Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday thoughts

Today has been sort of a rough day, emotionally. I've really been thinking a lot lately about the ways in which I need to improve as a mother, but also as a wife and just an individual. Some of the talks I heard at Women's Conference struck me to my core. I know I need to do so much better.

And because it's Mother's Day, our talks in sacrament meeting were about mothers and the great work that they do. I looked down the pew and saw a woman that I visit teach and I could tell she is struggling and I don't have any idea why. Another woman that I visit teach lives down the street and I saw a for sale sign in her yard yesterday -- I had no idea. Again I was hit with those thoughts of my own inadequacy.

I don't bring them up so that people can reassure me that I'm doing a good job. I really don't think I'm doing a very good job. Sometimes I feel like I spend so much energy just surviving, I don't take the time and energy to really plan, to work toward goals, to live with intention.

Marc and the kids have done what they can to make this a nice day: muffin and berries in bed before early church, handmade cards from the kids, dinner cooking on the stove, a leisurely nap. That's all great -- truly -- but today I kind of feel like I don't deserve it.

Then I remembered the email my mom sent me this year for my birthday. I re-read it and it cheered me some.

I can remember the day you were born like it was yesterday. I'm so glad that motherhood allows one to remember the joy more than the pain! I know that I have told you before how difficult your delivery was. My mother's dearest friend was the labor nurse by special permission from my Doctor. She held my hand and my head and helped me through the most difficult thing I have ever done, bearing you. Rhonda cared for me with such tenderness. Dad wasn't allowed anywhere near the labor or delivery room. That seems impossible! It wasn't that long ago! My doctor was a wonderful member of the Church. He told me after you were safely in my arms that if I were a pioneer I never would have made it and neither would you. I'm sure glad you did.

You have always been such a perfect daughter. As a young child, you were much like little Bella. So tractable and agreeable and happy all of the time. You began to excel at everything so young and never stopped. As an adult, you inspire me daily. I am amazed at your calm and collected nature and your dedication to serving your family. You are much like your father in that respect. I love that and wish to be more like you in that way. You are so low maintenance and such good company, always fun and easy to be with.

I am filled with gratitude for your birth and know that I have yet much to learn from you. I yearn for the day that we can live closer and I can have a more constant relationship with your sweet children. Hopefully, I'll live long enough!

I love you, my sweet daughter. Happy, happy Birthday!


After reading over this sweet letter, I have the following to say:

1. I was not always a perfect daughter. Not even close!!
2. Maybe motherhood really does allow us to remember the joy more than the pain. I certainly hope so.
3. My mother is my biggest fan. That gives me great comfort.

Happy Mother's Day to my darling mother. You deserve it!


rebekah said...

sometimes i really feel the strain of just surviving as well, and i look down the road of my life and imagine that i'm never going to excel at anything because it takes so much of my energy just to be present every day.

feeling this constant 'strain of days' burden may be the Lord's way of molding your personality so that you could be so calm, so easy going, so caring. if you were running marathons everyday and pushing it to the max, i don't think you could be that person.

i believe that we all have an overriding personality type, and because there is opposition in all things, there must be a less than desirable counterpart to each good characteristic that we have. or maybe there is something in our personality that we are missing because we are a certain way. someone who is calm and steady may feel like the zeal for life is missing for them. someone who is very go-go-go may feel like they are missing the small moments.

this i know,the Lord wouldn't put you and your personality in a situation where it couldn't bring about goodness.

you have been called to teach your children, but no matter how well you do this, one mother can't teach her children everything about everything. your kids will learn the most from you, and then their experiences will be enhanced by interactions with personalities in their families, from their school, from church, etc. the influence of a righteous mother will not cripple her children. and what she can't teach them will be shown to them through someone else that the Lord has sent into their lives.

Barb said...

I truly believe that the time we spend just surviving is part of the plan. I certainly learn to lean on the Lord.

Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Oh my goodness. To have such a cheerleader in your corner is a blessing indeed. I have no doubt (regardless of how ever many weaknesses you may observe in yourself) that your children have that same cheerleader in you in their corner. As you've seen, it's a powerful gift that can cover a host of inadequacies and ineptitudes you may think you have.

Good luck. We're all mucking through this together! We'll all just keep doing our best and improving as we can.

Kate said...

I love the email from your Mom. Makes me really miss my Mom today.

Happy Mother's Day to you!!!!

Jill said...

You are so blessed to have your mother as your biggest fan and a grandmother who is her biggest fan as well. You come from such amazing women!

You are way too hard on yourself and it makes me upset to hear you say you feel like you don't deserve the special treatment from your family today. What in the world? You are constantly taking care of their endless needs, nursing their endless illnesses, making meals, creating a beautiful home, listening to them, playing with them, and helping them along the way. You totally deserve the royal treatment!

Susan said...

Mercy, I can relate to exactly how you feel! I long for the day that I could feel more deserving of Mother's Day aclaims.I don't feel that I am a really bad mother, but I never feel like a really good mother!

Ryan's struggles have helped me feel like I have filled a finer role as a mother to him and it has been rewarding.

Every word I said about you is true...."to me, it is" to quote little Jessie!

The Spirit can uplift us. You can feel equal to your earthly journey.
Love you so.

shannon said...

I always seem to be commenting on the heels of some awesome comment from Jill!--

I must agree with what she said...You totally deserve the royal treatment...

Seriously!--Who could pull a pink party out of their hat?!

I am constantly amazed by the sweet things you do for your kids...I admire you in so many ways...

Laurie said...

My Bishop stood up in RS yesterday on Mother's Day and said, I have a feeling that many of you are hearing all the discussion of Mother's Day and feeling about this tall, and he held his fingers together an inch high. He said you feel inadequate because you're not "perfect" yet. He said, I want to reassure you you are good enough today. He said, You deserve to be celebrated...the Lord sees your offering and accepts it. He is pleased with the work you are doing. You are enough for now. Not for eternity, but enough for now.

That was very comforting as I'm sure there are many of us way you do. In my son's Mother's Day card he had his teacher type up nice things but he also wrote that he doesn't like it when I say mean things. So yea, it is humbling.

jenn said...

I was much happier celebrating my mother's yesterday than having anyone celebrate me- especially after having "taken off" the first part of this year! Maybe that's how it is supposed to be- we celebrate our mothers and not ourselves as mothers. But then, I'm realizing how much in my life should be less about me and more about someone else!

jenn said...

I hate it when I forget to preview! Drop the apostrophe in what should read "mothers" and forgive the scattered thoughts.

Happy Mother's Day.

Amie said...

I feel bad that that I feel some comfort in your struggling post. I had an emotional day as well (as in I probably should have started counting how many personalities showed up for the day early on!). It is crazy how fast I can bounce between thankful, pity, wanting to do better, wanting to give up, making a gratitude list, telling people off (in my head, of course).

I know what you mean about not needing the reassurance, it makes me feel a little dumb. It is so nice that we can see the good in each other but I still feel like they have no idea what is really going on... it makes me feel like I am not being honest in what I do share...

Anyway... always about me. I hope you had a good day... you do deserve to be celebrated.... our bishop talked to us on patience... at least you have that down!

Happy Mother's Day.

Melinda said...

I actually totally related to how you were feeling yesterday. It was how I was also. I kept thinking, I just don't deserve this. I love what Laurie's Bishop had to say though and the letter from your mom is just priceless.

melanie said...

It's good to know I wasn't the only one struggling yesterday. I love your mom's letter, what a treasure. I agree with Jane, you are that same treasure for your kids.

And thanks to Laurie for posting what her bishop said. Such a great message.

wende said...

ok really, who does love mother's day? it just seems to magnify all of my short comings and make me feel even worse about them. and that's so sad because i know i'm doing an ok job, i just wish i could do a great job.

i never feel deserving of all the things people say and do for me for mother's day. it's like a big fake me standing there receiving it all.

Hannah said...

This letter from your mom is priceless! Wow.

I am sorry you struggle on Mother's Day, or that you struggle at all with yourself in regards to being a mother. I too hope that motherhood somehow will gloss over the pain and the joyful moments will shine.

Claudissima said...

ooh my goodness, tears are strolling down my oniony eyes...did chinese noodle sooup and was trying to clean the tears, and got onion on them now! You are wonderful. You are, there is no doubt that our worst enemy is ourself. it is just a trick to see who you listen to more, the one self that is pulling for you, or the other one self that is bearing you down.
let the struggle begin,
and continue
and know that at the end good prevails.

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