Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

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I love my mom.

I love her for loving me. My mother always made me feel like I was important to her. I never once heard her complain about staying home or talk negatively about being a homemaker. She loved being with us, and we could feel that love in everything she did, from keeping an immaculate home so we could relax in a peaceful, beautiful environment on a daily basis or cooking a delicious meal-from scratch-every evening. Coming home to the smell of freshly baked banana bread on a rainy day after walking home, all soggy and shivery from school remains one of my favorite memories.

I lover her for believing in me.

My mom has always believed in me. She believes I am smart. She believes I am beautiful. She believes I am talented. She believes I can take on the world. She believes in me when I don’t know if I believe in myself. When I tried out for “American Idol” so many years ago, both my mother and father were behind me 100%. My father was the one who encouraged me to try out for the show-my mother was the one who kept encouraging me, even after I was cut. She believed when it seemed ridiculous to keep holding on. She believed when no one else did. And it was her absolute vote of confidence and “you can do this!” voice of support that got me through week after difficult week. My mom still thinks I can do anything. She is my biggest fan and that has meant the world to me.

I love her for showing me how to nourish both body and soul.

My mom is an amazing athlete. She runs marathons. She competes in triathlons, including the St. George Half Ironman. She competes in LOTOJA, an insane bike race from Logan, Utah to Jacksonhole, Wyoming that is 206 miles. It’s the longest one-day bike race in America. Her calves are to die for. No one looks as hot as my mom does at 54, and that’s a fact. She has always made an effort to take care of herself and would get up at 6am every morning so she could get her workout in and be home to make us breakfast and get us ready for school when we were little. She takes time to get ready and make herself look beautiful, and is a great example to me of someone who truly cherishes their body and takes care of themselves in a healthy, righteous way.

More importantly, she takes care of her soul. She listens to conference talks in her car. Her scriptures and journal sit on her nightstand. She reads from the Book of Mormon and writes her thoughts every day. I remember coming downstairs at night in high school to say good night, and seeing my mother-sometimes with her head nodding-reading. That quiet daily example was a constant strength in my life. I knew she had a testimony by what she did every day. She lived what she knew. The primary words, “I see my mother kneeling…”come to mind as I also frequently came down to her on her knees, pleading with her Heavenly Father for one of us. I’m afraid I was the reason for many of those earnest prayers!

I love her for being a grandmother.

When I became a mother, it was very overwhelming for me. I was exhausted. I was terrified. I was so in love, and so excited, but so nervous. I remember the night my little Boston was born. It was dark and quiet and very late. I was in the recovery room in the hospital, my husband sleeping soundly on the pull-out couch in the corner. All of a sudden, my baby started choking and spitting and all I could think was, “Oh no! He’s going to aspirate his spit-up and stop breathing!” I was so swollen and in so much pain from the long labor that I could hardly move. I desperately lunged toward the hard little bassinet by my bed and tried to pull him carefully over the side and onto my lap to burp him. He was fine about three seconds later and went back to sleep, but I fell apart. Suddenly it hit me: this baby is mine, and only mine. I am in charge of him. I am his caregiver. I am his support. I am his lifeline. Of course, he is my husband’s boy and his Heavenly Father’s son, but as a mother, I felt this huge sense of responsibility suddenly fall on my weary shoulders. Birthday parties. School. Friends. Sports. Music lessons. Eating. Growing. Developing. How was I going to do this? I called my mom the next morning and just cried and cried. “Thank you!” I sobbed hysterically. “Thank you for EVERYTHING. I never knew how hard being a mom is! You are the best mom in the world!” My mom laughed and said, “I got the same phone call from your older sister when she had her first child. That means the world to me. But you CAN do this! You are a great mother!” Her never-ending encouragement was a lifeline for me.

My three boys adore all their grandparents, but my youngest, Briggs, has been especially attached to my mom. In fact, given the choice he’d prefer her over me. It has been a sweet relationship to watch develop, as I observe him receive the love and attention I received as a child. I want to be like my mother in so many ways, and so this Mother’s Day I say, “I love you, Mom!” to the best one I know.

Moms everywhere, thank you for loving us. Thank you for teaching us. Thank you for believing in us. You are our heroes.

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