Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tribute to Mom - Happy Mothers Day Mom

Trying to write a tribute to a parent is harder than for other people as when someone is your parent, you see them differently than the world sees them. Most of the world loves my mother for the beauty queen she was, or people in our religion love her for what a great missionary she is, or for the many talks she gave a youth conferences, firesides or other marked gatherings for our church. 
Others, people in the music world, honor her for her beautiful singing voice, touring with the Tabernacle Choir for over nine years, teaching music, or writing songs. Many people loved her for the services she offered running “Charlotte's Attic – Costume and Gown Rental Business” where they could come and be anyone from any time in history or even an imaginary being when transformed by her costumes.  

I love her for different reasons, yet many of the same reasons that others love her. My earliest memories are of my mother singing me to sleep each night singing whatever we wanted her to sing but it usually ended up being “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as we loved it when she would sing that to us.  
I love her for knowing that a teenage girl needs new clothes from a current “Mall” store rather than her older sister’s hand-me-downs when that is mostly what she had known in her life. She spent nearly $300 at the mall one day on clothes just for me so I would know I was worth having something new and not just what someone else had grown out of or discarded.  

I love that when I was doing my first baking at age ten, when I read the cookie recipe as ¼ c. salt rather than ¼ t. and made a really salty batch of cookies, she didn’t want my first baking experience to be awful, which could have made me hate cooking. She had the family calculate out how much we needed to multiply the recipe in order to save the rest of the batter and make “good” cookies out of it rather than letting me “fail” in my baking attempts. My brother had to run to the store and fill the car with flour and sugar! We had a freezer full of cookie dough for a year. Most mothers would have just thrown away the dough. She KNEW I needed a “win” at that young age being a middle child and one of 8 kids. It is a story that is often told in our family.  
I love that she put us in “community classes” since private lessons for 8 children would have been difficult. I took dance, tumbling, gymnastics, art, skiing, music and many other classes I wouldn’t have been exposed to if she hadn’t found a way that was inexpensive to give us the opportunity to learn in that way. 

 I love that she would take us on a “ski sluff” day every year on “ladies day” at the local ski resorts and my sisters and I would get to ski with mom and skip school for that one day. Unfortunately, she would usually forget sun screen so everyone would know we had been skiing on our missed day of school!
I love that she would make any simple thing entertaining for us all. She would stick us all in the back of our station wagon (we didn’t have seat belts back then) with all the seats folded down and she would take corners a bit fast so we could all slide around in the back like a fun amusement park ride! She also would create games for us on long trips. She would give us “Ding Dongs from Hostess” and have us make little animals from the tin foil wrapper and then we would be judged for our animal and the winner would get the last “Twinkie” or we would play, “Name that Tune” or who can hold their breath for a mile, or the alphabet game etc.

I love that she valued education and traded out voice lessons, sewing lessons, art lessons and other items doing her costume rentals or her dried flower arrangements so that we could have the opportunity to learn things we couldn’t take at local community center or classes. She worked hard to give us EVERY opportunity that any child may have even if they didn’t have 7 siblings.   

I love that she gave me chores so that I could learn how to work. I didn’t appreciate the “consequence tasks” that I would get if I didn’t finish my chores on time but she was a VERY hard worker and taught us the meaning of hard work and the accomplished feeling when we had finished a job or task and done it well. She never had idle hands. Those blessings have served me well in my life.  
I love that she sang all the time and continued to perform in plays movies, and share her talents until her death being in choirs until a few months before she died. When I returned to visit after getting married, I was washing the dishes at her home and was singing a song. She said, “You must be happy as people only sing to themselves when they are happy.” I realized that when I was growing up, my mother was always singing. She had a song on her lips when working, driving, sewing etc.  
I love that my mother finds value in everything. I discovered that when my mother lived with me for the last three months of her life. I knew she didn’t like to throw things away, but I finally understood that she was wired that way for a reason. She would take something others would discard and attach it to something beautiful and make something new that everyone would want. She did that with jewelry, clothes, costumes, salty cookies, and people. 

It wasn’t until now that I understood that if she wasn’t that way, she couldn’t have been the great missionary that she was and is. She would look at people most would be afraid to approach as we would judge them as misfits or scary. My mother would see the value in them and give them the gospel and by attaching that person of “no value” to something of the greatest value, she helped others to see the value in them! This is why she was such a great missionary as she judged no one and LOVED everyone and everything!

I love that my mother taught us to forgive and love others. I remember when a neighbor boy was throwing rocks at my brother. She asked my brother “Why would that little boy do something like that?” She took my brother over and made friends with that boy and his mother. Eventually, that divorced mother and child joined our church and they were friends for years all because my mother was a forgiving and loving person and could understand, with empathy, how others were feeling and taught us to do the same.

I love that my mother loves and forgives me for my short coming and my insecurities and loved me through them and, in spite of them. I love that she rubbed my hard cracked feet when no one else would or when I had no one else to rub them. I love that when I went through my divorce, my mother called me on my lowest day, prompted by heavenly angels, and sent me vitamins that helped me fight on for my children eventually winning custody. Just when I needed a mother, she was there. Just when my children needed their mother, she was there to help me get through it so I could keep my girls!

I love that we sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at her funeral. I love that last week, a few days after her funeral, someone picked “The Wizard of Oz” to watch and I came in just as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” came on. I love that today, just over a week since her burial; I saw a rainbow just as my youngest daughter and I needed it. My daughter was standing directly in the center of the rainbow! I love that even after passing away, my mother is still watching over us and touching us in the way she can beyond the grave and helping us through our life situations.

Thank you mom for not stopping at one or two children or even three or four… Know that your “Number Five” is missing you and hopes she can honor you with her life and through the lives of your grand-daughters, and now, great-grand-daughters! 


Your Number Five

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