I have been born of goodly parents. Not perfect parents. But parents, who, nonetheless, did what was within their knowledge and capacity to teach me the difference between right and wrong, encourage me to be an honest and hard worker, and motivate me to pursue my goals through education.
I would like to pay tribute to my mother, and share some keynote experiences which have been influential to me:
As a young child, I might have been 5 or 6 years old, my mother would take me weekly to Temple Square in Salt Lake City. I don’t remember a lot of the specifics of those occasions, but I do remember the grand feature; throwing pennies into a water fountain. This tour was repeated consistently, and I believe there was instilled in me at that time a lasting appreciation for the House of the Lord. It is no irony to me that I watch over that House in a different capacity today.
When I was in elementary school it was considered humorous to knock over the orange cones at the crosswalk. Everybody did it, even to the point where it became a right of passage, a bragging right if you will. When my friend admitted to having performed this right of passage, I lied and told him I did the same. When he got caught he did what any good friend would do, and turned me in. As a result, my mother sent me to this crossing guard’s house, on a cold stormy day, to shovel his driveway. I suffered the punishment for a crime I admitted to, but didn’t commit.
I worked on a vegetable farm as a teenager. Some can appreciate this, its hard work. Five hours a day in the sun running, walking, picking produce, and lifting buckets and boxes. One day I decided I was tired, and felt that sleeping in was slightly more desirable than showing up for work. When my mother discovered this she promptly went to the field, told them I would be there in a few minutes, returned to inform me of her actions, and told me not to make a liar out of her. I didn’t. It is a son’s duty to defend his mother’s honor.
All who are familiar with my mother know she has a very unique personality. When I worked on an ambulance and we would arrive at a house, there was always somebody, a neighbor, which was either there to help, or bring a casserole. This is probably only humorous to those who are familiar our culture and social customs. Often those of the medical response would make fun of these people, call them the casserole posse or something of that nature. I would humor the jester with a smile, or a fake laugh, grateful that I didn’t work in the region of my mother’s residence.
Many aren’t familiar with the compassionate side of my mom. When my father’s grandmother was passing away, she spent countless hours at the retirement home helping and aiding her. The rank of boys, including my father, was gathered up each Sunday to visit Grandma Rose at the retirement center. When I was on my mission she was called by the Church to be a service missionary. This was a good fit for her. She would serve meals to those resistant to receiving aid, especially from a Church they didn’t like.
My mother also has weaknesses. Her compassion over-carries into her feelings, and she becomes too emotionally involved in her undertakings. She has difficulty setting issues aside, and reevaluating them at a later period of time. There is a genetic trait, which I share, of being high strung, slightly stubborn, and unrelentingly right. Those who have dealt with these traits patiently, as my wife has with me, can attest that my mother is over-willing to make concessions for reconciliation. Notwithstanding the aforementioned genetic personality difficulties, she is easy to be entreated, meaning, she is very approachable, and always willing to talk.
My mother spends her days in sorrow. She suffers a “capital” punishment for a “misdemeanor” crime. Only at this point in my life could I try and comprehend the wrenching pain that could accompany having a piece of your soul, your own flesh and blood, withheld from you for reasons you cannot fully understand, and for which you are ultimately and irreconcilably condemned. I know she would do anything, of which I have seen and do attest, to restore this piece of her very being, but is denied. I’m sorry you suffer these things mom. What adds to this difficulty is that the denial comes from good people. None of us are or will ever be whole without them.
You are a fantastic Grandmother. The children love you. You spoil them rotten. But even more important, you give them your time. You sit and read story after story with Meagan. This feat of patience I have not. When you’re with her, you’re not just in her presence, but you spend time with her and talk to her. You come to our aid in a moment’s notice. You provide frequent and meaningful service to our family, and have always done the same for me.
If I can quote Elder Holland, “In the name of the Lord you are magnificent. You are doing terrifically well. The very fact that you’ve been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you. He is blessing you, and he will bless you, especially when your days and your nights may be the most challenging. Rely on Him. Rely on Him heavily. Rely on Him forever. Press forward with a steadfastness in Christ having a perfect brightness of hope. “