The next time you see a Volkswagen Beetle, I’d like you to think of my mother, Eve Manwaring.
You see, Mom has always loved Volkswagen Beetles. And several years ago she finally got her hands on one. It was her pride and joy — and I say that in the past tense for a reason.
When a woman ran a red light at 40-50 mph and hit me in my car, my life instantly changed. Not only did I suffer serious injuries that made me largely an invalid, I also had no access to reliable transportation for those times I was stable enough to travel.
As I wrestled with the reality of my situation, Mom asked if she could trade in her car to help me get a car. I fought her at first because I foolishly fight against most offers of help — especially when the help offered represents significant sacrifice. But I quickly came to see that it wasn’t a sacrifice in my mother’s eyes. It was an honor.
I was humbled to tears to see my mother jump at the opportunity to give up one of the only possessions she cared about.
Her actions in that particular case are no different than so many over the course of my entire life. She constantly seeks for ways to nurture and share her compassion with me, with my siblings and with anyone she sees in need.
What makes my mother’s love even more special to me is that she has done all this through decades of illness — even during times when her ailments led others to harshly judge her.
When she had three small children at home and a husband who was an invalid as a result of several major back surgeries, my mother did everything she could to be a supportive wife, a loving parent and a righteous daughter of God.
I remember one day when I was very young. Times were tough, but I didn’t know it. One night, we had marshmallows for dinner. My siblings and I thought it was like Christmas morning to have dessert for dinner. What we didn’t know was that skyrocketing medical bills combined with limited income and support from others created a situation where it was literally difficult to put food on the table. Yet my mother took a horrible situation in which she probably felt scared and depressed and made us feel safe and happy.
She has always been like that. Every single day of my life, she has dealt with severe physical pains and external circumstances that have left her in need of help from others — but that most often see her setting aside her own needs to help others.
My mother is someone who lives to make the lives of others easier. My mother is someone who joys in the good news of the restored gospel and keeps the commandments of the Lord. My mother is someone who loves with unconditional love.
My mother is not mentioned by name with the righteous women in the scriptures. She is, however, mentioned more than once in my personal journal where I record only a small sampling of the words and actions that make her beautiful.
I am so grateful for a mother who has shared her love with so many, in so many ways, for so very long.
On this Mother’s Day, Mom — I want to shout to the world how dearly I love you. I’ll never be able to see a "slug-bug" without thinking of your pure, eternal, unconditional love.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company