave me a sharp brain too--that can figure things out. I'll have to think about that one. But to be able to love people that unconditionally--that is something I really wish for.

Grant--exactly. The visiting teaching is something I always think about. And I'm LOL about the crying on the phone!

Val, just Val said...

I'll never forget Bishop Brown's comments at mom's funeral. One of the kids was going through a rough patch and she and the bishop were deciding the best course of action. At the end of their meeting Mom tells the Bishop that she will "Just read her scriptures more and pray harder". Probably not a better solution to a lot of problems. I also remember the story of when she was RS President. The time to start had passed and the women were still chatting. One of the counselors wanted to get things started. Mom said that the talking the women were doing was more important... Amazing! How can a person be so thoughtful?