Looking back it’s clear to me that the home I grew up in was special. I was provided with food and shelter, safety and security. But there was something more. It had less to do with the structure of the house and everything to do with dear, loving parents. For the moment I want to focus on my mom.
Some of the greatest gifts I have been given I’ve received at the hands of my mother. First and foremost is the gift of life itself. Hers was the first smile I saw. Countless nights she rocked me to sleep singing Pennies from Heaven. Her love and nurturing helped me start my journey through life on solid ground.
My mom has taught me so many things. I remember vividly the day she taught me to water ski. I was eight years old. We were camped at Woodward Reservoir. My Grandpa Nott kept the boat parallel to the shore while I was learning. Mom stayed in the water coaching me. When I was poised to take off she would yell, “Hit it!” The boat would surge, I would try to come up, my wobbly legs would fail me and down I would go. Each time I fell she would swim to me with her smile and encouraging words. After about my fourth try I popped up out of the water and took off gliding around the lake as I had seen her do so often with such grace.
She provided me with opportunities to discover my connection with Mother Earth and gain an appreciation for nature. I treasure memories of our bright family outings. We had more than our fair share of them. I love every mountain range I have ever seen, but there is something about the area you first explored in your youth. To me, the majesty of the Sierra Nevadas has no rival. My mom introduced me to lakes and streams and snow. With her I uncovered the beauty of rocks, of hillsides, of sunlight through the trees. I share my mother’s love of the ocean. Nothing compares to the peace I feel looking out at the sea.
She helped me understand the strength and joy of family and the ties that bind. I would not have come to study music were it not for her encouragement and willingness to sacrifice for me. And from her example I have gained a deep and abiding love for our Savior, Jesus Christ.
My childhood was filled with fun and sun, with songs and laughter, and with a reverence for God and His creations. I am afraid I owe my mom a debt I can never repay. All I can do is take what she has given me -- this love for family and nature, for music, and for our God and pass it along to my children. They, in turn, can teach their children and in so doing a mother’s influence will live on.
My mother gave me the world! She is my Jackie O.
For you, mom, with love . . .