Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Greatest Adventure

Once an aspiring newspaper reporter asked me what was the most exciting thing I'd done in my life. To me the answer was a no brainer--being a mother.  I don't think she believed me, but it's the truth. Flying on a refueling mission, scaling the Snake River Canyon wall, donning fire gear and going inside a burning house, rafting on the "River of No Return", hiking in Montana's wilderness area, sinking in quicksand up to my shoulders, being part of a traveling theater group, are just a few of the exciting adventures in my life but raising five children of my own and three foster children has brought me more excitement, tears, laughter, and personal satisfaction than anything else I've done. 

A few days ago I finished reading Covenant Motherhood by Stephanie Dibb Sorensen.  More than any other book I've read about motherhood this one touched me and expressed many of my own feelings and discoveries about motherhood.  She compares the essential elements of mothering children to the key concepts Jesus taught and lived while here in mortality:  creation, teacher, succorer, provider, cleaner, defender and protector, one who loves, sacrifices, forgives, shares, and saves.  With realistic short sketches from her own life as a young mother she points out the challenges, discouraging moments, and the triumphs that face mothers and relates them to mothers' eternal relationship with God as they walk closely in the Savior's footprints.
When I was a young mother I really didn't like Mother's Day.  No way could I measure up to the saintly examples extolled in the talks or poems given that day.  The perfect mothers lauded that day made me feel inferior and like a failure.  Fortunately Mother's Day talks have become more realistic through the years and I've gained a better understanding of what being a mother means.  I'm not perfect and I didn't raise perfect children.  What matters is how much I love them and how grateful I am to be their mother.  I'm thankful too for the memories we share and that they've all grown up to be responsible adults.  Along with the fine people they are, they've given me five more responsible adult children to love, and a baker's dozen nearly perfect grandchildren.  

In the Art of Motherhood, which I've talked about before, I had the opportunity to tell of the miraculous arrivals of my two youngest grandchildren. (The two-year-old has been very concerned about Grandma's big owie and became nearly hysterical when she saw my leg in the CPM machine.  She's convinced it's an alligator because it opens and closes like the actions for a familiar nursery song about an alligator that snaps monkeys out of a tree.)  I often call these two little girls our miracle babies, but in truth I consider all of my children and grandchildren "miracles."  Nothing could possibly bring me more happiness than being their mother and grandmother.

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