I have the most amazing mother. To truly appreciate her, you need to know Rene'e. But perhaps a brief description will have to suffice for now.
She's a woman of many talents and is an extraordinary musician. Mom grew up in a musically-gifted family where she learned to beautifully play the piano and violin and sing. She was the ward choir director for decades in California and put together incredible church numbers as well as big Broadway and other cultural shows. Thankfully, she passed on that love of music to me and my sister and patiently taught us both how to play the piano.
I'll never forget all the hours she spent behind the wheel, chauffeuring me to all my events and music lessons—even playing the violin with me in a local Catholic convent all-girls orchestra. (And, by the way, Mom—I appreciated you dropping me off around the corner from the high school on the mornings you still had the curlers in your hair!)
She also taught piano lessons to the masses. Mom knew some couldn't afford the traditional asking price, so she'd teach many of the children for next to nothing…just so they could learn and develop their talents.
Whenever I needed a special dress for prom or homecoming, she'd sew it—and all the dresses she produced were beautiful. In fact, until I went to college—she sewed all of my clothes. My grandparents would take me shopping for five new pieces of fabric each school year, and poor Mom knew that—soon after the shopping spree—she'd be slaving over the sewing machine. Sometimes she'd stay up all night just to get things made.
She was a community volunteer—you'd see her working at the voting booth year after year. And she valued an education—Mom went back to college while I was young to finish up and obtain her teaching credential. But I also knew she valued being a mother, and she made it a point to be home with us.
Mom really seemed to enjoy her role as a homemaker. She was as comfortable dragging the hose around and beautifying the yard as she was doing the laundry, making meals, or cleaning the house. In fact, our floors were so clean, you could have licked them and thought they tasted good! I'm glad she valued order and cleanliness, because I learned to value those things, too.
And Mom taught me valued life lessons through her example. First, that it's important to be a good neighbor and a loyal friend. Secondly, whatever you do—give it your very best effort. Mediocre isn't good enough. She taught us to "give it our all"—whether it's a church assignment, schoolwork, or a job. She's always been kind, patient and humble…never bossy or brash. Mom also has a strong belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ and went outside her comfort zone to serve a senior couple mission for the LDS Church with my dad in Ireland. She's a beautiful woman inside and out, and I hope I can be more like her with each passing year.
This Sunday on our special Mother's Day show on "Mormon Times TV," our viewers will get to know three other exemplary mothers in a way you haven't before. One child of each of the wives of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will tell us what makes Frances Monson, Kathleen Eyring and Harriet Uchtdorf so special.
Plus church historians Richard Turley and Brittany Chapman will introduce us to a few historical women of faith whose good works and perseverance are an inspiration to us all.