LDS women are incredible
As I listened to this talk I immediately thought about my own mum. She is one of my best friends. She means the world to me. She is one of the most dedicated, patient, Christ-like women I know. Becoming a mother myself makes me love my mum even more as I think about the sacrifices she has made for our family over the past almost 30 years.
She is one of the most self-less people I know - although I know she does not see it that way. You see I have a brother who we all love dearly, but he can be quite difficult to look after at times. He has an intellectual disability. She has had to do the majority of care for him for about 17 years... and it is a thankless task most of the time. No paycheck or recognition comes with this job which is harder than most, yet she does it day in, day out, because he is her son, because she loves him.
She was always at home when we were growing up which was great. She was always there to help with assignments, she encouraged us to do our very best in all that we did. Despite our very modest circumstances, she made sure we made the most of the opportunities we had, which for me was playing the flute and participating in the orchestra. She didn't drive, so would take us on the bus across town to get there.
She cooked, cleaned, cooked, cleaned, cooked and cleaned... I now know what that is like, it can be completely defeating to look through the once tidy house and see it completely upside down. I must admit it is very satisfying having a clean house... I just wish it would stay that way.
I remember driving my mum crazy when we were little. I kept coming up with these crazy ideas that I wanted to trick my mum. First I thought I'd trick her into thinking that it was snowing in the house, so Angela and I ripped up white paper into tiny pieces and spread it all through the lounge. We then hid behind the couch to hide till she came in. The Angela would jump out and say 'we ripped up paper to make it look like snow'. I always got cross with her because I thought if it wasn't for Angela telling her we would have had her fooled.
The other brilliant idea was to 'trick' her into thinking the house was on fire, so we cut up lots of yellow paper to look like flames. Again we hid behind the couch and again Angela 'ruined' the surprise by telling mum what we had done.
The other thing that really did drive her crazy was when we would take balls of wool and tie it like a spiders web round our entire room. We would tie it to everything. I think once she couldn't even open the door because it was tied closed to every other peice of furniture in the house. She was pretty mad about that... but our excuse was that we didn't want our teddies to get hurt if they fell out of bed so we made a safety net. I don't think she bought it.
Most importantly, my mum instilled in me a love of the Saviour Jesus Christ and nurtured the beginnings of a testimony of the restored gospel. We had scriptures and family home evening and family prayers, not perfectly, not daily or religiously, but just as regularly as an incredible LDS mother could manage. I did not realise it until I was an adult, but by small and simple means she made sure the spirit of the Lord was in our home.
When we were younger and stayed with family members, they would sometimes take us with them to the pub or club. We would play with other children in the playground, but I never felt comfortable. Looking back now, I realise that what I was missing was the spirit that was ever present in our home. As a child I often wondered why I did not feel the spirit, and church did not feel that much different from home. Now as I look back it was because the spirit was ever-present at home and at church and it was only when I was away from these environments that I felt the absence of the spirit. What a blessing it was to be brought up in such an enviroment. I only hope that my children will feel the same spirit in my own home.
My mum is a righteous and strong women, she has endured much. Today I was described by the sister giving her talk as being "steadfast". I am steadfast because I have had a mother who has been steadfast all my life in the face of all the difficulties she has had, she has always moved forward with faith. I also know that she is who she is because she also had a mother who likewise continues to move forward with faith - my Grandma Rae. My aunty Ruth and sister Angela are also women who are incredible LDS women. It is such a blessing and privilege to be surrounded by such women.
It is because of my mum that I am the person I am today. I agree with Abraham Lincoln who said "All that I am I owe to my angel mother."