Hey friends, how has your day been going? Mine has been full of babysitting: cleaning up messes, an afternoon walk to the park, jumping on the trampoline, reading books at the Draper City Library, buying milk at the grocery store, cleaning up more messes, cooking dinner, giving baths, aaaand rinse and repeat. It’s nice to sit down and write for a minute. So, lets get to it.
A fun fact about me: my patriarchal blessing states (and this is not verbatim): I will have “special experiences that will guide me to choosing a career that will bless the lives of my family, myself, and others who are seeking to become closer to God.” As I started college in 2011, I had specific plans to obtain a career in dental hygiene with no thought about that special promise from God. Nothing was going to stop me (except for human biology & anatomy, maybe) so I ran as fast as I could carrying these plans with me. I had always enjoyed writing and reading in high school but not once did it cross my mind for them to become my profession — until my English professor from my first semester at Utah State University pulled me out of class while she handed back our graded essays, essays about what we believe in. She placed her soft hand firmly on my shoulder. “Marlee, this essay is phenomenal! I think you need to get this published.” Professor Jordan was my answer to the silent uncertainty I had about majoring in public health; it was not right for me. English was. This was my “special experience” that I was promised. I prayed about it and read my patriarchal blessing over and over and over again. The next week, I met with my counselor and declared my major in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing.
Throughout college, many of my writing projects proved to be a challenge, and often I have doubted my words and my abilities, especially now as I’m starting a career, but I’ve held my faith in Heavenly Father that he is supporting me and sustaining me in His plan for me. He has kindly reprimanded me and encouraged me to believe what has been promised. Someone else who has provided the same upliftment is my mother. My cute, sweet, gentle, adorable mother. As some of you may know, I am the youngest of three kids and the only girl. I hold my pride for surviving into adulthood with a house full of male testosterone (it’s all sugar and spice and everything…sport) but I also hold my pride to the fact that my mother only has one daughter: me. Growing up without sisters, I haven’t had to share her, her clothes, or her womanly wisdom but I can tell you she has valued her sacred role because she has given me responsibility, respect, and healthy boundaries. She has modeled not only the role of a mother, but that of a responsible adult, and at the same time she has fortified my self-esteem by one simple thing: our mother-daughter morning walks. Just like her, I can depend on our morning walks as a time of trust, communication, love, and listening. Here’s an example:
Recently, a friend informed me of a job opportunity that would greatly allow me to put my hard-earned English degree to use. So, I applied. After the first initial interview, they passed me onto the next portion of the application (little did I know there would be four!). The job itself would consist of teaching English to children in China in the extreme early hours of the morning (we’re talking 3 a.m. until 7 a.m., people), and incredible satisfaction knowing I’m making a small difference in a child’s life. However, throughout the strenuous interviewing process, I kept feeling unsettled and uncomfortable. I felt at first it was just nerves to be starting a new “grown up” job but after confiding in Aaron and the Lord, I was finally honest with myself. I didn’t want the job because I didn’t want to give up my morning walks with my mom (or exercise at all for that matter). How selfish can I be, right?! Aaron and I decided it would be best for me to forgo this opportunity, but to be honest, I felt like a terrible wife for that. Why? Because I was turning down the chance for us to earn a greater income and I felt I was leaving that burden all on Aaron’s shoulders. Let me be clear, though: it was not Aaron who made me feel this way. Not one tiny bit. I’m blessed to have a husband who encourages my relationship with my mom. He knows it makes me happy so he wasn’t willing to let me give it up. Still conflicted, however, I confided in my mom. And yes, you guessed it right: it was during our morning walk. She reassured me. She listened. She loved and she trusted. She reassured that I wasn’t a bad wife for turning down a job but rather I was a good wife for putting God first and following through with my writing career. She listened to my concerns that I want to use my mornings for exercise so I can maintain a healthy body to bring Heavenly Father’s children into mortality (and hopefully remain attractive to my husband 😉 ). Lastly, she trusted that Aaron and I are in tune with the spirit. We’re doing what we feel is best for us, our family, and our careers.
What I’m saying here is: all of us form hundreds of friendships and share our stories and life events with countless people but let us share those stories and life events with our mothers as well. Let us recognize the closeness that comes with a mother-daughter (and mother-son) bond and the many ways we can be a part of each other’s worlds. They, our mothers and our Father in Heaven, know what’s best for us as we are their children and we should love them just as they love us.
PS: Thank you, Mom, for encouraging my writing and for being my morning walking buddy. I’m truly happy because of you and I cherish these moments more than you’ll ever know.