Yesterday I was at the pet store with 30 crickets in a sack
for Gigs to feed the scorpions he smuggled from Arizona last month.
As I waited in line to check out, I noticed a young beautiful mother
holding the hands of her two darling children, probably ages 3 and 5.
On their way out of the store,
they stopped to look at the adopt-a-pet board on the wall.
The kids pointed to a picture of a cat with a silly costume on
and asked the mom to read what it said under the photo.
"This is Penny," she began, "it says that she likes lying in the warm sun."
"Read that one, mommy". The little girl asked, pointing to another photo.
"This is Tiger, he likes tummy tickles." The kids laughed.
She read every single animal on the board while her kids laughed and smiled.
I watched the way she held her kid's hands
and how she responded to them with love.
I felt a HUGE wave of emotion hit me, and I started to feel sorry for myself.
And before I knew it, I was crying.
I was that mommy once. I remember many trips to stores and
outings with my little brood in tow.
With Claire as second in command, I felt like I could go anywhere
with them even though they were all so young and so close together in age.
My heart was sad as I reflected on those days.
They were some of the best and most beautiful days of my life,
and then one day it was all gone.
I mean, not totally gone because I was still a mother
and nothing could ever take that away from me,
but I was a different young mother now with so many physical and
emotional challenges. I wasn't the same, and it
wasn't as easy and carefree as it used to be.
My Camelot had exploded, and now motherhood became frustrating.
I was in pain a lot, in fact, I don't even remember being present
after the accident for many, many years.
Christian, family members, and wonderful neighbors did everything.
They went shopping for me, they planned birthday parties for my kids
and holiday meals, they cooked, they cleaned, they read stories,
and they went to parent-teacher conferences and school field trips.
I did my best, but it wasn't the same. Ever.
I thought I had worked through these emotions
until yesterday when I watched this young mom with her kids.
I wanted to go over to her and tell her what a wonderful mom she was.
I wanted to thank her for taking the time to read about
every single pet that needed to be adopted.
Then I wanted to tell her to never take for granted the time she
gets to spend being a young mom raising them.
I wanted to tell her to go to the park without her phone and enjoy
watching them go down the slide for the 1000th time.
I wanted to tell her to sign up for the field trips and school parties,
and to relish in reading the same book over and over and over again,
because you never know.
I didn't take my life for granted before August of 2008,
I just literally woke up
in a life and in a house and never went back. Never.
And it has never been the same since.
My story has a happy ending because I was able to reclaim most of that life.
It's a little different now, and it's taken a lot of energy and time to rebuild
and to find my new normal, and that's OK. That's what life is all about.
Progressing even when we get kicked down.
There is always something to learn, always a way to grow,
and I'm surprising myself by feeling emotions I thought I was over.
I know the Lord wants me to feel these emotions, so He can teach me
what wants me to know and learn.
He has given me a way to move on. He has given me that hope.
It's His plan, His way, and through His timing that I have a purpose.
I don't understand it, sometimes I admit, resent it, but I know He's there.
He's picking up the pieces and is teaching me where they go.
I believe that someday everything will make sense.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said:
"Every life has peaks and shadows
and times when it seems that the birds don’t sing and bells don’t ring.
Yet in spite of discouragement and adversity, those who are happiest
seem to have a way of learning from difficult times, becoming stronger,
wiser, and happier as a result."
In the middle of my deep grief and heartache, I was blessed to be that
"young mom" again, and Lottie came to me.
She has come with so much life and a future.
Last night we snuggled and read Tales of a Fourth grade nothing
together on my bed. She gives me purpose and reminds me that God
knows what He's doing and there is so much life yet to be lived
as a not-so-young (but healthy) mom!