Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mother's Day a month late

A couple of you missed this when I sent it out last year, so here it is again, my crazy Mother's day talk I gave in church. Hope it makes you smile and know you are not alone! Love, Tami

I have to admit it: I dread Mother’s Day. I know it is supposed to be a day
to honor and celebrate the women who give us life. I never had a problem with this particular holiday, until I became a mother. Now, it is a day of comparisons: me to my Mother, me to the mothers sitting on the next row, me to the mothers in the mother’s day talks who never raised their voices, who were angels and perfect examples to their children. I come up woefully short in my comparisons. When I prepare a talk, I usually turn to the scriptures for help and inspiration. Well, the women in the scriptures range from Mary, the mother of Jesus, to Jezebel. I think I fall somewhere in the middle. But mostly, they are women who were married to great prophets, or were prophetesses, or raised young men who had unshakeable faith. Do I really have anything in common with these people? Can you see Saraiah telling Laman and Lemuel to stop arguing or she was going to have to turn the camel around? Or one of the mothers of the stripling warriors telling him that she just didn’t feel like writing a talk about motherhood after spending 30 minutes cleaning up wet, shredded toilet paper that was adhering to every square inch of the bathroom?

I am an average mother. I get cranky, tired, and overwhelmed. I feel inadequate and humbled by the responsibility I have to raise Heavenly Father’s children. Frequently, I am at my wit’s end, out of patience, and wishing I could take the day off! If someone put my life into the scriptures, I would be considered one of those parts that wasn’t translated correctly!

But here I am, with all of my weaknesses, the mother of four beautiful children that have been sent here in the last days. Heavenly Father thinks I can do this job. After much reflection while cleaning up the shredded toilet paper, I think that I am starting to learn a little about this calling that we call motherhood. Here are 10 things I have learned in the relatively short time I have been a mother.

I know that his is what Heavenly Father wants me to be doing. For most of my youth I had a huge desire to be a missionary. I put my papers in exactly 90 days before my 21st birthday. I studied my scriptures. I kept every rule and worked and prayed. It was an amazing experience. And then, 18 months later, it was over and I had to come home. I was having a rather rough reentry into normal life. I couldn’t imagine what else I could possibly do that was remotely as important to what I had just done! I taught at the MTC and loved being there in the cocoon of the Spirit talking about the BOM and how to love your investigators. One day, I was called to be the Relief Society president in our student ward. When the bishop set me apart, he told me that although Heavenly Father appreciated the great service I had had as a missionary, there were even greater things that he needed me to do. Shortly after that, Vaughn and I were engaged and I began to understand what greater things the Lord had in store for me.
I know that being a mother has nothing to do with giving birth. Adam gave Eve her name, which means “the mother of all living” before they had ever left the garden of Eden and become parents. Mother means to nurture. Women give birth but never mother, and vice-versa.
I know that the inside of your t-shirt hem makes a great Kleenex.
I know that the best thing I can do for my children is to love their father. This has been said many times about the reverse. Partnership is essential. Single parenting is not ideal. In the proclamation on the family, it states, “ The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.” Children come from the union we have with our husbands. They need to feel secure within its framework.
I know that the toilet paper-changing gene remains dormant until a child leaves home.
I know that I can teach my children to love the scriptures. I can introduce them to the perfect example, Jesus Christ, and his teachings. I can teach them about great missionaries like Ammon, prophets like Nephi, and Isaiah. Each one of them has a great biblical namesake who is a wonderful example.
I know that I am assisted by angels, both heavensent and earthbound. The Spirit often lets me know of dangers, physical and spiritual, that are threatening our family. Sometimes, I think I am literally helped by angels. When Vaughn and I were starving college students with a small baby, we had a car that had a dying battery. Vaughn solved the problem by push starting the car and letting it accelerate as we went down the huge hill we lived on. One day he called me from work for a ride. I strapped Andy into his seat, turned the key, and nothing happened. You know me, miss I-can-do-anything!. I tried to push start the car, just like my husband did, by sitting in it and pushing with my leg. Of course, I wasn’t strong enough to make the car move. So, I got the brilliant idea of getting out of the car and pushing it from the hood, backwards. Imagine my horror, when not only did the car start to move, it went hurtling across the parking lot toward a dropoff down to the lower apartment buildings. The back wheels went over, but the front wheels caught. I frantically ran to the car and pulled Andy out of his seat. Thank goodness the Lord protects our children from their parents! Other angels in my life are my husband, sister, and many friends.
I know that the sweetest perfume in the world is that of a newborn baby’s breath, the sweetest sound is that of my children laughing, and the sweetest sight is my children sleeping, all four of them, preferably before 8:30!
I know that Heavenly Father appreciates my efforts. I know that the Savior can understand what it is like to be tired, to have heartaches, to suffer body and spirit. King Benjamin tells us in Mosiah 3:7 ,” And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.” Surely, somewhere in his experience He also felt morning sickness as well!
I know, now, in just a small measure, how much my Heavenly Father loves me. With all of my sins, shortcomings, pride, and imperfections, I am amazed at the depth of love I have for these children He has blessed Vaughn and I with. I delight in their joys. I ache for their disappointments. I worry about their choices. I want to teach them the right and watch them choose the right. Their father and I were promised we could have each other and them forever, and this is the promise that keeps me going. If I, who is so imperfect, am able to feel so much love for them, then how much more does our Father love us, who is able to love perfectly? I am grateful that as I teach my family about God, I have been taught about his overwhelming love for me.


Jess said...

I really felt the Spirit while reading your blog tonight. Very well written, Tami. I hope you all are doing well! Love, Jess

Marianne said...

Oh Tami! I am sitting here BAWLING!! I wish I could express my feelings as eloquently as you do! I really needed to hear this today...I am about ready to quit. Maybe I can make it one more day!