Dear Ben

For two weeks I’ve wanted to thank you for the Saturday night you came home to comfort me. Your laughter in the house calmed me; I teared up when Gabe slid next to you on the couch and unconsciously held your hand in both of his. Even sweeter was your presence at church the next day sitting on our old row. I loved the moment when little Mary spotted you, exited the pew on her side and walked all the way around to climb on your lap.

And though I’m used to your helpful spirit, my heart sang when you came home with me to frost the cupcakes and followed me back to the church to carry the tipsy cake platters into the Young Women’s room before your drive back to Provo.

Those sound like simple acts, don’t they? Small things. But when a heart is aching it’s the small kindnesses that become divine. As a mother I’m accustomed to doing the nurturing, the hand holding, the cookie baking for a sad child; often I’m the subject of jokes and wisecracks (because let’s face it, I’m an easy and safe target) — but when sympathy and compassion are turned toward me it heals my heart.

My words may sound like a cry for help– and they are. Pray for me. Please pray for me. I’m doing well, counting my blessings, trudging through my to-do list and searching for beauty in every hour. But it’s still hard and I find myself sobbing at odd moments.

Your brothers and your dad are buoying me up daily, hourly– offering me tissues and firm hugs. And that– the gentleness that I see in you and your siblings– is the tender mercy in this mess. From your earliest days I’ve tried to teach you generosity, benevolence and a constant awareness that everyone you meet is a fellow child of God. I really don’t care if my children earn large paychecks, accolades or trophies; I only ask that you become of great use to your fellow man. That you mourn with those who mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.

Ah Benny boy, I love you. I expect the giant-hearted people of Italy will teach us all– I can scarcely wait for your adventures to begin. Except, I can wait, because I love having you close enough to cut a Christmas tree, swing Mary in the air and steal a box of Frosted Mini Wheats whenever you come home.



November 29, 2010
December 2, 2010



  1. Cath

    December 2, 2010

    This makes me cry. It’s beautiful. “Tender mercies in this mess” – you are blessed with eyes to see. Praying for you dear friend. I’d love to run this weekend if you have time.

  2. Tracy

    December 2, 2010

    If every mother taught their children this, think of how amazing the world would be. You are amazing…just look at your children.

    P.S. Call me today about those boots. 😉

  3. Lisa

    December 2, 2010

    Mmmm…such an adorable son you have there,. You’ve taught him to have such a generous spirit… something every boy in this world needs!

  4. Kristin

    December 2, 2010

    When I visit your blog I find myself so uplifted. I want to be adopted into your family.

    I feel inspired to do a better job creating the type of santuary you have. You show me the potential for family love and unity.

    And though I don’t know what you are struggling with at this time, my thoughts and prayers are still with you.

    The people in Italy are lucky.

  5. Anne Marie

    December 2, 2010

    This is absolutely, completely beautiful. You have raised a son who will bless the lives of many of God’s children. Hoping that your heart may be comforted during the tough times that face you.

  6. Carrigan Clan

    December 2, 2010

    So beautifully written…”but when sympathy and compassion are turned toward me it heals my heart.” I too am an “easy and safe target” and can so relate to how you are feeling. You are an incredible mother. Your kids are very fortunate to have you.

  7. chococatania

    December 3, 2010

    This is a beautiful post.

    I proabably shouldn’t read some of these – as I’m a pregnant lady – having my first son (after three girls)- I love these, but afterwards, there are always a few tears!

  8. Rachelle

    December 3, 2010

    And, now I have a lump in my throat.

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