Fragile Day

Mother’s Day is hard. My cracked wide open heart trembled with the emotions and longing and expectations cascading through the women at church yesterday.

Everyone has a mother, yes. But the odds that a woman has a good relationship with her own mother, is able to marry and have children, to feel completely confident about her own mothering and have children who do the dishes on Mother’s Day are about a million to one.

Last week my friend Roz pulled me aside and said, “I want you to sit by me in Relief Society on Mother’s Day. I want to sit by another mother who admits she’s not perfect.” I was flattered by Roz’s invitation. Universally admired for her courage as she raises five kids while caring for her brain damaged husband, Roz also has some very real problems with her children.

So we sat together and whispered and cried a bit before we looked around and saw the whispers and tears of nearly every woman in the room. Motherhood is a bottomless lake, a never ending well of need. And despite it’s trials, there is nothing worse than aching to be a mother and suffering with empty, open arms. Do men feel the same sort of loss when they don’t have children? I don’t know.

I know I’m one of the lucky ones but some things(that yes, I’ve edited out) made the day especially hard. My list of mothering flaws if pretty long: I’m easily distracted, I’m a terrible cook and I spend way too much time pursuing my own interests. But I pray none of my failures disguise the fact that I love these beautiful people in my house, that they are everything to me. My entire heart is wrapped around these seven souls and I happy to give my whole life to them.

And I’m amazed and overwhelmed at the beauties around me:

all six kids playing together in the yard

a rich, round chocolate cake that my stomach resembles this morning

sparkling, dancing little Mary

long, sticky hugs from my pretty children

a sweet phone conversation with my Mom(more on that another day)

a letter from Stefan(late at night) that brought on happy tears

and a poem from Gabe that is unique as the boy himself. Imagine his poor teacher when she asked them to write a Mother’s Day poem and he turned this in(I just wish you could hear him sing it):

Oh I’m going to tell you a story
And there was once a little old lady
And she was blind
So kids,
Guess what I did?
I got my yellow pail, filled it with water
And dumped it on her head.
and she grabbed her baseball bat and
Hit me on the head
OWWW! I said.
Now sing with me kids.
Oh little old lady, little old lady
Little old lady
Little old lady, little old lady
Little old lady

Touching isn’t it? Sorry if I made you cry. 😉

May 9, 2009
May 13, 2009



  1. martha corinna

    May 11, 2009

    Michelle, you are so beautiful. Your defining characteristic is your absolute love for motherhood. Motherhood is complicated.

    I recognize that when people say hurtful things it is usually because of some deficiency on their part, but I am still trying to teach myself how to not be hurt by it.

    I love the depth you display on your blog. Life is pretty complex and so are we.

  2. Jeanelle

    May 11, 2009

    Oh my GOSH! I am so completely and totally offended that someone would say such a thing to you. I only know you through here and even I know how much you adore being a mother and a wife. Anyone with half a brain can tell by reading your words and viewing your photography how much you adore those handsome boys and that darling little girl. I won’t even start with how obviously head over heels in love you are with your husband. People are just stupid and I’m sorry someone had to say something so ridiculous and hurtful AND on such a day as Mother’s Day.

    P.S. If you told me that this mean person wears scrunchies, I would not be surprised. Love you…

  3. Christie

    May 11, 2009

    Yeah, that person sounds like they have no clue about you. Heck, I’ve never met you in real life, and I know without a doubt what being a mom means to you.


    Sorry, my friend.

  4. seven smiles

    May 11, 2009

    Tears and hugs for you.
    Some people really don’t get it. I don’t know how or why anyone would say that to a person, whether it was “true” or not, because clearly those kinds of comments are meant to wound.
    The people who know the truth about you are the people who matter most. It’s just hard sometimes, having to be around the ones that don’t.

  5. Andrea

    May 11, 2009

    You remind me very much of myself sometimes…too fragile for my own good. I’m so sorry you were hurt.

    On the flipside though Gabe’s poem made me laugh out loud. What a touching tribute to Mother’s, LOL

  6. Michelle

    May 11, 2009

    So sorry…


    But how dumb. I hate that.

    Do you need an ice cream?

    Have I told you I moved my BLOG again? Here it is? The first picture will make you laugh,

  7. Nina

    May 11, 2009

    hmmm that’s interesting. last week someone told me I was a slob and some other things that really hurt and I wondered for a few days how it is that people see us so differently than we see ourselves…I don’t know anyone that really knows me who would say I was disorganized and a slob. but my house is messy and my pocketbook is often covered with detrius from being a mother of a toddler…and that, in and of itself, seems to have made someone think that is me. its so not me. and so I have to KNOW that myself…and not let what others think I am define me. but it hurt, for a few days. what I see from your posts and pictures that you adore your children, they are beautiful and smart and magical to you…that you are allowed to be their mother here and all the other things you do in life, only adds to you being a good mother to them. so sorry that was said…and hurt you.

  8. Kate

    May 11, 2009

    wow… I wonder who these people are who make these off handed remarks- it makes me think that they are struggling inside- and are trying to make others feel bad. This mother’s day was the first ‘hard’ one for me. The regrets of yelling too much- not spending enough time… ohhh… the guilt. And one of my sons isn’t very fond of me right now (for good reason) he is 5- I just hope I don’t damage them too much!

    M- you are a great mother- as a mother of boys I admire you and hope that my boys can grow up to be as good as yours… you are doing so many things right- and I just like to think that if I try my best (sometimes) that HF will pick up the rest… none of us are perfect… and we all do things differently- and that is okay… can we just stop judging one another???? (okay, sorry about the novel.)


  9. stace

    May 11, 2009

    thanks for sharing…it is nice to know that others struggle with the same feelings. I was just thinking of these very things today.

    I had sick kids on Mother’s Day…the true test of whether I am a compassionate mother :).

  10. Claudia

    May 11, 2009

    I want a name! A NAME I tell you!

    Get a clue people!!!

    Really, who in their right mind would say such a thing???

    I’m glad your babies poured on the love. They adore you, you know.

  11. Linn

    May 12, 2009

    First, I just loved your post. I had someone close to me that was extra, extra unkind to me on Mother’s Day. Such a sad feeling. I hope you know how fabulous I think you are.

    And that poem by Gabe. Oh my mother’s heart. That was just the best ever!

  12. FLSonshine

    May 12, 2009

    What I love most about your blog is that you can be so totally honest and unpretentious. Shoot, the women in my church wouldn’t be caught dead crying with one another. I’ve thought all along that we need a good cry together!

    It’s encouraging to hear your stories of how you lift one another, and genuinely care for each other. That is the glue that will hold you together as moms.

    And your kids…totally blessed to have you for their mom! 🙂

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