Sunday, May 10, 2009


I took a quick inventory of Mother's Days of the past several years and realized there were many I attended "in spirit." The ending of the school year and the prospect of a summer adventure normally meant I bid adieu to my South Ogden address before mid-May and hence, celebrated Mother's Day via telephone call.

That said, it's surprising to me that the distance between Utah and New York feels so painfully wide today. Maybe it's because this time I don't have a return ticket booked. Maybe it's because I was fortunate to live near my truly incredible mom(s) for a year and a half and enjoyed the spoils of being the nearest set of kids to both. Or maybe it's because with age comes maturity, with maturity - hopefully some better understanding, and with understanding the realization that our moms (you too, dads... we'll discuss in June), all moms, are truly a group to be celebrated, honored and admired. And I desperately wish I could be there in person rather than telling blogger about it.

My beautiful and talented mom, Julie, leaves a certain impression on everyone she meets. She is so genuinely interested in others and has such a fun-loving personality that anyone and everyone feels welcome in her home.

If you stay the night, even if you were a surprise guest late the night before, you will likely wake up to the smell of homemade cinnamon rolls and fresh fruit the next morning. I don't know how she does this. I suspect the woman doesn't need sleep.

I love my mom's healthy relationship with her health. She is a great example of taking care of your body and still enjoying the "guilty pleasures" in life. I love that she used to round out her morning run to the theme from Rocky and that now she's a little ball of energy makin' those ladies "work it" at water aerobics, but she still has a thing for chocolate and doesn't stress over giving in occasionally.
My mom has a knack for accomplishing what three, maybe four, regular humans can normally do in a day. I think it's due, in part, to her ability to multi-task - as evidenced here by a contraption meant to maximize phone chatting time. In a bizarre mix of the words "hands-free" or "-less" and "headset," Mom called it her "headless set" a time or two... or eight or nine... And the kids just haven't let the poor gal live it down.She is so generous with her time and talents, flying out to sisters' homes to watch grandkids and install crown moulding. Devoting time to a busy church calling. Caring for aging parents. Packing little lunches for Noah during the 5 weeks we lived with them. Suggesting I could get cheaper paint for our apartment if I went a certain place and picking it up for me when I couldn't make it during work hours. Refinishing a table and chairs for our first married apartment and refinishing two more chairs at the drop of a hat when we finally moved into a place big enough for dinner guests. Carting five kids to music, athletics, National Academic League (guilty...), student involvement activities, church activities and more.

I love that I inherited my mom's frugality. One of my favorite memories was driving in inner-city Ogden with my mom one afternoon. As we pulled into a parking lot of a non-descript building, she turned to me and asked, "promise you won't tell anyone at home?" We went inside the cinderblock building to find aisle after aisle of damaged food products. Smashed boxes, dented cans... a whole store devoted to the items they wouldn't sell at regular grocery stores. Evidently she'd discovered it a few weeks prior and had been stocking up on granola bars for $.50/box. But knowing we may be wary to bite into damaged goods, she was emptying the boxes into a jar at home and discarding of the evidence. Brilliant!

I knew I'd really earned the title of "my mother's daughter" when she and I wandered into DownEast Home last spring and I found an armoire marked down from $1000 to $500 and I told my mom, "I bet I get it for $250."

I truly could go on and on... but I need to reserve some space here for another incredible mother. Clearly, my mom set the bar pre-tty high when it comes to awesomeness. So any mother-in-law was really going to have to be up to the challenge.

Before I ever met the Rileys, Noah was elected to a position on our university's student government. A roommate of mine was also elected to a position that year, and met Noah's parents at the announcement ceremony. She commented to me later (in a bit of a foreshadowing moment, because this was still in in the "Noah and Allison aren't dating stage"), "did you meet Noah's parents? They just seem like the greatest people. You can tell they'd be amazing in-laws." You just can't be around the Rileys without a sense for what wonderful people they are.
That summer, as Noah and I were dating and living 2,000 miles apart, I said his name to a new roommate the evening she moved in. She recognized the name and realized she knew Noah's older brother. "Oh, wow - you can tell those guys have an amazing mom. Those boys are so well-trained." And I thank you every single day for it, Chris.

Chris has a beautiful talent for all things fabric - quilting, sewing, you name it. We have a gorgeous quilt she made for us and I love suggesting projects I'd like to try, because I always see that twinkle in her eye, like "I know exactly how we'll get that done!"

I feel like a million bucks every time I see or talk to Chris. She has such a way of making you feel like, "yeah - I am pretty neat!"She is so genuinely interested in others and has a beautiful way of building others up.Chris has such a wise and profound perspective on life. She has such an ability to look at situations from all sides and considerations. I find myself wondering often what her take on a particular topic or situation may be, much the same way I treasure that in Noah. We have attended church with the Rileys on several occasions, and each time I am struck by how deeply the women in her ward love and respect her and I think this attribute, combined with her unconditional love of others, is very much the reason.

I am so grateful for all the beautiful women in my life - mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins and friends. Happy Mother's Day to each of you!


allyn said...

once again you have hit the nail on the head. i have only met noah's mother momentarily and she seemed very sweet and lovable. i do know your mother and i would have to agree that she must not need sleep. my own mother has been using her as her own "bar" to measure up to. my mom is also amazing, but i have heard, "julie does this and this and this..." and .then she does it that way, too.

Claire said...

Your mom IS wonderful. What a lovely tribute to both of your mommies!