The very first thing Nephi tells us in the Book of Mormon is about his parents. Have you ever thought about why that is?
I was just sorting through some photos of our weekend in Utah, prepping for some upcoming temple posts, and came across this photo of my parents…
It touched my heart. I’ve been thinking about my parents a lot over the last couple of days, for a couple of reasons.
First, I just saw them last week, which was such a treat. It had been since July before that. We had such a great time visiting and celebrating my brother’s wedding. It was just good to be home. Funny thing how it will always be home, even though I moved away almost 20 years ago.
Another reason they’ve been on my mind is because I snuck and opened my Mother’s Day gift early (sorry mom and dad). I have a good reason though. I don’t have the capacity to not open a present if it’s just sitting there. I have sort of a history of sneaking in to the Christmas presents and knowing every gift that was coming every year. So when they texted me last week and said my gift would arrive early but not to open it, they really should have known better. I actually had every intention of waiting, but when the box arrived my strength crumbled.
Here’s the deal though. I opened the box, but I didn’t open the package inside. Yes, I knew what it was, but I wasn’t using it. …until last night.
You see, the third reason why I’ve been thinking about my parents is because I am a parent. I have been blessed with some amazing boys who are sweet and kind and so smart. They are also teenagers, and yesterday was one of those really hard days as a mom.
We want so much for our children to be happy and to never have to face the growing pains that we all have to face in order to progress. But that’s not really possible. I mean, it’s the whole point of this life, isn’t it? To progress. To be refined. To learn from our experiences and grow closer to God and Jesus Christ, which usually comes with a great struggle.
As a mom, there have been many days when I have wondered if I’ve done a good enough job to prepare them to face the world. I only have one year left before my oldest graduates from high school. Will he be ready? Have I done enough? I am usually 99% sure that I have failed as a mother. I can be highly emotional, and sometimes I don’t know when to stop talking.
So anyway, yesterday was one of those really tough days as a mother. And I started thinking about my own parents, and how they showed me so much love and kindness when I was doing my stretching and growing. There was never a time when I did not feel their love. And at specific times when I felt I was so undeserving of it, they would go to the end of the earth for me and bring me back in, always with kindness.
My mom was my best friend growing up- she and I have very similar personalities- a little mischievous and sometimes snarky. There were many days when she would let me skip school and we’d go to the movies together. Last summer I got to spend a lot of time with her after she had broken her back. We did a lot of crossword puzzles together, and lots of laughing. She is so in tune with the spirit and I aspire to have her spiritual capacity.
My dad is amazing. My boys think he’s invincible. He started running marathons at age 60 and continues to impress our family with his ability to just keep going. He is so wise, and has a calm, measured approach to solving problems or answering questions that just leaves the inquisitor feeling so peaceful. At my brother’s wedding reception, I was talking to Sister Joy D. Jones, who is the Primary general president. My dad works with her on a regular basis, and she described him in the most perfect way. In speaking about how much she respected him, she said, “He is without guile.” Such a perfect description. He is honest and humble and the perfect example for me.
Back to my story now. I was feeling really down, and needed a lift. I needed some hope that I could be thought of, at least a little bit, by my children the way I think of my parents. And also, I was just needing to know that I meant something, that it wasn’t all for nothing. So I went into my room and pulled out my gift: a beautiful blanket that feels like a big comfy sweater. Along with it was a note: Carrie, A mother is much like a soft comfortable blanket, offering love, support, and reassurance to her children. We hope this throw reminds you of your important roll as a Mother.
That’s how my parents are- offering love, support and reassurance.
That’s how I hope to be.
…therefore I was taught in all the learning of my father.