When I was thirteen, I had a first of many embarrassing moments at school. My Mom is the person who taught me to laugh at myself. Sounds simple, but what a magical solution it turned out to be in so many instances. Because of our willingness to laugh at ourselves, Mom and I have never been without a good laugh.
When I was fifteen, Mom showed me her poetry collection from when she was young. She had written or typed every poem she could find, most about love, illustrated them with the most perfect pictures, cut from magazines, and saved them in a binder. I was completely enamored. I was never the same. I started walking to the library to scour books and magazines. I started adding to the collection. I started writing.
As a sixteen year old, terrible at small talk and awkward at dating conversation, Mom taught me the best secret for being a good date. Be interested in the other person and ask them questions about themselves. Use it girls- it’s gold.
At seventeen I decided to be in a local scholarship pageant. Mom and Dad weren’t sure how they felt about the idea of their daughter being judged. I didn’t realize my commitment meant a huge commitment from my Mom as well. We were both way out of our comfort zones. She started researching. She got me ready. She even found out about the glue you spray on your backside to keep your swimsuit from riding up. Then she gave me Benadryl and nursed me through my drowsiness when I had an allergic reaction to the glue. :)
I won the first two pageants, and in doing so, got us committed to do the Miss Utah State Fair and the Miss Utah Pageant. Armed with names and addresses of obscure dress and swimsuit sales people we, two small town girls, went traipsing around the jam packed streets of Salt Lake City to get me ready. Wouldn’t you know it, someone rear ended us at a red light.
I still have the poems and cards she had sent backstage, telling me that win or lose- my family knows how beautiful I really am.
My Aunt Ruth (Dad's side), me, Mom after one of the nights of the Miss Utah Pageant.
Mom’s broom was useful for much more than sweeping the kitchen floor. As siblings we got along really well, and have always been close. At times though, my brothers (who are twins) would get competitive and wrestle their way through the house. Mom would wedge the broomstick between them to break them up.
One night Mom heard a noise in the driveway. She didn’t realize it was Ryan and I pulling in after a date. Our long goodnight kiss was interrupted by the broom handle tapping on the, admittedly, foggy window. Hee hee, *blush*. It was a year into Ryan and I’s marriage before this story became funny.
The post could go on forever, because these aren’t even the most important lessons. She gave me prayer. Faith. Testimony. Sense of self and true worth.
We’re going through the biggest challenge of our lives so far, as Mom mourns for my Dad. Good news is, this family has always had each other… and we ALWAYS will.