I keep thinking about what kind of mother I will be. I have images in my head of good and bad moments. Of joys and regrets.
As I approach the reality of a child I have become more and more aware of my weaknesses as a caregiver. I lack motivation to clean, I sleep in, I am impatient, I get grumpy and snap, I lack understanding, I often think children understand more than they do, the list goes on and on.
I know that these feelings are completely normal. But still I keep imagining my child going off to college and meeting new roomates and their new friends asking, “what is your family like?”
I want good things to be said. I want my child to get a great big smile and think about all the wonderful memories he/she had with their mother. Eating popsicles on warm summer days, coming home from school to find a new book on the bed, hiking through shaded forests and through cold streams to a natural waterslide found only because we dared go further, laughing over lasagna, lessons about the world during carpool.
These are the memories of my mother. I feel blessed that I have so many positive references to look back on. I have a wealth of experiences that I can draw from and give to my own children.
But I want to teach my kids some other things that I now know. I want to teach them about faith. I want to teach them about the beauty of the atonement. I want to teach them about love, compassion, and understanding (even though I sorely lack). I want to teach them that through diligence and hard work they can achieve greatness. I want them to have memories of lullabyes and bedtime stories. I want them to remember reading the scriptures with their mother and being asked, “what do you think about that?”
I want to teach them to think. I want to teach them to learn. I want to teach them to follow and to lead.
My heart, mind, and spirit swell with the enormous challenge ahead of me. Currently my life is mostly my own. There is a song on the Christian radio station that I have loved recently. It is about getting married and I think the lyrics fit really nicely into how I ultimately feel about family.
But to lose your life for another I’ve heard
Is a good place to begin
’cause the only way to find your life
is to lay your own life down
and I believe it’s an easy price
for the life that we have found
Poignant right? Each time I hear it I think, that is sooooo true. The Savior taught us that. He set an example by sacrificing His own life for our good. Sometimes I hear, “but we aren’t required to do what He did,” not in the huge magnificent way, no. But we are asked to sacrifice our lives for OUR individual families (He did it for the entire family of the world) and even for those who become like family.
I want so badly not to be a selfish mother. I think there is nothing more destructive. Of course we all have selfish desires, but ultimately I pray that my strengths will outweigh that weakness.
My thoughts could go on and on and on and pretty much I would say the same thing over and over again. My writing is like that.
So when I think about the title question I hope to answer, “I am a colorful mother. I show my children the reds, blues, yellows, pinks, whites, and blacks of life. I show them I am not perfect, that I have dark bad days. But mostly I try to fill them with sunshine. I want them to leave my home bursting with light and sharing with everyone around them. I am an explainer. I am a teacher. I am a real mother, with optimistic visions.”