A Mother’s Day Tribute

A Mother’s Day Tribute
Photo by Christian Bowen / Unsplash

An excerpt of a talk given on Mother’s Day by Michael Anderson, former OSU Professor of Plant and Soil Science, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on May 12, 2024 on the topic of Mother’s Day.

My mother is special to me. She was not perfect, but she spent her life dedicated to her family, and that is perfection as far as I am concerned. Her service to me had a major impact on my life. Especially during times of trouble. 

When my Dad succumbed to the temptations of the world and left the family, Mom held us together as only a Mom can do.

We were her priority.

She went out of her way to minimize that traumatic episode in the lives of her children. Before the divorce she was a stay at home mom, which was what she wanted to do.

After the divorce and due to financial considerations, Mom had to go out into the workforce without the benefit of college education-which meant a minimum wage job at first.

She worked long hours and then after work came home and did her normal housework: cooking meals, doing laundry, shopping for food and cleaning the house.

She remembered our birthdays and Christmases and when we were sick she did everything in her power to nurse us back to good health.

She didn’t have time or money for cruises or vacations; didn’t drive a fancy car or join any clubs. Everything she did was invested in us. 

When I was away on my mission she wrote every week. And as we grew into adulthood she continued to maintain contact with us throughout lives.

Unfortunately, we often take for granted those who are closest to us. In later life as I thought about what my mom did for me, my appreciation for her grew and grew. 

In the last decade of her life, I decided to write her biography. So I took some time to discuss with her about what it was like for her. This little work will stand as a reminder to her descendants of her sacrifice and her outstanding character.

Today I honor you Mom for all that you are and did.

Today I honor the mother of my children, Robin and I have two children: Adam and Emily. Few of you knew them when they were young in this ward.

Like my mom, I owe my wife an eternal debt of gratitude. She has been the central person of our family from the beginning.

Early in our married lives while I was immersed in school. Robin managed the homefront. She took care of the children and me– making sure that we were well fed and cared for. Robin did an expert job of managing the household finances from my minimal earnings as a graduate student so that we could make it through the many years of schooling without too much debt. 

While managing the household she graduated from a seven-year internship at a prestigious Art School in Minnesota–following her dream.

Because of her extraordinary nature Robin was a great example to our children, motivating them to do the best they can.

Our son Adam became a dentist following in the footsteps of his grandpa, and our daughter Emily became a Professor of Asian culture at the University of Washington following in the footsteps of both her mom and dad.

Robin transmitted to our children a love of beautiful things: including art and culture. She was also a very good example to me in many areas of my life.

She encouraged and supported me to be a more orderly person, to speak with a softer voice, to be kinder than I usually would be, and to go for my dreams.

I owe her much. 

I honor Robin as my wife and mother of our children.

I love her with an ever increasing love that knows no bounds.

Later on in life, Robin was afflicted with a disease that leaves her with little strength to do what she would like to do. For a woman to go from very active to a person of little energy and dependent on others is a real trial. Life is difficult for her. To help her I had the opportunity to give back a little by taking care of her needs.

Mothers understand this sense of service, and taking care of my wife, making her my top priority has given me a greater sense of service and love that most mothers have for their families.…Today’s environment is very different from the one that I grew up in sixty years ago. Today’s moms often have to juggle a job, or a career, with their motherhood responsibilities. This often leaves them exhausted and again mostly under-appreciated.…Moms are often the first to respond to sicknesses or injuries with comfort and medical care.Moms are often the ones that push their children to do the best they can.Moms just don’t get enough credit for what they do.

If we praised people based on their contribution to society, moms and dads would be at the top of the list.

Now in some cases it is the father that does much of the work traditionally done by mothers, and we will honor him in a few weeks.

But today it's all about Mothers.

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