Monday, May 3, 2010

I Learned Mothering from Them--Part Two

She may kill me for this one.
Diana Rose Olsen Tucker
I had to post both pictures because, although one is the cutest of Mom, the rest of us look dorky. In my belly's defense, Hyrum was only three months old when this was taken.

I was completely oblivious to the fact that most women detest Mother's Day until one year when I was asked to give the traditional Mother's Day talk at Church. When I called Mom, she bitterly spat, "I HATE Mother's Day. Those talks always make me feel so guilty. You're not going to give one of THOSE talks, are you?" I had been a mother for at least six years by this time, and I'd never heard these sentiments expressed. Now I know that Mom is not alone in her loathing.

I could write many entries dedicated to my Mom. So I thought I'd narrow it down to an area of motherhood that I'm entering--parenting grown children and in-laws--an area in which she excels.

From the moment I surprised my parents with the news that I was getting married, Mom has accepted and loved Brad. I remember the first time I brought Brad home to Idaho--three weeks after we were engaged. We had borrowed his mom's beat-up Dodge van, and it had mutinied at the top of Sweetzer Summit, refusing to run for more than 15 minutes at a time. This was 1989, way before cell phones of any kind, so arriving at 1 am was alarming. But they were so gracious and even stayed up for an hour talking with us. (If you know my folks, they NEVER stay up late.)

She told me once that her philosophy is this: "I know my kids love me. I need to make the in-laws love me." She has come to stay with us each time a baby is born, and every time, without fail, the first words out of her mouth (after hugging and loving her grandkids) are: "What do you want me to make while I'm here?" She's famous for the world's biggest Rice Krispie treat, a 17-layer cake (no joke!), homemade caramels, Oreo ice cream, and cinnamon bread ring. She sews, mends, and fixes. And can that woman quilt! Quilts for babies, for kids, for weddings.

And that's just the superficial stuff. My pregnancy with Micah was scary--I was flat on my back, only allowed out of bed to use the bathroom and shower every other day. Mom came and lived with us for an entire month, being Mom to my four small kids. I'm sure it got long and hard and noisy and annoying, but I never once heard her complain. And, more importantly, I never once heard Brad complain. Having her live with us was such a joy and blessing that I look back on that time as one of the greatest memories I have with her.

She has an inherent ability to know where the line is between wanted and unwanted advice. She knows when to correct grandkids and when to step back and let parents intervene. She lives what she believes, and what she believes in is God and family. She's mastered loving her kids' spouses like her own kids. I've always wanted to know this secret. Now I need to know it.

But the underlying quality that makes her my mom is her desire, above everything else, to serve her family, whether she feels well or not. Often she's ill or aching with arthritis, but you'd never know it. She works from the time she wakes until she tucks herself in with a dozen specially made pillows and a noise machine at night.

The greatest compliment I've ever heard anyone pay Mom is this: "You mom is truly kind. And kind is different from nice."

I've been told my entire life how much I'm like my dad. But when I grow up, I really want to be like my mom.

I've got a long way to go. Lucky for me, I've got such a great model.

Love you, Mom.

This week I'm writing about women in my life who have helped shape me into who I am today. On Friday, I invite you to join me in a little Mother's Day writing challenge. It seems that most women detest Mother's Day because of the guilt it conjures. We are all too hard on ourselves as women. We have faults, but we also have strengths. So:
What is one weakness you have when it comes to mothering (only one)? And now that you've identified it, how are you going to improve?
What is one of your strengths? Feel free to brag yourself up, either seriously or with humor.
On Friday, I will attempt a link post (we'll see if I'm that technically adept or not), so all can be edified thereby. Think about it. You have time. I look forward to Friday


  1. Love it. What a sweet post about your own Mom. She really has been so good to you during these crazy pregnancies.

    That said, WOW! Lily looks just like your Sister on the far right, and I see Heidi in the other sister. Who knew.

    Also, you're cute. You are TOTALLY kicking my butt with followers, lest you haven't noticed. And that is ok, 'cause as I said, your blog is fab.

    And, no, Lana has not seen the error of her ways. I HATE that she's private, and have told her so. So buggy.

  2. I am enjoying these posts so much, Jen. Thanks for sharing these sweet thoughts about your mom. She is going to LOVE reading this one...even if she does loathe Mother's Day.


  3. Your mom sounds wonderful. Lucky you to have such a great lady in your life.

    I never knew most people hate mother's day - all the moms in my family love it!

  4. Now we know why you are such a wonderful mom! great post~simply lovely:)

  5. Wow! Very complimentary! I am glad you love me because, as you know, there is nothing quite like the love you feel for your children, and to have it returned is what makes life's struggle worth every minute. Can't wait to see who you write about tomorrow.


  6. It's true, kind is by far better than "nice"...what a compliment to your mom. Such a sweet post.

    I can't wait 'til Friday and read all the links, the posts are going to be great. Thanks for encouraging us all.

  7. what a great example you have shared.

    now, I, too, want to be like your mother when I grow up.

  8. Let me say that you are a very lucky woman to have 2 mom role models in your life. This was another beautiful post and I love your tribute to inspirting mothers!

  9. Hi! What a lovely post.
    I have been seeing your pic and reading your comments on several of my favorite blogs lately...and I'm not sure why I haven't hopped over here before! Your blog is fabulous. Just what I love to read everyday! I'm following now so I can come back often.
    I'm going to try to write something for your Mothers Day link up. Lots to think about.
    Nice to meet you!
    :) Jen

  10. I think I'm a nice person, but to be a kind person is something harder to achieve. You have to be able to look beyond little details, and just love people. I think its wonderful to say these things about your mother now while she can enjoy and bask in them. (Even if she does hate Mother's Day!) I've really enjoyed these last two posts. They make me a little crazy because there's so much goodness to live up to, but its a worthy goal.

  11. I think your mom is the BOMB!! She always has a smile on her face and she is unfailing in her kindness.

    I see alot of her in you already!!

  12. Your mother is so kind, you can see it just shining from her. Whenever she comes down I think she is what all Grandmas should be! I'm a M-Day Hater, so I thank you for inspiring and reminding what motherhood is about, and why we honor those who hold the sacred name of Mother.

  13. Jen - thanks for visiting! Love this post...and shall accept your "challenge" on Friday!