Even though Mother's Day was a few days ago, I really wanted to make a post about it anyway for a few different reasons. I wanted to talk about what Mother's Day is like in Taiwan and I wanted to talk about my own mom as well as some other "mothers" of mine.
So, to begin with, I was surprised to find that Mother's Day is actually celebrated quite a bit in Taiwan! I assumed it would not be, seeing as how it isn't the most highly celebrated holiday in America and seeing as how most American holidays are only minorly (new word) celebrated, if at all. Instead, I would say Mother's Day may have even been more celebrated in Taiwan than it is in America! All my kids at school knew what it was, I saw it mentioned in ads, the women were given both pin on fake flowers and real bouquets of carnations at church, the men sang a special Mother's Day song to all the women at church, and (my favorite) people dressed up nicely and handed out carnations to women who they didn't even know who were driving by on their scooters. Also, do you even know the story behind Mother's Day? I sure didn't, nor has any other American I've asked in the past few days, but the Taiwanese sure do! You can check it out here. So, basically, I think what I'm trying to say is that I feel like the Taiwanese have really stepped it up on this holiday in some very good ways. Go Taiwan!
Onto the mothers, but most importantly, my one and only real mom. I would like to pay a tribute (however inadequate) to the woman who gave birth to me and has put up with me ever since. As with many people, my mother and I didn't have the best relationship while I was a teenager...and maybe a little before and a little after. However, even though I won't say my mom was/is perfect (something she shares with everyone), I will say that now that I am older I can clearly see how immense of an effort she put into raising us. My goodness, I don't know that she had any "easy" kids. I may have been the hardest one (then again...Arron?).
Some things I would like to praise her for and do for my own children someday (no I am not pregnant):
- Read to them, a LOT
- Take them to the library, a LOT
- Come up with a summer activity/reward system where the kid gets some kind of prize for completing little tasks (like a certain amount of sit-ups or weeding or learning geography)
- Being a solid church member: going to church every sunday, doing FHE and family prayer and family scripture study, magnifying callings
- Service : My mom always had food in the car for homeless people, took me with her on "Meals on Wheels" trips to people who were unable to leave their house to get food for themselves, always made goodies for people at Christmastime, loves to give our leftover fruits and veggies to people, etc. etc.
- Setting a good financial example: My parents are both very frugal and aware of their finances. They have a ROCKIN credit score.
- Teaching us to think for ourselves and not doing everything for us. I am a big fan of this type of parenting. It should, of course, be done lovingly, but I think it's great to put faith in your kids and get them to do things for themselves even if they don't believe they can.
Well, there's plenty more, but this post is ALREADY long and I still have several more people to pay tribute to!
Sadly, I don't have very many good pictures of us with me right now, so instead I'll compliment this one with some of her with my adorable niece and nephew!
The picture above introduces mommy #2 : Tom's mom! Poor mother-in-laws are constantly being the butt of jokes and I suppose some of them deserve it. Somehow, though, I ended up with the opposite kind of mother-in-law. Tom's mom doesn't have a mean bone in her body and she has been the very picture of welcoming from the very beginning. She has ALWAYS made me feel like I am a welcome addition to the family and, as far as I can tell, likes me much more than she really should! It's always good to have at least a few people in your life who give you more credit than you really deserve. She is one of those people for me. Hooray for Betty Ann!
Mommy #3 is my Grandma Linnell This is my mom's mom. She is a fabulous grandma and has always been there to support her grandkids in any way. My favorite is that without fail, every year, she sends each of her grandkids a Valentine's Day card with a stick of gum in it (usually strawberry). She added another stick for Tom this year. She was born on a farm, in Kansas, during the depression, and had to move to California because of the Great Dust Bowl (think "Grapes of Wrath"). As a result, she is no wimp. She'll smash spiders with her bare hands and eat ANYTHING. She does NOT waste and works HARD. She rocks. Oh, and despite all of her hard-core qualities, manages to be the cutest grandma on the block.
Mommy #4 is my dad's mom, Grandma Money. Just to be clear, she is only number four because this is a Mother's day post and to my overly analytical brain MOM'S mom should logically come before DAD'S mom. I don't pick grandma favorites. My grandma Money, like my Grandma Gorg, is a VERY proud grandma. She thinks the world of them and would do anything for them. I remember Emily and I having a sleepover at her house when we were kids and boy were we ever spoiled! Another great thing about her is that she has the most spectacular skin of any grandma around. I know this sounds like a relatively unimportant thing to be praising, but seriously, her skin is that nice. She is quite the looker and, as I understand, she and a few of her friends were the first BYU cheerleaders...I think. She's a great grandma!
Also, I really had a hard time finding photos of her, so sorry!
Speaking of great grandmas, #5 is my...great grandma!!! I mean, my Grandma Money's mom! Unfortunately, she won't be seeing this post because she passed away just a couple of weeks ago. She would have been 100 in August! Nana was an AMAZING woman. I don't know if I ever met anyone in my life who was more of a ball of sunshine. Anytime you looked at her she was just smiling ear to ear. And, I don't know how to say this, but she had the...kindest....hands. I know it sounds strange, but anytime you were near here she'd just take her sweet hands and clasp them over yours. Then she'd hold on with one hand and pat your hands with the other. It was just this very sweet thing. You can actually see her doing it in the photo below. Also, not only did she manage to live a very long life, but she had a steel-trap memory until the end and was still on a bowling and league into her 90's! Yeah, Nana was one impressive lady!!!
The photo below is from the wedding of my cousin Scott (pictured).
Finally, we have mothers #6 & #7. These last two are the only ones who I am not technically related to. Although, we really might as well be. Introducing Sister Valdez and Sister Lapuz. I first came to know these two lovely ladies through dating their son/grandson. While I still have a high opinion of him, we obviously weren't meant to be. However, I am ever so grateful that somehow his family and I managed to stay good friends all this time. Strange relationship, I know. Not only did I date their son and not marry him, but no one else in the family is my age and I've been in another state/country through the vast majority of the time we've known each other. So, how are we still good enough friends for them to make in onto this list? Simple - we are good for each other. Or at least they are good for me. They other examples of the type of people who give you more credit than you deserve. They have always been hugely loving and supportive. They have treated me like family and like someone special. I haven't deserved it, but I'm beyond grateful for it. Every time I have come home for a visit I have been anxious to make it over to their house for a visit as well. As soon as I walk in the doors I feel as if all of my cares have disappeared and I am content. I cannot fathom what they get out of our relationship, but I feel incredibly blessed by it. I have undying affection for these two ladies (and, of course, the rest of their family) and hope we stay friends always!