Saturday, May 8, 2010

A favor, returned.

mom with her girls
June 2006

I never went to a girls camp without my mom. Never.

When I went to my very first girls camp, at age 12, mom was a leader. When I went at 13, mom was a leader. She was the leader the year that we decorated with sunflowers made of green grenade balloons and yellow construction paper. She was there the year we did the skit about Mathew 25: 34-40. And when Bishop Sutherland taught us how to sing "McGregor is Dead," and "Three Sharptooth Buzzards". Every year I went, she went.

Mom would spend endless amounts of time prepping for the camp. She'd worry about are camp theme and song. How we were going to decorate the cabin. How to divide up secret sisters. What to eat. And what to do for the camp crafts.

This particular year was no different. Jami and I were Young Women doing the girls camp thing; my mom, just like the year before, was our mom doing the camp leader thing. It was a ward camp this year and Stanley, Idaho was our destination.

After arrival we set up camp, ate Brother Johnston's Dutch oven dinner and tried to get some sleep for tomorrow we would venture out on that years girls camp hike.

At the beginning of the hike mom realized her shoes weren't made for hiking. They rubbed and irritated her feet. It was a bit of a joke at first, "Way to go, Mom", "That's what you get for not being prepared" we'd joke. But then the hike got longer. And harder. We were hiking in the mountains, weaving between trees and sagebrush. And trying to navigate our way on a path made of jagged rocks and untamed sticks and tree roots. Mom's joints are bad. Her knees were aching, and her ankles weak. The shoes had already rubbed visible blisters. She was in pain.

Around the hike's halfway mark we were all exhausted and ready to be done. It was then that we came to a small creek. To cross the creek a log had to be used as a bridge. Holding our arms out for balance and taking small steps, one-by-one we wobbled to the other side. When it was mom's turn, she lost her footing. Slipped. And landed into the creeks cold water. Her already uncomfortable feet were now soaking wet.

We had come too far for mom to turn around. Plus, she wouldn't be able to find her way back to camp without our hike leader. So she kept walking. Forward. Her body ached. Her feet were blistered. And with every step her wet Levis, rubbed. And her wet shoes, squeaked. I could feel her pain.

We came to a point in the hike that was at a steep incline. Most of the hikers were having a hard time making it up the mountain side. Mom especially. She was wet. Blistered. Throbbing. She was defeated. And she told me and Jami so.  There was no way she could finish the hike, she argued.

So I took mom's left hand and Jami took her right.  And we kept walking. Pulling mom, and her pained, wet body behind us.  That hike was hard.  All of our faces were red with exhaustion. We were sore, tired and uncomfortable. But, we were not defeated. We were going to finish that hike. The three of us. Together!

Later that night, when we were safe back at camp, my Young Women's leader put her arm around me telling me how proud she was of Jami and me. I smiled and accepted the complement. But, it was a complement that didn't need given. Praise that was undeserved.

Because so many times before, and so many times since, I've been the pained hiker with wet shoes and burning knees. And my mom the rescuer, grabbing my hand and pulling me up the mountain side.

This small act was my teenage way of giving back; a way to say thank you.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for never missing a volleyball game or a dance performance or a speech competition.
Thank you for lecturing when I needed lectured.
Thank you for laughing when I needed to laugh.
Thank you for dancing with me.
Thank you for praying for me.
Thank you for asking a million questions.
Thank you for being patient.
Thank you for having a sense of humor.
Thank you for always being there to pull me up the mountain.

But most of all,
Thank you, mom, for being my mother.

I loved you then. And I love you now.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom.


Jami said...

AMEN, sista....Our mom is truly the best :)..Even when we had to "pull" her up the mountain....:)

sarah louise said...

Remember that conversation we had about being sappy? I am totally sappy because I cried when I read this, and it isn't even my mom :)

Thank Heaven for Good Hearted moms!

Kali Jo said...

ok, i cried. i really did

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