Friday, March 23, 2012

My dearest Abigail


My dearest Abigail,
Last week I wrote a whole post just for you 
after you sarcastically questioned what I do all day.
It took me an hour to write.
In detail I explained how my life revolves
around task completion.
80% of those tasks,
I do just for the happiness of my husband and kids.

When I switched from my laptop to my phone
to add this cute picture of your baby sister Caroline
(because it captured what I love about being a mom)
I lost the whole post.

I think God was watching out for me
because I intended to enter that post in an essay contest.
A few days later I thought of something better.

So instead of boring you with what I do all day,
here are my deepest thoughts about motherhood.
These are the thoughts I was too afraid to pen the first time
because I didn't think I could do the topic justice.

How privileged we are to share the sacred name of mother.
Joseph Smith once said,
 “A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race."

I cannot explain myself without this quote. I am at a loss of words to communicate the depth of motherhood. The sanctity of it. The power and pride I feel at being among some of the most noble humans on earth. 
I have been pondering motherhood for several weeks now and writing an essay that captures my thoughts is daunting. Yet, that quote by the wise Joseph Smith explains so simply exactly what I concluded.

Motherhood isn't limited to those who have given birth. It isn't even limited to a certain sex or age. Motherhood is a noun, but like it's counterpart charity, it's also a verb. In fact, motherhood is charity. Charity at its purest. You know how the Bible teaches that God is love. Well, I am here to tell you that motherhood is love.

Another wise prophet said that 
"motherhood is the highest, holiest service assumed by mankind."

Let me put this in math terms for you my dear Abigail
since it's one of your best subjects.
God is love.
Motherhood is the closest we come to godhood.
a=b, c=a, therefore c=b.
I am chuckling at myself because 
I don't even know if those equations are correct,
but you will.
I look forward to you correcting or congratulating me.

Isn't it amazing that I am your mother,
but you are smarter than me at math?
That's another thing about motherhood,
that I can't go into today.
Let me just say this:
anyone can be a mother.
Anyone can give love.
Anyone.
And everyone should
because love is desperately needed by so many.
Nothing is more disturbing than a mother without love.

I would like to tell you 2 of my most beloved family stories.
One is about my grandma and one is about my mom.
These stories capture motherhood.
I hope to be just like the women I came from.
I hope that for you too.
They are the closest thing I have on this earth
to know what God is really like.
If I want to know how I can be like God,
all I have to do is think about my mom and grandma.

My first story is one the greatest stories of the life of my Grandma Dorothy.
Years ago, in the 60's,
there was a department store clerk who was really rude to her.
Her two daughters were outraged.
This was an outing they had scrimped and save for.
They were going to buy their mom her first item of clothing
from a nice fancy store.

Grandma walked them out of that fancy smanchy place
and took them down the street.
She purchased a cheap scarf and a box with a bow
at the corner Woolworth's.
The corner five and dime was a place 
where she shopped the most comfortably.
She took the gift back to the rude sales lady
and said,
"I thought you must be having a really hard day,
and I wanted to cheer you up."
The woman started to cry
and told my grandma, mom, and aunt
that she had been so grumpy ever since her husband had died
and felt like nobody cared about her
and she apologized.
My grandma gave her a mother's hug
and told her that people did care.
My mom and her sister Shirley
stared on in awe of their amazing mother
and her humility, grace, and love.

It's women like Grandma Dorothy that
truly make this world a place worth living.
Their accomplishments aren't even recognized by the world
like those of politicians, athletes, scientists, and authors
but they mean everything to those who need it most.

Knowing what kind of woman my Grandma Dorothy was
will help you understand the kind of woman my mom is.

In 1985 or so another family legend occurred.
My mom and dad and my six brothers and sisters and I
were leaving Chuck E. Cheese.
We walked out into the parking lot to find an ensuing gang fight.
Weapons were drawn.
My mom walked right up to the two kids in the front
and said,
"Boys, why are you fighting?
It breaks our hearts."
She then turned to my dad and said,
"Rick, buy these boys some pizza.
They fight because they have nothing better to do.
And they need to know that people care."

To me, there will never live greater heroes then my mom and dad.
As I watched my dad (with so many mouths to feed already
and a limited paycheck) fork out the cash to feed
20 gang members I was in awe.
Even more inspiring was the sight of my mom seating all those rivals
across from each other in the showroom.
She so easily spoke to each one,
bantered with them, and loved them into their seats.
They had put their weapons away
and were anxiously waiting for their pizzas as the big gorilla sang
"so happy together."

I watched with a little trepidation but mostly I was beaming with pride.
Especially as I saw my oldest brother,
(your Uncle Erick)
who was a little younger than these boys
follow in the foots of his parents
and sit down with the kids to chat.

As you know Erick is now a football coach and a teacher.
He loves on big tough kids every day.
I personally think he would be very smart if he tries to live his whole life
for just one moment like that from long ago.
And I think that he is living his life for that.
He wants to be embody the finest of motherhood.
(Don't tell his football team that.)
Is motherhood not loving the forgotten and the unlovable?

My mom is loved by so many.
Many many times as a teenager
I would come home to see someone else's kid
sitting at our kitchen table.
My mom would be wrapping up her pep-talk
telling them just how loved they were
and how capable and blessed.
She expected the best from everyone's kids.
She did this because if she knew one thing in this world
it was that love conquers all.
Love makes the world go round.
Love is all you need.

Grandma Dorothy didn't think she was defining motherhood
during that simple little act of service
given in that small frame of time
in a place that no one noticed.
She was just being the person that she always was.
She was being a person who loves.
She was being a mother.
My mom didn't love on kids because
she wanted some kind of recognition,
she did it because love was instilled in her
by her mother.

Forty something years later
because of this story
Grandma Dorothy's grandaughter (me)
would hand over the fresh flowers she had just splurged on
to the cashier at Wal-Mart.
The elderly cashier had just confided
that she was feeling lonely this holiday season.
It would be her first without her husband.
I told her, "Please take these flowers;
I really feel like your husband wants you to have them
as a reminder that he loves you and is watching over you."

Tears filled both of our eyes.
Motherhood was revealed in this tender exchange.
Motherhood and love.

Yes, my dearest Abigail, motherhood is a verb.
It is love.
Someday in the near future
(maybe even today)
I imagine you reaching out
to someone in need:
a kid at school who is obviously neglected, a homeless person,
a friend who is lonely, a new neighbor, or the sick, poor, elderly, downtrodden.
I imagine the smile that will cross your face.
It will be exactly like that smile you got in the car
that day when your buddy Ryan revealed he
got a rose at school from a secret admirer.
He was so happy and dumbfounded.
He had no idea it had come from you
because you had noticed that he didn't get anything.

I will never forget your smile.
I made sure to see it in the rear-view mirror
while driving home the carpool.
You probably thought I was looking at Ryan,
but I was really looking at you.
In that moment, in you,
I saw my mom and my grandma.
I saw the face of God.
The face of love.

Yes! a=b, c=a, b=c.
Even if that isn't correct math
my dearest Abigail,
I hope you will always remember
that motherhood is love.
And you can be a mother
at all times, in all places, and in all things.
And nothing will make you happier.

This post was written for my dearest Abigail and the nienie "motherhood is" essay contest
and anyone else who will be inspired to be a better person by my amazing mom and grandma.
Thanks be to God for giving me the inspiration and the courage to write it.


I just read that I was limited to 500 words, here's the short version. Not as good.


My dearest Abigail,

Motherhood isn't limited to those who have given birth. It isn't even limited to a certain sex or age. Motherhood is a noun, but it's also a verb. Motherhood is charity. Charity at its purest. You know how the Bible teaches that God is love. Well, I am here to tell you that motherhood is love.

Let me tell you two of my most beloved family stories to illustrate my point.

Years ago, in the 60's,
there was a department store clerk who was really rude to my Grandma Dorothy.
Her two daughters were outraged.
Grandma walked them out of that fancy place
and took them down the street.
At the corner Woolworth's,
she purchased a cheap scarf and a box with a bow.
She took the gift back to the rude sales lady
and said,
"I thought you must be having a really hard day,
and I wanted to cheer you up."
The woman started to cry
and told my grandma, mom, and aunt
that she had been so grumpy ever since her husband had died
and felt like nobody cared about her
and she apologized.
My grandma gave her a mother's hug
and told her that people did care.

Next, around 1985 another family legend occurred.
My mom and dad and my six siblings and I
were leaving Chuck E. Cheese.
We walked out into the parking lot to find an ensuing gang fight.
Weapons were drawn.
My mom walked right up to the front kid and said,
"Boys, why are you fighting?
It breaks our hearts."
She then turned to my dad and said,
"Rick, buy these boys some pizza.
They fight because they have nothing better to do.
And they need to know that people care."
How inspiring was the sight of my mom seating all those rivals
across from each other in the showroom.
She so easily spoke to each one,
bantered with them, and loved them into their seats.
They had put their weapons away
and were anxiously waiting for their pizzas as the big gorilla sang
"so happy together."
I watched with a little trepidation but mostly I was beaming with pride
as the power of loving others burned into my heart.

Yes, my dearest Abigail, motherhood is a verb.
You are the best of motherhood.
You proved it the day you
got a rose at school for your buddy Ryan.
He hadn’t received any all week
and you sent him one as his secret admirer.
I will never forget your smile
as he showed us his rose on way home from school.
I made sure to look at you in the rear-view mirror
while driving home the carpool.
You probably thought I was looking at Ryan,
but I was really looking at you.
In that moment, in you,
I saw my mom and my grandma.
I saw the face of motherhood.
The face of God.
The face of love.

6 comments:

Rita said...

Well thanks a lot for not WARNING ME!! I was already in awe of your beautiful post and then I got to the part about Abigail and what she did for Ryan and now I'm a mess...

You are TRULY one of the best moms I know and will ever know. Your children are a beautiful reflection of their parents.

I miss you so much Gold family!

Now excuse me while I go finish my sobbing...

TeacherFromTN said...

Alice, this is beautiful. The stories of your grandmother and your mom made me cry, but they also made me think of you. You bringing popsicles through the car line for Coach Lewis and everyone else on a hot day. Your big laugh and love for Adrian Burnett and making us feel like what we did everyday was way more important than any test. I hope you win the contest, but really, you've already won. You are raising your girls to be mothers just like you! Big hug from TN!

Valerie Shedley Walker said...

Alice I loved that!!!! Man oh man did I get teary eyed!!! How many times I can think of your mom being there for me! Loving me, feeding me, taking me under her wing!!! Hiding me from the fights at my house ;) Love radiates from your mom and your entire family! I have always thought "where would i be without the Wills" you guys were such a HUGE part of my little life!! I just couldn't imagine where I would be today without you guys! I am happy for facebook to still see what everyone is doing and staying in touch now that you are all so far away! Well I just want you to know that I love you and your blog was AMAZING! <3
love ALWAYS
Val

Anonymous said...

From Faye:
Grandma Henderson is with me today. I loved taking her to church and introducing her to my new friends in my new ward. We are all in awe of her life of almost 92years. She too is a wonderful mother.
I am surrounded by wonderful mothers but my favorites are the ones that are mothers to my grandchildren and the ones who will be mothers to my grandchildren. Thank you for loving my gradchildren and teaching them what's important in life. You are wonderful and apparetnly you were taught well by a wonderful mother and grandmother. I can only hope to remember and follow their example.

JennyLynn said...

Very touching Alice. Your mother was sensitive to the needs of others. Which blessed many people's lives. I was always grateful for her strong testimony. You are just as amazing as your mom. I hope you win!

Next time give a little warning that a box of tissue will be needed to read your sweet post. :)

Olives and Pickles said...

Beautiful post!
Thanks for sharing!
Patty