Today is my Mom's Birthday!!! So, I thought as a Birthday gift, I would record some of my very favorite things about her. She is one of my favorite people in the whole world and I'm so lucky she is my Mom!!
1. She has the youngest heart of anyone I know. That sounds kinda weird, but its true and its the first thing that I think of when she comes to mind. She is so happy and playful and weird and its awesome. As kids, she was always right there along side us, playing games, throwing water balloons, coloring, climbing trees... I think she wore holes in the knees of her jeans faster than we did. And she is just the same with her grandkids. I don't think she will ever actually age and I love it. She keeps us all young ;)
2. She is so wise!! I'm not even kidding. Why did I not listen to her more when I was younger?? She is always my go-to for advice, some of which has changed my perspective and changed my life.
3. Patient beyond patient! Everyone knows raising a child requires a lot of patience. But raising 7 kids? And... 7 of us crazy Merkley kids! I can think of SO many moments over the years when I needed her in some capacity and she has always been there. Always. There to talk, to understand, to listen, to laugh, to cry, to pray.
4. I love that she taught us all how to be healthy. We did not make it easy for her. I cant even count how many times she would set my whole wheat sandwich down in front of me and I would say "I hate this bread. When I grow up, I'm only eating white bread." Ugh that's where that patience I mentioned comes in. She would always say, "one day you'll thank me." And she was right! Thank you, Mom for forcing us to eat whole wheat and carrot juice and spinach and eggplant. Thank you for teaching us the importance of healthy eating. And for the record, I buy whole wheat bread for my kids.
5. She is a serious role model. And I bet you anything she is laughing as she is reading this. But Mom, its true. Although during my teenage years I would have never admitted it, I always wanted to be like her. I wanted to be pretty like her and get married in the St. George temple and have babies and be a stay-at-home Mom. Yes, I had my own things like dancing and wanting to become mayor and all, but what I loved playing the most was, "house". She always conveyed to her children, through her work and sacrifices, the importance of being a Mother. That's a lesson that was not lost on a single one of us.
6. Her kindness toward others. Its something I grew up with and never really noticed tons until I got to be a little older, but I can honestly say that I have never ever heard my Mom say something unkind about another person. Ever. That's insane. I truly wish that I could say that about myself, because that is an amazing trait.
7. Her love of Art. She is so talented, weather its oil painting or architecture, so crazy good. She gave me one of her paintings and I love it so much!! I've always wanted her to teach me. Growing up she always had us doing fun crafts... sewing, painting, salt dough. Oh boy did we love our little easel that she would set up in the backyard for us. She definitely taught us all how to love and appreciate art and we all found our own little niche. Music, dance, photography, writing. Its brought unspeakable amounts of happiness in to all our lives.
8. She always taught us to be ourselves. I never felt any pressure to be a certain way or do certain things. It was always up to us, who we were going to be. No idea was ever too big or too ridiculous. Just constant encouragement. There was a lot of freedom in growing up that way. I think each of us kids are very different and unique and independent because of it and its awesome.
9. Her testimony. Her love of the Lord and the gospel. Her unwavering faith. Its been a beacon throughout my life and I'm forever grateful for it. Having that strength in your home makes such a difference growing up.
10. Her genuine love for us, her children. Its meant more than can even be expressed. She is the kind of woman that has fully and completely immersed herself in her calling to be a Mother. If its important to her children, its important to her. If her children are happy, than she is happy. She has always found ways of showing us how much she cares. Even when I was little, she knew the full names of all my dolls and stuffed animals, she knew I didn't like pumpkin pie and would make me my own little carrot cake so I could still have FHE treats, she would sit on the edge of my bed at 2am listening to the details of my latest nightmare and then pray with me so I would be comforted. All of those little things that mean so much when you're young. And still today, when I call to tell her about my latest problem or my new hobby or just to tell her about my day, she has a way of making me feel like I am the only person in the world and I have all her attention and love for as long as need it, whenever I need it.
I could go on, but I think I should stop before anyone reading this realizes that their own Mom just doesn't even compare.
Happy Birthday Mom!!!!! I know its not much, but all I have is a very heartfelt thank you and I love you!!!!