Happy Mother's Day to all the moms, future moms, and women who have influenced someone else (yes, that counts). This marks the first year my husband gave me something for Mother's Day: white roses and "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" the movie, because, let's be honest, he's been rereading all the Harry Potter novels and he's a bit obsessed at the moment. But I appreciate the gift, all the same, I love the movie too.
I remember last year Mother's Day was very different. I had lost my child months prior, had been trying desperately to get pregnant again, to no success, and was absolutely devastated that I wasn't a mother. In my younger years, I was the type of girl who dreamed of being a mother, of taking care of my children. I was not the type of girl who dreamed of who I would marry. I wanted a family, I wasn't desperately looking for a man. I knew, even at a young age, that the man I marry would have to be a good father, and would want a family as much as I do.
Good thing the Lord led me to my soulmate, who hit all my qualifications and more.
I've now been married to my soulmate for four years. Which, when you believe that you are sealed together for eternity, doesn't seem like very long, but at the same time, it's a fairly long time in our current society. Chris is my best friend, and over the past four years, our marriage and friendship have continued to grow. I'm a huge fan of that Brad Paisley song, "Then", which states "And I thought I loved you then." The day I got married, four years ago, I didn't think it was possible to love Chris more, but I find my love for him grows stronger every day.
And now, here we are, months away from becoming a couple with a dog to a family of four. Having twins was completely unexpected, yet at the same time, when I heard the news, it just felt right. I am always amazed at the path my Father in Heaven has set for me. I lost a child and was heartbroken over it. And while nothing can replace that child, I now get two at once to help make up for lost time with my first. They say a woman becomes a mother when she gets pregnant, well I first got pregnant in July of 2015, so I am ready to be a mother.
And I know that having twins will be a struggle. Money has always been an issue as I am still struggling to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life. Being pregnant with twins is already making me miserable, and I'm not even halfway through my pregnancy. Caring for two kids, no, two babies can't be the easiest feat when I've never had a child of my own before. Yet I have been filled with so much peace and confidence, that I barely even worry.
I know the reason I am so confident to become a mother, is because of the many women who have been mothers to me in my life and their influence on me.
Growing up LDS, I had my ward family. I had primary and young women's leaders who were like second mothers to me. And they still are. There is a whole group of women in my parent's neighborhood who love and support me. When I moved back into my parent's home last September, I began to realize how much I love these women, how much they love me, and how much they support and influence my life. They have always encouraged me to do my best, to be my best self, and to live my dreams. These women supported me and showered me with gifts as I was getting married four years ago. They were excited when I first got pregnant and showed me all the love and heartbreak of a true friend when I miscarried. And now, as I am expecting my twins, they want to again shower me with gifts and love because they are the secondary mothers that helped raise me.
I love these women and the way they have shaped me into who I am. Just this last week I watched as many of them first learned about my twins. One even cried, coming up to me, and told me how grateful she was for God's hand in my life. These women want the best for me, even after years of living away from them. They are my other mothers and I love them and am truly grateful for them.
I grew up in the dance world. And while "Dance Moms" may get a bad rap on TV, there were many dance moms and teachers who helped me through my life. I believe that as a child, I had a hard time recognizing my depression because dance made me so happy. And through the dance community, I had a group of women, and fellow dancers, who helped me when I needed them. Particularly in college, when I was away from home, my dance coaches were like my other parents. They cared about me and pushed me to be my best. When they came to my wedding I was both shocked and thrilled. These were people who helped me through my first few years of college. They were my other parents, my college mother, and I have so much love and appreciation for them.
Despite my hatred of high school, I have a particular love for the women who were my English teachers. I want to be a writer, and it's not an easy path. But I had so many wonderful teachers who believed in me and my writing. They supported me and my future career. They taught me the foundation that could lead me to success. I never believe I thanked them enough, and when I got to college and realized my professors weren't nearly as supportive as my high school teachers, my love for those few teachers grew even more. These were all women who had thousands of students passing through their classrooms, but they took time, even just a little bit, to tell me that I could succeed, that I had potential, and that, if I continued to learn, I could achieve my dreams.
Throughout my life, I've had two extra mothers, my Nana and my Grandma. Both of these women raised their children with such love and respect, believing in their children and supporting them through it all. As their granddaughter, I've gotten a lot of this same love and support. As a child, I remember the excitement of exploring my Nana's backyard and the fun when had doing crafts together. My Nana taught me to find the beauty in little things, as we turned pinecones into a work of art. Four years ago my Grandma moved to Utah to be closer to my mom and aunt. Over the past few years, my relationship with my Grandma has continued to grow. Her excitement for the small accomplishments I achieve make me feel proud of myself. She believes in me, as does my Nana. Both my grandmothers, while not being my real mothers, are extra mothers to me. They show me all the love and support of my real mother and I've had a lifetime of their motherly love, and could not be more grateful for them.
Four years ago I gained a new family, a family that was so easy to love as much as my own. In my marriage, I gained another mother. My mother-in-law is an incredible mother. The love that she has for each of her boys has been an incredible thing for me to watch and to learn from. And that I get the spoils of that motherly love as well, blesses my life and my marriage immensely. This is a woman who believes in God through everything and asks for his help through even the smallest of things. She influences me to trust in God more, even when I am at my worst. When I lost my child, she lost a grandchild, and she shared in my heartbreak. She gave me a beautiful painting of Jesus holding a child, and while the artist didn't paint it for me, I see that painting and know that my lost child is with Jesus, that they are protected and loved.
I love the man that I married and I know that he is the person he is today because of his parents, because of his mother. I am so grateful to my mother-in-law for the man that she raised. I am treated like a queen on a daily basis. Chris didn't have any sisters, all he knew about relationships with women was built in his relationship with his mom, and I am continually amazed at the person that she has shaped him to be. I love my official second mother and the support and love that she gives me and my husband. She cares for me just as much as she does her own children and I love her with all of my heart.
It is impossible for me to love another woman the way I do my own mom, though.
My mom has helped saved my life. In high school, when I was suicidal, my mother found my diary and learned of the pain I was going through. She wrote me a letter, a letter I still have to this day, that changed my perspective. My mom is my greatest hero. I've watched her go through trials and come out on top. She is such a hard worker and has done so much for her children. She loves each of her children and wants them to be their best. She believes in us and wants us to be happy, but has helped let us know that happiness cannot always come easily.
My siblings and I were raised in the church, and while I myself have had my struggles staying in the church, as I am finding my way back, I realize what a blessing it was to grow up in. I would not have had my ward mothers without the church, I would not have been the person that I am, and being doing the things I'm doing with the church, and, most important, I would not be with my soulmate without the church. I cannot thank my mother enough for raising us as Latter-Day Saints. I would not be who I am without it, I would not have survived my depression, my miscarriage, without it. And while being a member of the LDS church has never been easy for me, I know that it's the right path for me, and my mother helped keep me on that path. I could not image raising my children without the gospel. As my twins are on their way, I'm putting more focus on the church because my children need it as much as I did, and I'm grateful for my mom for teaching me that.
My mother is already spoiling my twins and I'm so happy that I'll be the first to make her a grandmother. I'm also grateful for the way she raised her own children to be best friends. My sister and brother are my best friends, and I hope and pray that I can be like my mother and create strong friendships between my own children. I want to be a mom like my own mother. I want my children to have the same love and support that my mother always gave me. I want to be able to teach my children about life the way that my mom did. I want to be the same mother to my children as my mother was to me. For me, there is no greater mother to influence me.
As I am on my path to becoming a mother to two children, I am influenced by the many mothers in my life; ward members, neighbors, dance coaches, teachers, friend's mothers, grandmothers, in-laws, and my own mother. These are all women who made me who I am. These are all my mothers and I wish each of them a happy Mother's Day, and hope they know how much I love them all and how I am striving every day to take the lessons they taught me, to become a wonderful mother for my own children.
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!