I want to pay tribute today to the most important, influential, and amazing women/moms that I have in my life and the life of my family. I warn you, this will be a long a post- but I don't apologize, because these women have made me and Ben who we are today and deserve to be honored and treasured, even if only in a small measure on our blog.
I don't remember too much about my Grandma Clark. What I remember most is that she was old! But, despite that, she always wanted to play games with us kids and create memories. I remember she was often in a lot of pain, and I remember the great love my grandpa had for her- taking care of her for so many years. Those two showed by their actions what true and eternal love is, and I pray that Ben and I can have that same love which they shared. My Grandma Clark was an amazing women, but most of what I know about her comes from stories from other people. She had seven children- and buried three of them. But, her faith in God and Jesus Christ never wavered- she had a love of God and Christ beyond description. She was a women of faith and of service. My Uncle Garth was severely mentally retarded, and she worked very hard throughout his life to improve the condition of those with disabilities. She sacrificed much for her children, and I know that my mom can say nothing but wonderful things about her. I wish I had known her better, and I look forward to getting to know her better in the life hereafter.
My Grandma High can turn a tuna sandwich into a gourmet meal. Honest, I don't know how she does it, but mealtime with Grandma High is always a feast. She cooks with love (corny, but true!). Grandma High raised six children- including 5 boys and a set of twins- and somehow is still sane. She is amazing, I don't know how she did it. Every time we went to visit, she would take us all fishing and sing songs so that the fish would come and bite. She can gut a fish like nobody else! And, she does all of the driving- I have seen Grandpa drive once. When I was little, I thought that was totally normal, that when people became grandparents, the grandma started doing all of the driving! She has a great love of people, and most especially of family. When Ben and I go visit, she treats us like first class VIP's. When she heard Ben had never been to Yellowstone, she and Grandpa took us on a special trip, dropping everything so that he could experience the national treasure. That meant a lot to me, knowing that she wants us to see and experience as much as we can. What a blessing! She travels across the country with Grandpa watching countless soccer games of the grandkids and great grandkids, and I swear she never gets tired!!! She and my grandpa have been married for over 55 years! They are an absolute inspiration.
Ann is an absolutely wonderful mother-in-law to me, mother to Ben, and Grandma to Audra. I think Audra would rather be with Grandma and Grandpa Marriott then just about anybody else! (sorry mom and dad, I guess you will have to move to Denver!) Ann is an amazing example of faith. I am so grateful to her for taking Ben and Beth to church all of those years by herself- I cannot imagine how difficult that must have been, and I am sure there were days when she didn't want to. But, I am 100% convinced that because of her faith, determination, and conviction Ben decided to go on a mission and we were able to be married in the temple, and for that I am eternally grateful. On a practical note, she is also one of the smartest people I have ever met- if you play Trivial Pursuit with her, make sure you on her team- she knows EVERYTHING! And, she is one of the best homemakers I have ever met. She gave and continues to give so much to her kids, sacrificing herself for them, and she is a wonderful example of the mom that I want to be for Audra.
My mom. No words can truly express how much she means to me. I was not, how do you say, the best/nicest teenager, but she always loved me unconditionally and allowed me to be me. I remember when I wanted to go to Germany for a year (I forged my parents signature on the scholarship application knowing they wouldn't approve) and hearing my dad saying that he didn't want me to go, and my mom insisting that I needed to be free to go. That decision changed my life, and were it not for my mom loving and trusting me enough it never would have happened (or, maybe she wanted to get rid of the rotten teenager living in her basement, I don't know!). She has always supported my in my decisions- even moving to Denver to teach in the same school district as Columbine (she was very nervous about that). She had FIVE kids in SIX years (yes, you read that correctly), and I am quite certain that there were many days that she wanted to quit and give up. I even had colic, as if that weren't enough. But she stayed, and was the best mom to us kids that I ever could have thought possible. I remember when one of us was doing some things that weren't right, things that many parents would kick their child out for, and her response was "we just have to use love" and that's exactly what she did- she loved us all individually and unconditionally, regardless of the mistakes we made and the paths we chose. I also get my stubbornness from her, however- there were many times when we clashed and sparks flew, but at the same time she always me to have my opinions, make my mistakes, learn and grow. Looking back, I don't know how she was able to accomplish so much with us kids. Now we are all world travelers (I imagine when Michelle said she was moving her family to England, mom simply thought to herself "yet another crazy adventure for my girls- they sure are crazy, but they will do what they want!"), we all have firm and strong testimonies of the gospel, we are all very independent and successful- all because of the many things that she taught us. I would like to hope that I can somehow be half the mom that she was to us- I love you, Mom!