This woman is a fighter. She's strong. She's bold.
First of all, she had seven kids. That alone takes a strong woman. And let's be honest, we weren't exactly perfect children. In fact, sometimes we were basically insane. If you knew my two youngest brothers back when they were kids (nicknamed the "twin tornadoes"), you would wonder how she ever maintained any of her sanity. But all I can remember is my mom loving us and putting up with our craziness with a good sense of humor.
But she hasn't just been a good mom to us. She's a good mom to EVERYONE. She's the kind of woman who stands up to the high school baseball coach when he is mistreating one of the players—even when it's not her son that's being wronged. Even when no one else will stand up with her. She's the kind of woman who does everything she can to not only get my little brothers to seminary—but their friends too. Even if it means bribing. Even if it means waiting in the car for fifteen minutes while a teenage boy drags himself out of bed so she can give him a ride to seminary. And doing this almost every morning... for someone who isn't her child. She's the kind of woman who welcomes others into her home—and "welcome" is a huge understatement. I think at one time there were three young men (and their cat) living in our home. These friends of my brother showed up at our house because they needed help and they didn't know where else to go. Of course, my mom let them (and the cat) stay at our house until they got back on their feet again. She will help anybody and everybody. And their cats.
She stands up for what is right. She shows love to all. And let's face it, she's just cool.
I have this memory from when I was about eleven. My mom took me and my best friend out somewhere fun—I don't even remember where— all I remember is my friend looking at me and saying, "You're lucky. Your mom is so cool." I remember the words taking me back a little bit. I guess I had never given it much thought at that age, but I had to agree. "Yeah, my mom is cool. Really cool." And if you want to know many of the reasons that make her cool, see this post.
She shows her faith by the way she lives.
My mom has imparted so much wisdom on me throughout the years; however, I believe she has taught me the most by the way she lives her testimony. Her optimism. Her unfailing endurance. Her constant service and selflessness. The way she sees the good in everyone—even the tatooed/pierced-up (somewhat scary-looking) cashier at Urban Outfitters. Her eternal perspective. The way she values people more than things and loves her family more than herself. The way she is always pushing herself to be better.
Sometimes, I honestly think my mom could've been one of those pioneer women back in the day. Pushin' a handcart. Helping others along the way. Roughing through the good and the bad—and yet, singing a song as she goes. Smiling every step of the way.
Mom, I love you. You are such a strong, inspiring woman; and yet, sometimes I think I am only beginning to understand how much you have done for me and everyone else in your life. As your daughter, I hope I have made you feel loved and appreciated, though I know I could've done more. Thank you for the incredible example you have shown me. I only hope that someday I can be half as wise, courageous, lovely, kind, and amazing as you.