Happy Mother’s Day.
I have been thinking a lot about mothers and the role they play in our lives. I hope not to offend or discourage anyone who may not have a great relationship with their mother or anyone who is struggling with becoming a mother themselves, I simply want to talk a bit about my mother and her mother and what I learn from each of them.
My mother was 25 years old with a son who was almost 2 and about 4 months pregnant with her second son when her mother died. I never knew my maternal grandmother. I cannot imagine how my mother dealt with the loss of her mother at such a young age when she was just starting her own family and must have had many questions she wished she could have asked her mother. I am 31 years old with a 6 year-old son, and I call my mother about once a week or every other week to talk about family and how to raise a rambunctious boy who is more like me than I sometimes admit. My mother lost that resource, lost that support at only 25.
And yet my mother found comfort in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, in the hope of resurrection and the promise of priesthood ordinances that seal families together for time and eternity. I remember the look on my mother’s face a few years ago when I was able to accompany her to the Nauvoo temple and stand in for her father, my grandfather, as my mother was finally sealed to her parents in an eternal family.
And the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also provided a community of support for my mother and our family. My parents were both in the US Air Force and as such we moved around and did not live near our extended family. I saw my dad’s mother for about a week once a year when she flew out to visit, and we saw my mom’s father every couple of years when we took a summer road trip to Idaho. For us, family meant just the six of us. But we also found family in our local congregation. My mother found other women who had children, some the same age as hers, some with older children who shared their experiences. And we sort of adopted an older woman in the ward as our local grandmother, we visited her and helped in her yard and garden.
It is not just a gimmick that we in the church call each other Brother and Sister. We cling to the revealed truth that God is our Father and we are all his children. That makes us all family. We must reach out those who need a little extra help. We can be there for those who need a mother or at least a mother’s loving guidance and support. We can be there for those who long to be mothers but, for whatever reason, do not have biological children of their own. I have known many wonderful women, some who had never given birth, who were mothering and kind to all children they came into contact with. They provided a tender-hearted service, filled with the love of God for all of his children.
Sometimes in this church we place such an emphasis on the importance of family and motherhood that other things are pushed aside or de-emphasized. It can cause many who struggle with mother issues to become resentful. It is true that this is a gospel of family, but not everyone has an ideal family situation. You still have a family who loves you immensely and eternally- a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother who care about who you are and who you become. You have brothers and sisters who love you and will help you in all of your struggles, great or small. You have a Brother, Jesus Christ, who loves you so much that he suffered all things to provide you a way to return and live with him and our Heavenly Parents again, as the eternal family they hope we will all be.
Let us, today of all days, remember those mothers in our lives who love and lead and encourage and teach, but, please, be mindful of those who may be uncomfortable or upset with all of the talk of mothers this day. There may be those who do not have fond memories of mothers, please be kind and thoughtful. Be for them the family that God wants us to be. God is Love and Love is found in the Family.
Happy Mother’s Day.