Monday, March 30, 2009

harking back

Jill called me on my cell phone this morning just to make sure I was really and truly in Denver and that all was well. Oops! I've been so busy having fun that I didn't even check my email until tonight...

I did make my 6:30 a.m. flight on Friday. It was slightly delayed so the airline could make sure that planes were landing here, but we made it. I was disappointed that I missed Denise's birthday on Thursday, but delighted that I could still go on my trip and that I didn't miss my mom's birthday.

(I'm having a wonderful time just being Michelle, not being the mother for a few days. But, as you can see, I'm still blogging at 11:45 p.m., so I guess some things never change.)

So, harking back... two of my favorite women in the world celebrated birthdays last week:

1. Denise

Denise is my aunt, but she is only 8 years older than me. We moved to Denver when I was 4 and lived here until I was 12, and I can remember her making little tea parties for me (real ones! with real food and drink!), dressing me up for family home evening lessons, letting me read her Nancy Drew books, taking me swimming with her and her boyfriend.

She wrote me letters when she was away at BYU, including a card telling me about her engagement with a little drawing of her ring. I felt so special when I got that card! When I turned 16, she sent me a funny package of dating items, including candles and dating ideas and red fuzzy dice for my rearview mirror.

When I was at BYU myself, she was in town with baby Emily and came to visit me in my first apartment (where I was roommates with Jill). She took us grocery shopping because I didn't have a car and Jill was sharing hers with Adam. Everything is fun with Denise, even grocery shopping!

She was the matron of honor at my wedding.

I can't remember a time when I didn't look up to Denise. She is beautiful. She is talented. She has a beautiful singing voice. She studied fashion design and is truly a wizard with fabric -- she sews clothing for herself and her children that you would think were from a fine clothier and she is the costume designer for her former high school's drama productions:


She is hilarious and has the most infectious laugh. She is extremely capable. She is modest. Best of all, she has a deep testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and has always been a fine example of obedience and righteous living.


2. My mother

My mother is the most stylish person I know -- she has impeccable taste. She is also the most generous person I know. Anyone who knows me knows that most anything I have that is cute or covetous was given to me by my mother.

My mother is the hardest working person I know. She is always working, and she loves her work. When she takes a rare day off, she works at home. When she goes on "vacation", she still works, just a different kind of work. When she visited me for Christmas, she cooked and wrapped and helped my dad to transform my entryway. During her trip to Denver this time, she did an extreme makeover on one of Denise's bathrooms. Jill asked me recently if my mom ever wants to just sit and relax. I'm sure she wants to sometimes, she just rarely ever does!

{she never ever wears sensible shoes...}

I got to be here for her 60th birthday dinner. The tradition is to go around the table and have everyone say what they love about the birthday honoree. I only wish I had taken notes so I could reproduce what everyone said about Mom! Instead, I'll have to rely on my pitiful memory:

My uncle Mark (Denise's husband) said that he really appreciated Mom's friendship with Denise and the way she has been a support to his dear wife over the years. He said he was honored to be her brother-in-law. (How many people ever hear that?)

My cousin Sarah said that she loved Mom's cute clothes and jewelry and the fun things she sends in the mail.

Denise expressed gratitude for Mom's friendship, example, and emotional and spiritual support (I know I am forgetting a lot here.)

Grandma appreciated that, even with all of Mom's prodigious talents and abilities, she is remarkably devoid of ego. She shares her ideas and manages to remain humble, even though she receives praise and accolades and admiration from all.

My cousin John said that he loves the way she smells (Angel perfume). (She does always smell divine and somehow manages to look cute and have her hair fixed and makeup perfectly applied and wear cute jewelry, even when she is painting a room or moving. Shannon once asked me if Mom ever just put on a baseball cap and went out. The answer is no. I don't know that she even goes out to check the mail without lipstick on...)

My dad said that she is a classy lady, but that she is not a princess. She doesn't expect to be taken care of. She does what she needs to do and she has real grit underneath her refined exterior.

Grandpa said that she has been a special addition to the family since her birth, and that she never gave them cause to worry about her (said, in true Grandpa fashion, with tears in his eyes and a quivering chin). How many people have never given their parents cause to worry??

I said that I have always admired Mom's autodidacticism. She didn't get a design degree. She didn't study business. She just taught herself what she needed to know. She magnified her talents in a big way. I have also long been grateful that Mom shares her testimony with me. When I was growing up, she prayed for me and with me. She shared her experiences with following the promptings of the Spirit and taught me that the Lord loves us each individually and will help us with even the most seemingly trivial and mundane aspects of our lives.

The birthday honoree then must tell something they like about themselves. Mom said that she is confident, that she knows she can do whatever she needs to do. I loved this and found it to be a real gift.

I was so grateful that I could be here to celebrate these two amazing women who have had such a great influence on my life. I can't even believe I am related to them. Happy birthday, Mom and Denise!

20 comments:

charlotte said...

I love this post! I too love both of these women. Of course Mom would make a real tea party for you and give you dating things for your 16th birthday! I love this tribute to my own mother and to my aunt. I find both of these women incredible--I don't what I did before this life to merit membership in this family, but I'm definitely humbled to be related to so many phenomenal people.

Melinda said...

This was such a fun post to read about your mom and aunt. I am so glad you were able to make it for their birthday's. Have fun.

patsy said...

Wow!

This is truly an amazing, inspirational post. How wonderful to be with these two wonderful women to celebrate :)

linda said...

While I don't know Denise that well, I have heard many wonderful thngs about her, from your mother, over the years. She definitely seems worthy of all the praise you have shared. I too, am in awe of your sweet mother. She is the friend that keeps on giving! She has been a huge influence for good in my life and one of my dearest friends. I could go on and on about her! The Peterson women(you and Jessie included) have so many talents, I can only say that you all are wonderful ladies with endless talent! I can't talk about your mom and Denise without mentioning the ever wise mother who raised them. I love to hear your mother share your grandma's wisdom, it is priceless! A heritage beyond treasure.

Jill said...

They are both such talented, beautiful, kind women! I am so happy to have gotten to spend time with both of them and know first-hand of their goodness.

Susan said...

I hardly feel worthy of such words, but they are surely thoughts to treasure. Thank you for writing them down for me and thank you for being there to celebrate this landmark with me.

That sp that Denise took of us has sure gotten a lot of mileage!! I can see Grandma's eyes in the two of us, and that is a treasure.

Thanks. Missing you.

Susan said...

p.s.

Ditto on all thoughts and comments on dearest Denise. She is a wonder and a fine friend. She has always stood for truth and righteousness from the time she came to earth. I'm the lucky one to have her for my sweetest baby sister. Any task is fun when she's around!

Denise said...

What a sneaky blogger you are, posting right under my nose without me knowing! And what an honor to have so many fine things said of me--I feel humbled and grateful to be a part of our family. Thank you for your sweet memories and kind words.

I couldn't agree more with everything said about your mother. The other thing I said about her at the dinner table is that I have always known on which side of the Lord's line she stands. Her commitment to the Lord has been a strength to me throughout my life.

Are you sure you have to go home tomorrow? . . . Wouldn't you rather stay on here as my full-time blog banner designer and shopping partner in crime?

Becky said...

Awesome post! It makes me wish I knew them in person :)

Glad you made it to Denver and are having a good time....

Kelly said...

What a blessing to have such amazing women in your life! It's no wonder you're right there in their company.

They both have the most stunning blue eyes! Beautiful!

shannon said...

This is a fantastic post! Such sweet words...

I like how you wrote that it was nice just to exist as Michelle the person, not the mother for a few days...

What a great relationship you have with Denise...I enjoyed reading about the history between you two...soooo interesting....How lucky you are to have such a great aunt/mentor/friend--

autodidacticism??????!!! You're killing me! You and your fancy words!

You're mom truly is one remarkable lady...I am forever in awe of her impeccable syle and vision...
She has been a special friend to me...

This sounded like such a wonderful trip! So glad you finally made it out there and that you all were able to pay tribute to each other...

shannon said...

P.S. Your mom doesn't like my new blog picture...any thoughts?! :)

rebekah said...

i can't tell you how much i have learned from you, and by extension, your mother, your aunt, and your grandmother. the heavy impact one righteous woman can have in someone's life is astounding, then multiply that by two, by three, by four...and how do you ever go back and thank these people, especially when they might be complete strangers to you?

thank heaven for blogging. thank heaven for women.

amy m said...

You have some inspirational woman in your life, but honestly it's no surprise, you are just as amazing.

I'm glad to hear your getting some quality michelle time. For some reason I thought the whole family was going.

Jen said...

wow! what a sweet post. i love that your aunt was your matron of honor. and that you have these 2 women in your life. i can see where you get your attributes and i can only imagine how eva is going to benefit from this incredible circle of women!

i'm seriously inspired by this post. people who like to chat about the empowerment of women should really look at these women and what they do. how cool that you got to be there. :)

wende said...

now i know why you are such a classy lady michelle. and, how you learned to wear lipstick so perfectly, something i have yet to achieve!

great post.

Michelle said...

Wow - no wonder you are so amazing!! I remember the first time I came to your apartment and saw some of the mail that your Aunt Denise sent you- I had never realized mail could be beautiful before then! That was my first introduction to "Good Mail"

Mark said...

Denise had a boyfriend before me?!

Indeed, she is beautiful, has a beautiful singing voice, and is a wizard with fabric! I've always loved her laugh and sense of humor. It brightens any day, even during an April blizzard! (And by the way, that reminds of a 1984 Wyoming April blizzard I drove through, all the way from Alberta to Denver, to see Denise ... oh, never mind.)

Thank you, Michelle, for your tribute to both Denise and Susan. They are remarkable women!

melanie said...

Both such amazing women. To have those things said about them is a gift in itself. I love that you were able to spend the weekend with them. Another gift! I have no doubt you possess these same qualities too. And not onto Eva. Love it.

Rin said...

Happy Birthday to Susan! I love Susan too...I remember hanging out at your parents house a few different times while Jessie wasn't even there...that's how warm and welcoming and at ease she always was. She was also my beehive teacher and I'll never forget these little pearl pendant necklaces she gave each one of the girls...I felt so lucky.

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