Friday, May 8, 2009

Mothers in my life

Being a mom makes you appreciate so much more the mothers in your own life. I've thought about the qualities of the mothers in my life, and I truly hope that even a portion of them have rubbed off on me. Here's a few that came to mind (though of course this list is nowhere complete).

My Mom
-Creativity: My mom is basically the MacGyver of all moms. She can rig up a TV/VCR combo in a minivan with bungee cords and a trash can that will withstand the journey from Salt Lake to New York and back. She can do wonders with fishing line and Christmas tree branches, and how can one forget the amazing, creative poems that awaited me, my sisters, and our unsuspecting dates at the doorstep. Seriously, that woman can rhyme!
-Planning: While it does drive some of us crazy when she sends out plans for our summer family reunion in January, this quality is an important one and I'm so glad my mom passed it on to me (although maybe not in as potent of quantity)

-Humility: My mom is amazing at taking any criticism and asks for it on a regular basis. She apologizes when she's wrong and isn't one for taking credit. She also is a VERY cute, hip grandma, but isn't vain about it. I hope to do better at learning from her on this characteristic.

-Outgoing: My mom has always had a gift with reaching out to others. She can really talk to anyone about just about anything. I used to hate this growing up. She could sit and gab with the store clerk that she just met about whatever. She organized a temple group when I was in middle school and high school and she took us to the temple every Tuesday. She has been & continues to be a part of many groups and organizations. She truly has a way with people to make them feel loved & at ease. I need to watch her more closely & try to emulate this.

-Energetic: TV? Not my mom! I really never remember her ever watching much TV. I am my mom now on this one - I could just as well do without ANY TVs in our home and be just as happy. The thing is that she would always have better ideas for us to do - and she was an active mom - and now she is an active grandma.

-Optimistic: My mom has problems with neck pain and headache pain to name just a couple, but even if she's in pain, when I call & ask how she is, she says something like "Well, I'm just getting over this migraine, but I will feel fantastic soon! Thanks for asking!" She is so optimistic and is great at seeing the bright side.

-Unselfish: This is true in many senses, but right now the specific example that comes to mind is her pregnancies. Four times she went through the nightmare of basically living by the toilet - throwing up all the time and being miserable. Then, later on in pregnancy, she had problems with leg clots, so she had to wear special nylons and she couldn't do much. Really, she sacrificed so much to bring children into this world. This year, ESPECIALLY, my love goes out to her for this unselfish act of love on my behalf.

-Engaged: I read somewhere that once a girl reaches 13, only like 40% of them go to their moms with their concerns, questions, and issues. Kids rely more on their friends, and parents basically give up on communication. Not my mom! Even through those years when I would barely respond to any of her questions about my life, SHE KEPT ASKING! And she asked (lovingly and caringly) until she got answers. Through notes in my school lunch, 1-on-1 talks, and dates she showed me that she cared about me & wasn't about to give up. And it never changed! All through high school, college, marriage, kids, etc, she never disengaged. She has always shown me that she cares about me and my life. This is one quality I hope I hold on to - even when my kids get older.

Christ-like Love: I never questioned if my mom loved me - even when I did or said horrible things - like throwing fits when she'd fix my hair, vandalizing our home and car, sneaking out at night... she wasn't always happy with me, but she LOVED me. And she loved all my siblings. And she loved the people in our ward. And she loved strangers. She just loved, unconditionally. Her testimony of the church and of our Savior isn't something she just shares in a fast & testimony meeting once in a while, she LIVES IT.

Grandma Tew
-Technically Savvy: While other people her age (she turns 80 this year!) shy away from anything technology, she embraces it! That woman has more technical gadgets than I do! She is a scanning, cropping, scrapbooking queen. Seriously. While other people's journals and life stories may have one or two pictures, hers is filled (electronically) with scans of photos, memorabilia, awards, and other great stuff. It makes reading so much more fun. She is amazing!

-Craftiness: This is one area that I REALLY need to work on taking from her. Maybe she'll teach me a 1-on-1 crocheting class. She makes the most beautiful blankets, quilts, afghans, cross-stitch, etc. She keeps saying her hands are getting worse & she'll have to stop, but she keeps going & it is such a sacrifice of love that each of my children have something hand-made from their GG Tew (not to mention countless other grandchildren & great-grandchildren that have benefited from her handiwork).
-Genealogical pursuits: She has such a love (and a gift) for genealogy. She has a HUGE chart - like it would fill your entire wall - with generations & generations of ancestors. For Christmas last year, she spent so much time and effort to make amazing, professional-looking, personalized packets for each family with all the documentation of how we are related to John & Prisciilla from the Mayflower.

-Strength through trial: My grandma lost her son in a terrible accident when he was 5 years old. 2 of her daughters had brain tumors. Both survived (one of them being my mom), but my aunt (having more hardships of her own) hasn't done well and my grandma has taken care of her - even now that she's in her 50s. She has kept the faith, though, and is a great example to me. She went on a mission with my grandpa and serves diligently in the church. She has a great testimony of the plan of salvation & I know she'll be worthy to live with her son again one day.

-Generosity: It would fill this entire blog to list all the generous things she has done & given, but to name a few - she let us stay in her basement apartment free of charge (we helped her around her house) for the first 3 years of our marriage. That one act of love gave us enough money for a large down-payment on our Park City home & enough to be debt-free in this home! She also has let each one of my sisters stay in her basement apartment at different times in our lives. She will never know the full blessing of that basement apartment. And then little things - like giving us money to spend in Phoenix and a wonderful meal - and sending Easter cards. She has so many grandchildren & great-grandchildren, but she makes sure we each feel special. Love you grandma!

Grandma Potts (passed away when I was 16, but still very much shaped my life)

-Determination: Some would unknowingly call this Irish stubbornness, but I would prefer to look at the benefits. She knew what she wanted & she worked hard to get it. I love my grandma for that.

-Good food: She made yummy breakfasts, memorable and delicious Thanksgiving dinners, and always had grapes, 7-up, and a candy jar that never emptied :)

-Cleanliness: She was to the extreme, but this is definitely not a quality I automatically inherited. She always had an orderly house. Always. Even after all 4 or 5 of us had been there for hours, it was as clean as when we came. She picked up constantly. Everything was clean and tidy.

-Love: We always felt loved at Grandma Potts' home. The never-ending treats, smiles, hugs, laughter, reading of books, watching the Disney channel, and cuddles left us knowing that we were never a burden - she always loved having us over.

Grandma Devenish (Jason's mom)

-Optimism: Even when faced with cancer, she was optimistic and amazing. She had & still has such a great attitude.

-Craftiness: She has made the most beautiful blankets for my girls. The pink quilt she made for McKinley is her very favorite blanket & it's the only one she sleeps with most nights. They are truly gifts of love and sacrifice.

-Good food: Her spaghetti & meat sauce is the yummiest! I didn't even like frog-eye salad till I tried hers. Even while camping, she comes up with the best stuff. No doubt about it, she is a great cook!

-Cleanliness: Another gift of hers that I hope to one day emulate. Her house is so clean all the time - and yet, she is so generous to let the grand kids play with all the toys and doesn't get stressed out when we kind of take over the place.

-Strength: Even through 3 divorces, she was always the kind of mom that Jason could look to and find strength, love, and wisdom. And that was while working full-time and raising 2 other siblings. She is a great mom & a great grandma! (she also produced an amazing, handsome, wonderful son!)

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