It's Mother's Day weekend, and I have a feeling this will be one I will always remember. I'm waiting to board a flight, headed to Idaho for a few days to help my daughter. She delivered her first child this week--a handsome son! So excited to meet him, help her, and spend time with my grown-up kids and their families in Idaho. And to top it off, we get to talk to our missionary son on Sunday! I only wish my husband and youngest son could be with us.
Mother’s Day was not always a day that I looked forward to. My path to motherhood was slow and then all at once. I always knew I wanted to marry and be a mom. But through my 20s nothing was happening in my life in that regard. I was bewildered but determined to be happy and not just sit and wait. I bought a home, had a career I loved, and adored my nieces and nephews.
Then suddenly at age 32 one blind date changed everything. I fell in love with a handsome, busy father of four whose first wife had unexpectedly passed away. We dated for almost a year and married the next summer. All of the sudden, I was married to the man of my dreams and mom to 4 children.
While I experienced the natural growing pains of an inexperienced career woman becoming a mother of children from ages 2 to 13, I will never forget the miracle of becoming a mother. My love for these four kids was overwhelming. I remember being surprised at the relentless but welcome weight of motherhood, even while I slept.
To meet the challenges and beauty of instant motherhood, I found myself reaching deep inside me. If you know me, you'd probably agree that I tend to be a quieter person, more reserved than many. When my husband and I were dating, I worried about my ability to be mom enough. But I remembered a certain sister missionary who wondered if she could be enough and learned that I can always rely on the One who makes up the difference.
On my mission I practiced serving others when no one else would see or ever know. I prayed fervently for others. I navigated places I had never been. I wanted things for others more than for myself. I gained confidence in myself. I learned to trust my judgment. I learned to stand firm. I practiced having compassion. I learned about agency. I learned about being quiet and letting the Spirit help someone else make a decision. I learned about the strength that comes from singing hymns. I learned that the Lord loves me, and His timeline for me is perfect. Prayers are answered, and families are a blessing in all their complexities. While I know that a mission isn't the only place one can learn these lessons, it was the perfect place for me.
Now I’m on the other side of that lens. I’ve sent three missionaries out and welcomed two home. Tomorrow I get to talk to my missionary. I've been looking forward to this phone call for weeks. He's been through some hard things. I know what he’s learning will bless him and his family forever. I can't wait to talk to him.
Although I wasn't able to bear children, I have four wonderful people who call me mom. The pain and beauty of that is not lost on me. My children have given me the privileges of motherhood that I prayed for. And now the beauty of being called Grandma by 3 perfect grandchildren. I am grateful beyond my ability to express.
As my children grow and leave home and build their own lives, I hope that they always know that I love them. Being their mom has been an absolute privilege.
To all whose path to motherhood has started, and those who still wait, I know Heavenly Father has blessings for you. Happy Mother's Day!