Happy Birthday, Momma!

Today would be my mom’s 71st birthday.  You may be aware we lost mom last December 2nd.   If you have followed my blog at all the past year, you may have seen numerous posts on grief (see the Sad Days Tab under categories) as I worked through my mourning period.  This particular post is not like those.  This post will be a reflection of what I learned from one good momma.  It’s a celebration of good memories of a good life.

On a side note, do you think people on the other side of the veil are cognizant of their birthdays and other significant days?  Do you think they celebrate somehow?  I sometimes wonder about that.

Anyway, when I decided what I wanted to post my mind went blank.  Trying to force a memory to surface is like watching a pot waiting for it to boil.  It doesn’t work.  In fact, I think the memories flee from the searching light.  Instead, I came up with a list of things I learned.  My original list only consisted of three items but it grew and I couldn’t narrow it down.  I’d like to say it was intentional that they all start with the letter L.  And that I did that because of Lee.  And wasn’t I clever?  To be honest, that was serendipitous. I’m not really that smart.  But if you want to think I had that much foresight, please feel free.

What I learned from my mom.  A partial list.

Living the Gospel and Loving Scriptures

My mom was my first source of absolutes.  I learned to love and trust in the Lord because she did.  I remember one time when I was little I decided to be a big shot and used the Lord’s name in vain.  Just like they did on tv.  My mother, who was in earshot, quickly and gently corrected me.  I never used that word out of context again.

A common sight was to see my mom sitting in her chair reading her lessons for the week.  She read the Sunday School lesson and marked notes in the study guide and her scriptures.  Then she read the Relief Society lesson and again wrote notes in the margins of the book.  I recently read her last set of scriptures.  What a valuable treasure it is for me to have her penciled notes written in the margins.  A lot of times she wrote a narrative of the verse or scripture story to help her remember the details.  But sometimes there was personal insight.  Sometimes she wrote her testimony.  It is these special notes I love to stumble upon.

I read this verse in Book of Mormon: “And blessed be he that shall bring this thing to light; for it shall be brought out of darkness unto light, according to the word of God; yea, it shall be brought out of the earth, and it shall shine forth out of darkness, and come unto the knowledge of the people; and it shall be done by the power of God” (Mormon 8:16).  Next to it she wrote: “I thank the Lord I have received this knowledge.  I know the gospel is true. ml.”

Thanks mom for setting a good example for me.  Because of you, I gained my own testimony and I can now hope for the day when we will be reunited.

Loving family

For some reason, mom’s favorite pastime was hanging out with us crazy people.  She enjoyed having her flock gathered around her.  A family dinner was always a lot of work.  As it is for everyone.  But after dinner, when the grandkids did the dishes and the adults gathered in the living room to talk that was the payoff.  That is what she enjoyed.  Even after she became sick and could no longer join in the conversation, she liked being part of the group.  She watched my brother’s face turn red as he told a story.  And then at all our faces as we laughed at the punch line.  This was her happy time.  This was the harvest to all her sowing.

Mom was the typical Momma Bear.  She was fiercely protective of all her children and grandchildren.   Eventually she could forgive a slight on her own character.  But if someone messed with one of her cubs (or grandcubs) that person would be in the doghouse pretty much forever.   For example, many years later I found out one of my Young Women leaders had said something about me my mom didn’t appreciate.  Maybe I knew at the time but I had forgotten.  My mom didn’t forget.  She remembered and still didn’t appreciate the remark.

My mom taught me charity.  Not by preaching to me but by living it.  She was a source of inspiration for my poem titled The Covenant of Love.  While it’s important to say I love you – and we do that a lot in my family in a variety of ways – it’s more important what you do to give the words substance.

Thanks mom for showing me what’s important in life. What’s worth fighting for.

Learning

Mom was my original Google.  Whenever I had a question I’d ask her first.   Even after I became an adult.  My co-worker made fun of me for consulting with my mom about a question regarding weevils.  But the information my mom shared was right.  So, mock away, Ms. Mocky!

My mom loved to learn.  And she loved to fix things.  I truly believe she could have been anything she wanted to be in this life.  She chose to be a wife and mother.  In this way, she used all her skills and abilities daily in probably the most demanding career.

Thanks mom for teaching me the importance to always be learning.

Laughing

My mom had a great laugh.  Her distinct laugh bounced through the house and could be heard in every room.  Sure, I was embarrassed by her loud laugh when I was young.  But it’s her booming laugh – absent since she got sick the first time five years ago – I miss terribly.

I often wondered how I could be expected to grow up and act like an adult when my mom still was a child at heart.  One time, when my nephew was little, I remember her throwing a snowball at him.  A very surprised T turned around surprised at the culprit.  He hesitated.   Was he allowed to throw a snowball at his grandmother?  All his teachings up to that point prohibited him from retaliating.  While he pondered his dilemma she threw another one at him.  He grinned.  Surely it was safe to fight back.

I love to laugh.  This is one of the greatest gifts my mom gave to me.  You might as well laugh at life because crying just gives you a headache.

Thanks mom for the gift of laughter.

Lyrics

This may seem like an odd choice.  It’s going to seem even odder after I explain it.  I inherited from my mom the ability to not know the entire lyrics to one single song.  Instead, I can only recall snippets of several songs.  Sometimes I can only remember made up words.

This song always comes to my mind when I’m driving down the road especially when the trucks get backed up.  But do you think I can remember anything other than, “We got us a convoy,” da-da-da-do-da-da dah.  Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s not how it goes either.

Gee, thanks mom for all the snippet of songs.  At least, there is music in my life.  Even if it’s the same lines over and over again.

True, my mom was not perfect.  But she was a pretty darn good mom for me.  Three squeezes and I love you to pieces.  Happy Birthday!

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