We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by sharing stories from personal and family history. I received a different but interesting and appropriate gift for Mother’s Day. One of my daughters gifted me with a subscription to “StoryWorth.” The idea behind the subscription is for me to write the stories of my life. Each week my daughter will select a question, and the company will email it to me. I am supposed to write the answer to the question and send it back. The company will send the answer to my daughter as well as combining the answers into a book at the end of the year.
Here is the question for Week 2: What was your Mom like when you were a child? The following information is my answer to that question. As I wrote this information, I felt a real weakness in my ability to put the goodness of my mother into words. I hope that she is pleased with what I have written.
My mother was 37 years old when I was born, and she had four children after me for a total of 12 children. She was a small woman, about 5 foot 2 inches and 105 pounds. She had brown hair that turned gray early, and her mixture of brown and gray looked sort of yellowish. She put blue tints on her hair to cover the yellow, and I think that she was grateful when it turned pure white. She had lots of freckles in her younger years and even won a contest for having the most freckles – a contest where she was in the audience. The freckles merged as she matured and caused her to look permanently tan.
Mom had wonderful qualities. She was a loyal wife, a loving mother, and a good friend. She honored her parents and loved her siblings. She worked hard and basically gave her life for her family because her body was worn out before she turned 71 years old. She made 8-12 loaves of bread several times each week to feed her large family. I do not think that she enjoyed cooking, but she did it because it was her “job.” She made quilts using pieces of outgrown clothing. I inherited many quilt blocks from her that I sewed into quilts for my children. She was the center of our home. She was at home almost every day when I returned from school. I remember how empty the house felt on those few occasions when she was not there. If she was not there, it did not matter how many other people were in the house because it still felt empty.
I cannot remember my mother ever saying a bad word about anyone. If she could not say anything good about a person, she said nothing at all. She was active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I think that she served mostly in Relief Society and Primary. She loved being a member of the Relief Society and especially enjoyed visiting teaching. I remember that she was quite upset when she was “retired” from being a visiting teacher at age 70.
My mother was a private person and did not share her feelings easily. I cannot remember ever seeing her cry or being angry, but I do remember her taking sudden walks. She loved to read. One of my fondest and strongest memories of her is seeing her sitting on the open oven door of the coal and wood stove reading a book. She loved westerns, particularly novels by Zane Grey. I learned to love reading because of her example.
Mom was a good athlete. She was captain of her high school girls’ basketball team. Dad said she was so good that she could have played for a college team if one was available. I remember going to a park in Roosevelt in order for Mom and Dad to play tennis. When the family gathered to celebrate her 70th birthday, Mom played tennis with one of my brothers-in-law and won. When my older sisters were in the Young Women’s program, the girls challenged their mothers to a game of softball. The mothers won, and Mom was a big part of the winning team. I think that she was the pitcher, but I am not sure.
My mother was a quiet woman who rarely expressed an opinion, if ever. I do not remember hearing her testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but I know that she had a strong one because of the way she lived. She was a very good woman who was honest and decent in every way. She never swore or used coarse language. She was kind and considerate of everyone. She was supportive of all I did and yet made sure that I knew the boundaries. She was a good example to me in all that she did, and I love her immensely. I miss her and look forward to seeing her again in the next life.
I am grateful for this Mother’s Day gift that encourages me to write the stories of my family. I feel certain that knowing these stories will strengthen my family and our communities and nations.