The Tradition of My Mothers (The Unfinished Basement)


For many, I know it’s not possible! Times change. But it was such a wonderful blessing to my life to have her. She was always available when I needed her. Her name was the first one I called out when I got home from school each day. Her name was the first one that came to mind when seeking relief from pain, both physical and emotional. It wasn’t until years later, after I had left home, that I started to fully appreciate the “tradition of my mothers”. In a family of ten kids, I’m sure it might have been financially sound if my mother had gone to work. But she and my father were not interested in building up wealth as to the things of this world, although we never wanted for the necessities of life. They held dear the “traditions of their mothers” in providing a “mother at home” to meet our needs.

A few months ago my brothers and sisters reminisced about our childhood. We laughed about the unfinished basement in which we lived. It seemed to be under construction till the day we moved out. The laughter we shared however was not of sorrow, but one of joyful memories. They were shared memories of love that we felt coming from a loving home where our parents had made us the “priority”, not finishing the basement. I doubt that a “finished basement” would have provided the same tenderness that I received from the loving arms of our stay at home mom. Nor would I have gone running to its finished doors and rooms for comfort when I fell, or had a hard day at school. No, I don’t think my memories would be sweeter if I had come home from school to find that my Mom was working somewhere while I basked in the fine paneled walls of an empty house.

I know life doesn’t always turn out the way we want it to for many of us.  It throws in our way many obstacles and challenges. But this tradition, the tradition of a mother in the home, is one worth passing on.

“As a mother guided by the Lord, you weave a fabric of character in your children from threads of truth through careful instruction and worthy example. You imbue the traits of honesty, faith in God, duty, respect for others, kindness, self-confidence, and the desire to contribute, to learn, and to give in your trusting children’s minds and hearts. No day-care center can do that. It is your sacred right and privilege”. (Richard G. Scott, “The Joy of Living the Great Plan of Happiness,” Ensign, Nov 1996).

I’m sure there are some mothers who have no possible way of staying at home with their children. We live in tough economic times. For those mothers it is painful each day they go outside the home to support their children.  To those in such a circumstance, I would echo the words spoken by the great King Benjamin who told the poor, “I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.” (Mosiah 4:24). What King Benjamin taught was that the Lord “knoweth the heart”. (Luke 16:15) Do the best you can. What others may think is of little import compared to the Lords!

Some traditions are worth keeping. If at all possible, to me, having a mother in the home is certainly one of them!



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