As is appropriate, today's post is dedicated to my own mother, Cheryl Handley Burwell.
My mother is astonishing. I believe it is impossible for me to help you understand exactly how astonishing she is.
My Mother is one of the most close to perfect persons I have ever met. No, she does not drive a fancy car, wear trendy clothes, eat brunch with a soiree of girlfriends, go on much needed vacations, or even catch up on classical books. My mother has dedicated her life to her children, family, religion, and the service of others.
She is the most talented person I know. She can make the most delicious meal out of almost nothing, can an entire orchard of apples in less than two weeks, sew Halloween costumes, play Beethoven and Mozart, teach you everything you need to know about home storage and family preparedness, parallel park like a pro, get her visiting teaching done the first of the month, visit the sick and otherwise afflicted members of her church and community any hour of the day or night, and countless others.
She is also one of the most down-to-earth persons I have ever known. She's mature. She doesn't sit with her friends in a circle and talk about people. In fact, she actually redirects the topic when it ever happens. She is realistic. She made me realize that if I didn't have the nicest things in the world that I would not only be OK, but better off in the end. I think I've been corrupted by the "Mormon trend" to compete for nice things. She brings me back to earth and every visit with her makes me realize what's most important in life.
She dedicates her life to us. I remember one time I was at school, single, and completely broke. I had $20 in my bank account for food that month. Is was the end of the semester and the school informed me I had a tuition fee of $20 I still had to pay or else I couldn't take my finals. I panicked. How would I have money for food that month? I didn't want to ask my mom for money because she would send me money here-and-there throughout the semester and I knew she had a mountain of other things to pay for with a modest (to say the least) income. Mom caught wind and sent me the money I needed.
A small gesture, but I came to the realization that I could ask my mom for anything and she would sacrifice almost anything to provide for it.
I love my Mom. One day I was sitting in a school common area studying. I looked up and a woman's back was to me. Her hair was the exact shade and style of my Mom's and she even had the same body shape. I just sat there staring at her back, imploring in my head for her to not turn around. "Don't you dare turn around, because right now you look just like my Mom, and I miss my Mom." That day a sore ache grew in my heart to be taught and held by my Mom. Sometimes I lean so much on my husband (which I should), that I forget what other support systems I have.
Without Mom, I would not be as successful as I am. She taught me how to pray, read my scriptures, serve and love unconditionally, and not to judge people. She is so grounded and puts the philosophy's of the world to shame by her simple, yet extraordinary life. I am forever grateful for the Mother I was given to shape me into the woman I am today. She was there to tell me I was stupid for dating a boy, but that it was my decision, she taught me that brand new furniture was just as good as used, she taught me a love for the Savior and how every righteous blessing I desire can be mine through obedience and faith to ask.
My Mom is always there for me. When I was in the third grade I suffered from severe panic attacks. These attacks then caused me to become agoraphobic, where I was terrified to go out in public places, more specifically, Elementary school. This was not because I was afraid of crowds, but because I was afraid the panic attacks would come at school and I would have no one there to be with me. My Mom was everything to me that year. She was my comfort and peace during a time that I didn't understand. If I had the choice I would have been home schooled because I knew that as a long as Mom was with me that nothing bad could happen. But, as she knew I needed to go to school and learn through experiences with others, she sent me off that next year with a pennant on my backpack that simply said, "Do Not Fear", the title of my then favorite picture of Christ helping little children as they climbed out from danger.
My Mom supported me. She went to all of my home sports games, all my chorus and band concerts, all of my church affairs, and countless other places. She was always there. She through the BEST parties EVER and to this day people still rave about how much fun and great the food was at those parties. So of course, she through one of the most beautiful wedding receptions our church ward has ever had.
I cannot begin to express my gratitude for my Mom. Although I was a boy crazy, materialistic, ridiculous social-butterfly in my adolescent years, she was patient, loving, understanding, and non-judgmental. I knew I could never do anything against the standards I had been raised to follow because not only would I hurt myself, but I would most definitely hurt Mom. Her example of virtuous, self-less, and truthful living is what gave me the desire to live that way, and I can now emulate that same example to my children.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom.
And p.s. I'm selling my clothes so I can come visit you this Summer.