I just came home from a Valentine’s Day lunch with my boys—I took James out of his first grade class at lunch time and had Niles with me as usual and we had such a good time (Heidi is at a class party and Rich went skiing with Addie's class). I was reflecting on what made lunchtime so sweet and I realized that it was watching the boys share and laugh together. I think that good sibling relationships might be the sweetest reward of parenting. More than anything else that happens around here, seeing my kids play together, laugh together, share, help each other, or support each other brings a huge wave of mamma joy.
A corollary to this thought is that I love people more when they love my kids. For example, I have a dear friend who is always so good to me, but she is even awesomer to my kids, especially my middle child. I have this one child that needs the love and attention of, like, four mommies but God only gave her one. So in her case, it really does take a village. Or maybe just one exceptional “auntie” who does the work of three other mommies. This dear friend has lived near us since my girl was 3, but she moved away last year and we missed her much more than we expected to. I got to thinking of all the ways she helped to make my girl feel special and how I could never do it without her. I got a little choked up thinking about all her thoughtful, inspired acts of kindness and I felt another wave of mamma joy, and gratitude, too. I realized I love this friend because she is good to me, but I love her more for all the ways she serves my children—for doing the things I wish I could do but can’t.
Then I had a “light bulb” moment. I thought to myself, This is what God is talking about in the scriptures. This is what he means when he says, “Insasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). I mean, I am sure He appreciates our worship and faith and obedience, or whatever we bring to the altar, but I think He is most touched and honored when His children do things to help each other that He can’t do for them Himself right now (maybe by “can’t do” I mean “Is not allowed to do” right now, as part of the plan of salvation and agency and all that). I think of times when I can’t (and shouldn’t) be with my kids—during school, during activities, etc.—and think of the challenges they face there without me, and I appreciate the teacher or the friend or the sibling who sees their need and extends kindness and comfort I would give if I were there. I am profoundly grateful and moved. And I believe that is a taste of what our Father in Heaven feels when we love one another.
So I am learning in a new way what this scripture, which meant so much to me as a missionary, means to all of us:“Behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).
On this “Love Day,” I re-read one of my favorite talks for personal study. You can read it, too, if you click HERE. I want to be kind. I want to assume the best of others and listen to the Spirit’s guidance so I can serve in the most effective, loving ways. I want us to lighten one another’s parenting load by loving all children the way their mamas would, the way the Savior would, if He were physically here. This is WISDOM. I would like to be found possessed of this kind of wisdom, and charity, at the last day and see Him as He is because I’ll be like Him. That would RULE.