Saturday, May 8, 2010

Thoughts on Motherhood

Mother's Day is always a bittersweet day for me, for several reasons. On one hand, I am so grateful for all of the examples out there of wonderful, nurturing women who are doing their best to raise well-rounded children, and I look forward to joining them one day in the responsibilities and joys of being a mother. On the other hand, I am aware of all of the people who might be mourning on this day, whether because of loss or abandonment or any number of reasons.

Since this is primarily a family history blog, I will draw up on my own family history for some examples. There are mothers like Annie Magruder Demps, my great-grandmother, who worked so hard as a laundress, servant, and farm worker for years to help her husband make ends meet. Or the mother of John Estill, who kept her family together during and after slavery, such that her three sons stood by each other throughout their entire lives. There are mothers like Fannie Player Estell, who raised seven of her own children - as well as several who were not her own - with love and compassion. Or like Josie Estell Booker, who spent most of her young life bearing and raising children, only to die in childbirth when her oldest daughter, Nellie, was just turning 16. But there are also mothers like Frieda Rohrs Mast, who committed her husband to a mental institution and then abandoned her children.

David O. McKay said, “Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life. The mother's image is the first that stamps itself on the unwritten page of the young child's mind. It is her caress that first awakens a sense of security; her kiss, the first realization of affection; her sympathy and tenderness, the first assurance that there is love in the world.” I believe this wholeheartedly. Mothers have so much more influence than they realize and that influence can either completely destroy a person, or heal and soothe the

deepest possible wounds.

Today, I want to honor the mothers who heal and nurture, protect and provide, love and listen to their children. And to those out there who are mourning today for whatever reason, my heart and thoughts are with you.

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