She took care of me for pretty much 24 years of my life (until I got married and moved out of the house), and she's still the one I call when life seems upside down. Yet it took having a baby and becoming a mother myself for me to finally realize just how amazing she is.
Seriously. I only have one child, and I find it so hard to simultaneously take care of him and do the simplest things, like vacuum, make dinner, even shower. I can't remember the last time I watched a movie at home, played a game, did a workout, without Baby Brown Eyes interrupting. Some days I miss being able to just drop everything and go grocery shopping, instead of carefully calculating what time I can slip in a quick run to the store without coinciding with Baby's nap or feeding schedule. I have to constantly push aside my selfishness and put Baby's needs first.
And then I remind myself that my mom did this with eleven children.
Of course I took everything she did for granted when I was a kid. She was Mom, and it was her job to nourish us and clothe us and hug us and dry our tears. I never thought that maybe she had other things she would rather be doing, that maybe our constant needs irritated her, that maybe there were some nights when she really would have rather curled up with a good book than cook us dinner. If so, we never knew it. Being our mother was an undertaking that consumed the best years of her life. We probably took years off her life with all our demands. But she never complained.
I want to be just like her.
Right now I feel like that is such an unattainable goal. I'm pretty much the opposite of my mother--so selfish and quick to complain about the littlest thing. But it gives me hope to think that Mom didn't become the seasoned mother of eleven children overnight. She started out like me, with just one precious baby and no idea what to do with it. I'm sure it took many sleepless nights, poop explosions, changed plans, and tear-filled eyes for her to learn how to give of herself without complaint.
So maybe, after [insert number here--Mr. Brown Eyes, what do you think?] kids, I will be more like her.
While I have a ways to go before I acquire her patience and selflessness, I can happily say that there are a good many things my mom taught me that have (intentionally or not) stuck with me:
- I always brush the crumbs off the counter into my hand and throw them in the sink.
- I push glasses away from the edge of the counter lest they get knocked off.
- I chew with my mouth closed.
- I can sew a button.
- When baking something in the oven I always give it the minimum time to start off with because, as Mom says, you can add time, but you can't take it away.
- The Holy Ghost goes to bed at midnight. I admit this one irked me when I was dating Mr. Brown Eyes and wanted to stay out as long as I possibly could with him. But Mom was right, and she kept us out of a lot of trouble.
- I can drive a stick shift (a testament to Mom's patience!).
- I made getting married in the temple my unshakeable goal.
- When Mr. Brown Eyes leaves his dirty socks next to the hamper, I try to remember Mom telling me that some things just aren't worth getting upset over.
- I pray.
- I tell myself, "This too shall pass," when I have to do something I really don't want to do.
- I remember that Jesus Christ can carry us through any hurt and any struggle.
Mom, I know you probably won't read this (you don't like computers, and that's ok), but I want you to know how much I love you. I look forward to many more years of learning from you. I want to raise my children with all the love, patience, and selflessness you showed us.
And darn it, someday I will be able to bake a loaf of bread as beautifully as you do.
I'll be sure to tell you all of this in person,
The Brown-Eyed Girl