"I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor's children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here, and that I really lived." --Marjorie Pay Hinckley (Small and Simple Things)
I love this quote, and I love this woman. She was the wife of the former President of my church, and boy was she wise. One time, someone asked her in an interview what it was like to be married to the Prophet, and she said, "Well, some days are better than others." So funny.
Today for Mother's Day, I have a few thoughts swirling around in my head, but the one that keeps coming back is that this job is a marathon. It is not a sprint. If we take a slice from any mother's life and try to measure it according to the world's success standards, she would most likely fall short. Well, that is unless she's having a particularly good hair day. I know that each day I do some things right and many things wrong. I try to take stock of my trajectory, just to make sure I'm headed in the right direction--even if I'm taking one step forward and two steps back. I think facing the right direction is half the battle. And you know that sometimes it's a battle.
As stay-at-home-moms, we often don't think we are making a difference in this world, because we don't hold vaulted positions, we're not speaking to large groups of influential people, and we don't get paid well. We hear messages that our job is not nearly as important or worthy of praise, and we get confused and sometimes apologize for what we do. I find myself apologizing for the condition of my house, because kids live here (how dare they!), and for those times when my appearance is a little sub-par. Unfortunately, there are also times when I try to prove my intelligence and achievements by mentioning my degree and using ten-dollar words. I'm not sure why. The smartest woman I know--my mother--only has a high school diploma. Now she would make a great Phone-A-Friend Lifeline on Millionaire!
But have you ever seen a mosaic? Each and every single little tile in and of itself is an imperfectly-shaped and colored piece that belongs to a greater puzzle and design. When viewed from afar, mosaics are absolute masterpieces. Motherhood is like that. Folding laundry? One piece. Kissing a boo-boo? Another piece. Remaining calm in the face of a bouncy ball war? Yet another.
All I know is that my mosaic is not finished. I also know that where my pieces are lacking, if I am doing my absolute best, God will fill in the rest. I'm banking on that, because I have a LOT of missing pieces. When I think of my career choice in this way, I realize that every small act I do is part of a much greater whole, and some days are better than others. My sphere of influence is rather small, but very profound. Yours is, too, and I hope you don't forget it. After all, by small and simple means, great things come to pass. (Alma 37:6)
One last quote for you on this Mother's Day from another great man.
"Parents must bring light and truth into their homes by one family prayer, one scripture study session, one family home evening, one book read aloud, one song, and one family meal at a time. They know that the influence of righteous, conscientious, persistent, daily parenting is among the most powerful and sustaining forces for good in the world. The health of any society, the happiness of its people, their prosperity, and their peace all find common roots in the teaching of children in the home." --L. Tom Perry (read the whole talk here.)