The Best and Worst Mother’s Day

I don’t know what it is about Mother’s Day, me, and car problems. Yesterday was the third Mother’s Day in the past 7 years where we have had car trouble. Oy! That plus another challenge that is too hurtful and personal for me to blog about made yesterday the second worst Mother’s Day ever. The worst was four years ago when I had a head-on car collision and totaled the family car in north Las Vegas around 9 PM. After that disaster, we had to wait over an hour for the police to come, and another hour for the tow truck. I didn’t get to bed in a hotel until about 2 and couldn’t fall asleep until 5 AM. Yeah, fun times.

But the great news is that because of the car troubles yesterday I had got to meet a fifth cousin I never knew before. And get my belief in angels reaffirmed.

All was going well except for the aforementioned issue I won’t go into. We had a beautiful time at our church meeting in the morning with the theme of Mother’s Day. One of the young speakers, about age 14, even bragged about how much his mom is a Tiger Mother, like Amy Chua. He gave a few examples that sounded OK but one was a bit brutal. Another young man said the sweetest thing about his mom. He said, “I know that Jesus is like my mom, and that gives me the most comfort than anything else.”

The man who conducted the meeting spoke of his mother and how even though she’s 5 feet even, and weighs 100 lbs, she can take him out in martial arts. He also said he loves his mother-in-law, even though he argues with her. She was sitting in the congregation. In the next meeting, which was right after, she told the women, “For the record, I don’t argue with my son-in-law, I’m smarter than that!” Funny!

Later that day we embarked on a long drive out to a rural area to have dinner with my parents in their vacation cabin on a mountain. I was feeling on a high because of the previous day when I got to have a day out with like-minded mom friends, doing something super healthful and beneficial for our families. I got to hear gems of wisdom and just went home feeling so loved and invigorated on Saturday night. Then I got to cap it off with a Zoom meeting with my parents and siblings and a great date night movie.

Despite another issue that came up on the way to the cabin that definitely gave me cause to complain, but for which I bit my tongue instead, and did not complain, we had an overall lovely time at the cabin. Dinner was Hawaiian haystacks. Then I got to have a Zoom meeting with my out of nest children: my missionary son, my oldest child/son, and my married daughter, all at the same time with my parents and mother-in-law in the room. I told my oldest who joined us from Texas over Zoom that he had “one stop shopping for wishing his ‘Happy mother’s day!’ greetings to his mother, and both grandmothers.

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I also got to see my two adorable grandbabies in Zoom and hear the two-year-old repeatedly announce how cool it was that he could make a tow truck out of a phone charger base and a giant clothes pin that my daughter bought on etsy to use for building forts with play silks. (What?! Such is the strange imagination of little children. He is a true Shumway child who would rather play with random objects than toys.) Little did I know how prescient my grandson’s exclamations were. I got to show to my mother and my mother-in-law the pictures and audio files I had uploaded into familysearch.org for them, onto their personal pages. I got some gifts I asked for, for which I am super excited about. I have no shame in asking my husband and children for the exact gifts that I want for Mother’s Day, birthday, and Christmas.

I remembered to get a group picture and then we left before it got too dark, much to my disappointment, as we didn’t get to play the board game I brought. Anyway, we left before it was dark, which was hard because I’m a night owl. My fun, childish party side of me wanted to just stay and play games and talk all night with my mom and mother in law on coconut oil and diet and preventing Alzheimer’s. The taskmaster, disciplined, boring, practical mother side of me knew it would be better to leave and not get home when we can hardly stagger into the house out of the car after the 1 + hour drive because we are so tired. (I’ve had plenty of Sunday family visits, for decades, where we stay past ten so I speak from experience.) I have a son who has work on Sunday (boo- having to work on Mother’s Day!) and I wanted to get home to see him too before he went to bed.

Let me tell you, angels are real. Angel mothers are real. On the way home, our engine overheated. We pulled over and some young men, Good Samaritans, stopped to help us. They were driving in a family caravan of cars, with their parents driving behind them. They determined that the lid on the coolant tank, popped off, causing us to lose coolant and have the engine overheat. Even though it was late and dark, they insisted on driving back to town (a 15 minute drive) to buy some coolant for us. Then they came back to put it in. They refused any pay for the coolant.

We thanked them profusely, said good bye, said a grateful prayer of thanks to Heavenly Father for these angels, and started driving. After a few hundred feet, the car was still smoking from under the hood so we stopped again. This time the dad of the two young men stopped to help. We explained the problem, that it wasn’t fixed by adding coolant, and that we should leave the car there and have the car towed to a fix-it place. So we needed a ride. He and his wife offered to drive us home, on the way to their home.

Complete strangers! But they felt OK about giving us a ride and we felt OK about accepting. So we had a pleasant ride home in a warm car visiting with what turned out to be relatives. I found out a the mom is my fifth cousin on my Dad’s side. We’re both descended from Zera Pulsipher, a Utah pioneer. This woman was an amazing woman to have taught her sons to be so helpful to help us. An angel mother.

I definitely felt the hand of God in this encounter. These people were angels in human form. They helped us when we were in deep need. I hope we can each be angels for each other and help each other in loving kindness and service. I’m learning that whenever I feel sad or alone, I can look out for people who are sad and lonely and help them. Just doing that eases the sadness and loneliness.

The other great thing about this whole challenge was that it put the hurt I had felt earlier in the day in perspective. The car trouble and the rescue allowed me to put my pain in a much bigger place. It was cold in that car and dark. It would not have been fun to have to wait for my dad to drive down the mountain to come get us, and then have to drive back up the mountain, and then figure out how to get us all home the next day. I just felt so grateful that we could still be going home, thanks to these angels. It feels so grand knowing that kind people, Good Samaritans, are out there. They just are, no matter the doom and gloom of the negative news outlets. So I am feeling blessed, it was indeed the best and worst Mother’s Day ever.

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