Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sit down, it's a long haul

I had forgotten how much children know.

It’s been a while since I’ve really been surrounded by little kids. Of course, I have a million nieces and nephews that I get to hang out with all the time, but I definitely haven’t had the interaction that I used to. I did other stuff, like live on my own, get married, and spend a lot more time with the older youth, the teenagers. Being an EFY Counselor was tons of fun, and, since then, my callings have been with the youth.

When thought upon, this fact is a little strange to me, because growing up in my house at the time I did, I didn’t really learn much about interacting with teenagers. Even as a teenager. I was the utmost of awkward. And still am. Very non-teenagery.

A couple of Sundays ago they called me into the Primary. the secretary. Where did that come from? It was a big surprise to me. I’m really going to miss my girls and the fun that was to be had this coming year. Actually I was pretty sad about it at first, and super intimidated by the greatness of the person I was taking over for, but after some time mapping out the database I’m creating, and after my first Sunday in the calling, I’m freakin’ excited. freakin’.

And, I realize again how much I love hanging out with kids, and how crazy much they know. They are smart little boogers. I will have to make sure that I don’t underestimate them.

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Mike and I visited my Aunt and Uncle and family up in Idaho for Thanksgiving. This family is really the only connection with my mom’s (biological mother) side of the family that I’ve ever known. They are the awesome.

In her simple goodbye at the end of the trip my aunt gave me something huge to consume my mind. For all of growing-upness, I have always been told how much I look like my mom. This always makes me very happy and prideful.

This is not a picture of me and my sister from some years back. Nor even my sister and other sister from some couple more years back. It is a picture of my mom and her sister from some many more years back. Cool, huh? So, as I said, people that knew my mom are sure to tell me of how I look so much or just like her. It is a common statement that I have heard from my aunt growing up. But this year she said something a little different. She told me not only of how I look like my mother, but also of how I am so much like her in character. We both always get teary at these goodbye moments, but this came at me with special force, and it was what was on my mind for the greater part of the twenty-six hour drive home.

I am like my mother? A new thought. I was reeling. I wondered how I could be so much like someone that I’ve never actually known.

To me, my mom has always been something of a saint. I have been given this impression by reading through her journal, the talks at her funeral, and through people’s personal stories and impressions, told both in writing and verbally. Everything is amazing, everything is kind, everything is adorable, everything is beautiful. Something I’ve come to understand is that all these things aren’t just said nice and prettily because she’s dead, but because there is nothing else that honestly comes to mind to say of her. In her journal she is always striving, always humble.

And now you are told that you are like this person. Does that not bring tears of incredulity? I will not own up to such a charge, though I thrill thinking of it, but will now talk of a couple of things I have learned from pondering this.

FACTS: I am related to my mom. There are some things that she has passed down to me that naturally reside in me, and some of these things are more than physical manifestations. I have learned things about her from reading about her, reading her own words, and from talking to people that knew and were close to her. I have always striven to harness the same traits I know her to have. There have been times when I have felt my mother’s love or approval or protection, or when I have applied to her personally.

TRUTHS: We are related to our Heavenly Father. Just as we inherit qualities from our parents, there is an inherited divinity in each of us. We can come to learn of and develop this divinity from research. We have the scriptures, we have apostles and prophets, we have leaders and family members. All of these may tell of experience and testimony. But beyond that, we can also come to be like our Heavenly Father through developing our own relationship with Him. He is not physically present here, but the relationship we can find with our Father will be far more personal and deep than those we have known with those with whom we interact daily.


Kyle and Katie Willman said...

Wow. You do look just like your mother. Especially in the first picture... it looks just like a really old picture of YOU... wow. I guess my mom knew your mother back when my family was in Thunderbird ward with your family (and we were in nursery together!)... and she has never had anything but wonderful things to say about her. I remember my mom always saying what an AMAZING mother she was. I have no doubt that you are like her... you have always been one of the nicest and most good person I've ever known!

Seneca said...

Thank you for writing such a beautiful post Shirley. And thanks alot for making me tear up at school! Dang it. I really like your thought process. :D

Malita Bingham said...

I don't remember much about your mom but I do remember her giving us burritos to cook in the microwave for lunch! I also remember how much I wanted to go to the funeral but I had to stay home and go to school. Love you and am so glad that you came up for Thanksgiving this year! I hope you can come up more. It was a lot fo fun!

Natalie and Trent said...

Beautiful post Shirley. I don't know the story about how you lost your mom but I do know that if you are like her then she must have been a really amazing person. You are incredible and so strong in so many ways. I love reading your blog!
Congrats on the calling in primary. I teach the Valiant 10-11 girls. Its quite the excitement. They ask so many questions that I swear I never could have thought of when I was their age. Its crazy. When did kids get so darn smart?
Thanks for all the comments on my posts! You are so sweet.

heidi said...

I think that is the best blog entry I've read in a long, long time!!! You really do look like your mama - you are so gorgeous - now we know where you got it from!