Sunday, May 8, 2011

52 Blessings – Being a Mother

I went into labor for the first time 28 years ago today.  One of Calvin’s phrases of encouragement to get me through the contractions was, “You can do this, a million other women have done it.”  I didn’t find much solace in that fact, and worried I’d be the one in the million that hadn’t been able to do it.  Little did I know then that the experience of being a mom would be one in a million.  I love being a mother.  I appreciate being a mother.  I love and appreciate those to whom I get to fill a mother's role: 

One thing that I appreciate about Ray is that he is a builder and a repairer.  He builds things like cradles, businesses, and people.  Not only is he good with his hands, but he’s good with his head, and he listens with his heart.  When you’re telling him a story, his eyes follow the emotion of the story – they sparkle when it’s exciting and they mist when it’s sad.  People are better people after they spend time with Ray.  I love Ray.  Every mother would love a Ray.

One thing I appreciate about Cali is her sense of wonder.  She loves to observe and if she finds a never-before-seen insect, or an abnormal growth on a tree, or even just a dead snake she stops and studies it.  One time we saw a really odd bug while we were on a walk.  I wanted to keep moving and pretend it didn’t exist, but she wanted to stop and watch it.  She said, “But we might never see something like this again in our lives.”  Yesterday she went out to find deserted eggs in robin nests and came back 30 minutes later with a handful of little, cold, blue eggs.  Her happy meter had jumped 60%.  I love Cali.  Every mother would love a Cali.

One thing I appreciate about Abe is that he is a reader.  He reads books and he reads people.  He can tell when people need a friend and he offers that friendship.  I love and admire his sensitivity.  Grace told me today that Abe took her out to dinner last night.  It was prom night and they watched several couples at the restaurant.  They noticed one couple that sat alone.  They were awkward with each other, and the situation looked even more awkward.  Abe anonymously paid for their meal and told Grace that the young man looked like he could use a boost.  I love Abe.  Every mother would love an Abe.         

One thing that I appreciate about Grace is how grateful she is.  I’ve often wondered if I could have left everything familiar to me and moved in with my in-laws and whole-heartedly accepted them, their traditions, and their idiosyncrasies for a year while my husband was away . . . and have a baby while I was at it, and be so gracious and grateful.  Any kind act is acknowledged by Grace and she is appreciative of the smallest things, like corn on the cob.  Calvin and I have a thank you card from Grace sitting on our cupboard as I type.  I love Grace.  Every mother would love a Grace.

One thing I appreciate about Ty is his doggedness.  I don’t care if he’s running a marathon with a sprung knee, reading Harry Potter in Chinese, or arguing his point, the kid will. not. quit.  He’s funny when he debates a topic with you, because he won’t drop it (even when you’re right).  And even if something like church, supper, or sleep interrupts the conversation, like McArthur, he will return to it.  That doggedness admirably follows him in every aspect of his life.  I love Ty.  Every mother would love a Ty.     

One thing I appreciate about Michelle is her enthusiasm for life.  She sprinkles her experiences with a lot of laughter and it lightens the hearts of those around her.  I love hearing her retell experiences like from playing basketball, serving a mission, or even getting a scalp treatment at a hair salon (“it’s like your whole head is sucking on a mint”).  Michelle’s enthusiasm boils over into making sure life is good for others, and she does not offend easily.  I love Michelle.  Every mother would love a Michelle. 

One thing I appreciate about Joe is that he is a decisive problem solver.  I’ve seen it in several situations.  Once was while he was cooking eggs with our broken spatula.  When he realized I didn’t have a better one he pulled out his phone and ordered me a new one from Amazon on the spot – the transaction was done before the eggs were.  “It should be here in two days,” he said.  Joe is like that.  He’s astute and then makes a decision on how to proceed.  I love Joe.  Every mother would love a Joe.

One thing I appreciate about Ande is how companionable she is.  She has many talents and interests so she can easily participate in your activities with no loathing (except grocery shopping), or she’ll initiate her own and invite you along.  She has a guttural laugh that adds to any experience.  Calvin will watch chick flick after chick flick with her just to hear her laugh.  It doesn’t matter whether there is conversation or silence, nor does it matter whether she’s ironing, reading, or going out to lunch with you, Ande has a soothing presence.  I love Ande.  Every mother would love an Ande.

One thing I appreciate about Trevor is how loyal he is.  He calls his dad faithfully two or three times a day.  He always checks to see how I’m doing and how all of the kids are doing, too.  He’s a loyal dad to Michelle’s three girls.  Saying that Trevor is loyal like a dog is no insult because he is faithfully loyal to his dogs, too.  Trevor loves family.  I love Trevor.  Every mother would love a Trevor.

One thing I appreciate about Michelle is her personality.  She’s easy to visit with, she’s easy to shop with, she’s easy to cook with, she’s easy to laugh with, and she’s easy to do projects with.  She accepts your warts and, like Ty’s Michelle, does not offend easily.  I love Michelle.  Every mother would love a Michelle.

And one thing I really, really appreciate is . . . being a mother when Calvin is the father.  He is a remarkable co-parent.  

Being a mother is a blessing for which I am eternally grateful.


Deidra said...

Sweet. It makes me feel a little bit better about letting Amelia grow up (like I could stop her even if I tried), just so I can see what amazing traits she exhibits. I'm sure that they're all beyond grateful that you're the mom. Again, sweet.

Ande Payne said...

Oh Mom. I loved reading this. You would write a post about how great your kids are on mother's day, especially when the reason we are so great (because we are pretty great) is because we have a fantastic mother. Thank you. You really are the best mom I could ever even think of. (And I've ALWAYS thought so. Even when I was 12.)

I love you.

melanie said...

What a treasure this post it.

One thing I appreciate about you is the kind of mother you are. I know it's not an easy job yet you face it head on. You learn what you can do to help each child (including your newly aquirred in law children)learn and grow. And because you are in tune, it works. And it works well. I appreciate your friendship, kindness, and nonjudgmental ways. I love Jane.

Cali said...

Hmmmm Mom,

This is a really tough one to comment on because it is making me cry. The best part about your post is that each one of us are those things BECAUSE of you. You bring out the best in people like NO ONE I've ever met.
I love you and I'm not sure I've ever told you this, but I figured out a LONG time ago that if I ever became an actress and needed to do a crying scene, I could really make myself cry by just letting my mind get a whiff of thinking about you dying. Makes me cry EVERY time. (and remember I'm historically the emotionally constipated one in the family)

You are SO SO SO very important to me.
I love you,

michelle said...

What a beautiful post! I was thinking, like Ande, that you would post about your wonderful children for mother's day!

I especially love the way you embrace your children-in-law. I hope I can do that as well as you. Do you have to work at it, or does it come naturally to you?

abe said...


Thanks for the great post. You're a one in a trillion mom (I would say one in a million to go along with your blog post, but that would mean there's 1331 people just like you in China) and definitely a national treasure. We love you.

Grace and Abe

Michelle said...

Jane, you truly have the gift to not only see the good in others, but to be able to pinpoint it and put into words as well. Thanks for the sweet post. You sure made me look good... thanks! ;-) I sure love you and am grateful for you.

Love, Michelle

Deanna/Mimi said...

Oh my dear beautifully you express your feelings. I captured your emotions, your joy, your total dedication to those around you. I understand two of my grandchildren have you for seminary and they love you...I wish all of my grandchildren could be taught by you. You can "mother" them all you want. You are so remarkable. Your children are blessed to have you for their are great.