In Our Lovely Deseret: Daughters and mothers encompass one eternal round

Published: Sunday, April 13 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

A choir comprised of women and girls, led by Emily Wadley, sings at the General Women's Meeting at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 29, 2014.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

It has been said that a daughter is a ticklish possession.

We experienced delight and wonder at the historic all-women’s conference on March 29 — a stepping aside from the frustrations and inconsistencies of the world — to bask in the spiritual oneness of being daughters and mothers.

There is a unique beauty in womanhood — and you can see it in the faces of 8-year-olds as well as in the faces of women who are 20 and 40 and 80.

One of the things accomplished by this unique conference was an opportunity for mothers to see their children as young women — full of beauty and promise — and for young women to see the still-youthful beauty, the spark of love and intelligence in the faces of their mothers!

Our motherhood goes back to the very beginning, to our very real connection with Mother Eve. As the mother of all living, she bore the first sons, the first daughters, and began the chain, or the eternal round, of the family of humankind.

She is a noble and worthy example of what we want to become, what we desire to emulate. She lived in beauty. She lived in faith. She lived in harmony with the commandments of her God, the counsel of her husband and the elements of the magnificent world that had been given to them.

Every woman is a daughter. As daughters, we feel the challenge to bring honor to our mothers, to fulfill their hopes and dreams for us, to fulfill their faith in us. We do not need to understand them; we do not need to overlook their weaknesses, or agree with everything they do. But we are foolish if we do not learn from them. And we miss out on much pleasure if we do not enjoy sharing our lives with them.

I have five daughters — and, of course, have learned much. One daughter when she first became a teenager shrank from the idea of being "in public" with me and was horrified when I once unthinkingly attempted to slip her arm through mine while walking in a mall. I waited it out — but did not expect some of the blessings that came.

Only a few years later, this same daughter (along with her younger sister) had taken me to run an errand and then was supposed to drop me off at home to continue my writing while they went on to the mall together. As we talked I realized that the car had passed our street.

"Where are you going?" I asked.

"Oh, we’re kidnapping you," my daughter replied. "We want you to come with us."

She little knew what joy that moment brought, or how many afternoons of writing I would willingly give up just to be in company with my daughters!

Mothers are not the only ones who need to be patient; who need to love and forgive; who need to share.

My mother never understood me — and told me so often. I was constituted in so many ways entirely different from her. We loved one another, and we grew closer through time. But she had been far less than a perfect mother, especially during my growing-up years. Ah, what is it that has been said a hundred times? As Jill Churchill put it: "There is no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one."

It was not until the last challenging year and a half of my mother’s life that our hearts entirely opened to one another and intertwined.

It was when I had the opportunity of serving her, having her in my home for a season, then traveling with my husband and daughter from Provo to Salt Lake every Sabbath for a year to bring her a good meal and spend the remainder of the day together that her faults and failings diminished before my eyes. It was then that I saw her in all her tenderness and beauty and felt honored to be able, through service, to express my deep love for her. When she lay dying I was the one she called for — I was the one she turned to for counsel and strength.

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