By Alison Satterwhite
I’m grateful to have a mother such as mine. She has virtually nine lives with all the challenges she has faced, yet she is always upbeat and easy to be around. When she is nearly dying-and she has come to that point on more than one occasion-you rarely hear a complaint from her. She accepts it as part of life. I’ll never forget the day of her kidney transplant and how she answered the phone to talk almost as if nothing had even happened. She endured several years of hell with me as a teenager and still has turned out to be my biggest cheerleader and supporter.
My mother has more friends than anybody I know, although secretly, she likes to be alone and her best friend is her cat. Her home is literally a hotel–open to all–whether it’s convenient or not. I’ve never known a time when company wasn’t there. People feel like they can really “let their hair down” around her. If you know my mom on any level, you will know that she has her own vocabulary of “Margaret-isms”. Most of my parroting comes from phrases coined by her–and they are entertaining.
My mom is proud to be a Canadian. She grew up a poor farm girl with six siblings on the prairies of Alberta. She cried when her dad brought her oranges after an operation as a small child because she knew he couldn’t afford them. She owned one dress to speak of and wore shoes that were too small. My mother understands the value of the dollar.
My mom comes from a pioneer heritage. Her ancestors crossed the plains after arriving in New York to find religious freedom and in that process of sacrifice and suffering developed the strength of character that moulds generations. She knows and understands hardship, endurance, and faith. It is part of her family legacy.
Even though my mom wasn’t super spiritual, she had faith and a stern moral compass. We always attended church and we knew right from wrong without a doubt. Most importantly, I gained a knowledge of the Savior through her faithful efforts. She relied on prayer to get her through many difficult circumstances.
My mom saw our talents and worked diligently to develop them. She always said, “you will play the piano until you’re 18 or I die”. She didn’t die–and now aside from the gospel, it is the single best gift in my life. She endured many years of taxiing me to cello, voice, piano and flute lessons and used up her resources to accomplish it. My wise mother didn’t seek after riches or the vain things of the world or spoil us with useless things. Instead, she enriched our lives with treasures of memories and knowledge.
My mom loves smart and witty people. In her own words, “I don’t suffer fools gladly”. She would rather discuss her latest read than the latest trend any day. Most of our family time, past and present, involves sitting around the family room talking, discussing, laughing–bonding.
My mom is lucky in a lot of ways. She has freedom and financial flexibility and I believe this is her gift to others. She willfully subjects herself to spending time with each member of her family and uses her resources freely to do this. “This is your inheritance”, she says. She IS my inheritance. I love my mom. She didn’t give birth to me, but she is my mother no doubt.
“Mothers who know are leaders. In equal partnership with their husbands, they lead a great and eternal organization. These mothers plan for the future of their organization. They plan for missions, temple marriages, and education. They plan for prayer, scripture study, and family home evening. Mothers who know build children into future leaders and are the primary examples of what leaders look like. They do not abandon their plan by succumbing to social pressure and worldly models of parenting. These wise mothers who know are selective about their own activities and involvement to conserve their limited strength in order to maximize their influence where it matters most.”
~Julie Beck, Relief Society General President