Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lessons from my Children

I was contemplating what makes motherhood so integral to eternal existence. I enjoy motherhood the most when I see my children happy, when I see their faces light up with enthusiasm for discovering the beauty in the world around us, when I see the tenderness in relationships. The rewards are obvious when Gwen squeals to see me after nursery and screams out "MAMA!!!!" with arms thrown out wide in anticipation of a hug. But eternity isn't always beautiful along the way. Like this morning when she threw a 25 minute tantrum because I attempted to get her pj's off, diaper exchanged for panties, and clothes on so we could go have fun picking pumpkins with some friends. What about the 'joy' of motherhood then?

and I thought of so many dear friends of mine who have not yet been blessed with children in their homes. Years and years of hopes, dreams, that longing and waiting and not wanting to give up hope but each time it doesn't work out the heartache is more painful.

and I thought of children around the world and locally too who do not feel loved by their mothers, if they even know them. Eric and I watched a documentary in which one beautiful girl says, "most girls are born from a mother... I was just BORN."

and I thought of some friends that have not necessarily enjoyed their calling as a mother: perhaps losing themselves in the service of others is less pleasurable if that sacrifice results in not knowing the face in the mirror at the end of the day.

and I thought of a talk by Sheri Dew called "Are we not all mothers". She suggests that even those without children can 'mother' a child, whether a family member, friend, student, or neighbor. Mother is synonymous with nurturer.

and I thought of our Savior. The perfect Exemplar of nurturing... and of patience... and how He can make all that is challenging about motherhood: the waiting and desire, the daily grind and frustration, the emptiness of NOT having a mother-child relationship and proper love, the struggle to be better, or whatever aspect of motherhood might be hard....He can make it all okay. He can counsel and lift and support and comfort and guide and teach and love and make it possible for each of us to overcome challenges and ourselves to be the MOTHER we desire to be.

to me, Motherhood is more than just successfully bearing a child. There are plenty of women who have kids but don't magnify their role as mothers. And there are plenty of women who don't have kids of their own that are AMAZING mothers. I am in awe of those women because they are better at mothering than I am, and I get more practice at it.

Caroline had her 6 month appointment yesterday. I've mentioned numerous times that she was sick pretty much for a whole month in Idaho/Utah. She' better now, but she's still got this horrible cough that only rears its head at night. Poor thing, it sounds awful. and she isn't sleeping really well. We've been home for a couple of weeks now and it hasn't really gotten better. But only at night. During the day, she is happy as a clam. She has been back to her chipper, active, sweet, happy self here. Well, at her appointment yesterday we found out why the cough has persisted: she's got an ear infection. What amazes me, is that we had NO IDEA because she was still such a sweet, pleasant baby. No fussiness. (That was before immunizations, of course. But we'll ignore that for now) She is an example to me of not complaining, of choosing happiness, of choosing to be happy NOW even if conditions aren't perfect. Why wait for that golden ticket to the chocolate factory? Why not be happy now? Why look down? Why not look up to a better view?

My point is: my children teach me to be more like my Savior. And to me, THAT is what motherhood is all about, no matter WHAT COURSE that journey takes.

ps. Caroline's 6 month stats:
height: 26 1/4 in 75%
weight: 16 lb 2 oz 60%
head: 17 1/2 in 92%

pss. this post was prompted partly by Caroline's 6 month appointment, partly by General Conference thoughts, and partly by a blog Group Writing Project. As far as that goes, check it out for participation because there are prizes involved.


  1. Deep, deep thoughts here. I maintain that mothering is the hardest/best thing I have ever done, and that my biggest contribution to the world would be to turn out happy, compassionate, dedicated, honest kids....who then turn around and do the same.

  2. So well put. You are such a great example to me.

  3. So, this is perfect. I've had such a hard time with patience...since Caleb was like 18 months. I dunno. I try so hard and I just lose it. Your reminder about the Savior's relationship with me and my struggles was perfect. Thanks.

  4. What a beautiful and sensitively written post. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Ooo, that is beautiful. Crazy children sometimes feel like my biggest trial and then, like you, I think of those who don't have kids.
    Really, children are my biggest trial?
    What a blessed lady I am (and you are)

    Thanks for your post, it made me smile

  6. I love your testimony of motherhood. I read this last week and I really needed it that day. Thank you so much for participating.