What do you think about when you go running? Yesterday I ran 9 miles alone. My only friend was my ipod, which is great for the first few miles. Then, I had to call in the big guns, namely, deep thoughts. I started thinking about the class I am taking right now, an entire semester of learning based on this document: http://lds.org/family/proclamation?lang=eng. I have always had an understanding of the importance of the job of Mother, but if it is possible, this document has given me more clarity and affirmation of the importance.
Thinking about my class led me to think about the "mothers" I have been blessed to have as examples and influences in my life. Starting with my own Mom, who would commonly be seen as the only mom out playing softball in the yard with us. She had a very laid back attitude that always put me at ease. She wasn't always a stay at home mom, and I remember getting off the bus from school, hoping she would be there when I got home. Things were just more fun when she was there. The fact that the house was not always meticulously maintained was compensated for by a Grandma who vacuumed and dusted her whole house every day, and probably washed all of the walls and windows on a weekly basis as well. I have distinct memories of her picking up small pieces of lint, dirt, etc. off of the floor, not more than 5 seconds after it appeared there. She loved to be involved with our lives in a deep way. She wanted to see and reward us for good report cards. She came to school and dance events, and invited us over for dinner regularly. We could stop by and walk right in without any notice. This is in contrast to my other Grandma, who had so many grand kids (40+) that she had to try really hard to remember our birthdays. Still, I have pleasant memories of tea parties at her house with my other girl cousins. We each had a favorite fancy tea cup, which she kept prominently displayed in the dining room. She even had sugar cubes and these shiny silver tongs we had to use to pick them up. She taught me how to iron using pillow cases that I'm convinced had already been ironed. She was a very proper and formal lady who once fed me a cow tongue sandwich that she told me was ham.
Later on in life, after I had moved away from my family, I met the girl, who wasn't a mom yet, who tricked me into becoming a runner. After coming in last at every high school track meet, I had labeled myself as a "non runner". At the gym where I had recently started working, a girl named Jill became my friend. One day, she convinced me to go running with her. "Just a short run," she said. Now, at that time, a short run for me was one mile or less. Not so for her. We started out and she told me we could run as slow as I wanted, but we would not walk. Four miles later, we arrived back at the gym, and I felt fine. After that, she convinced me that I could go farther and that was the beginning of my running hobby, and the reason I was running 9 miles in preparation for my 5th half marathon. It's amazing what a little bit of encouragement can do.
These Women remain an example to me today, but I found my thoughts drawn to all of the other amazing mothers who have been placed in my life now. My sister who completely understands my sense of humor and puts up with more rants than she should have to. She is one stage ahead of me in her family and is alerting me to what lies ahead with teenagers. My cousin, Wendy, who has been my best friend since about 6th grade, who I got into trouble with as a teenager, who knew me better than I knew myself, and who now I don't stay in touch with enough. She has been a working mom most of her married life and has been an example of someone who just does what has to be done, and somehow finds a way to keep life fun and exciting for her family. I also have a sister-in-law who fairly late in life made a significant change in her religion and is now raising her family faithfully in the Catholic church. Another sister-in-law who every time I talk to her says, "let me know if there's anything I can do for you," and I know she means it. All are great examples of courage, understanding, and diligence in doing their best as moms.
By the end of my run, I felt abundantly blessed at the people who have shaped who I am and those who continue to be sources of strength and inspiration to me today. I am convinced that being a Mom is the best and most important job on earth, and I am a little intimidated at the prospect of raising 4 daughters who will someday, hopefully be moms themselves. I just hope that wonderful women are placed in their lives to compensate for my weaknesses.
The nine miles flew by, and I arrived at home in great spirits, ready for a day of yard work.