I had occasion today to open up the blog again. Michael and I had a unique opportunity to accept an award yesterday and I wanted to document our experience here to honor Amos and all he still does to help raise our beautiful children.
A few weeks ago we heard we were nominated as National Parents of the Year. The nomination was made not just for me and Michael but included Amos because of the accomplishments of his children. During America’s Got Talent, I remember him saying he wasn’t afraid of dying, only afraid of not being around to see his children accomplish their goals. Even though he did pass on, I believe he has not only been able see his children accomplish their goals but help them accomplish their goals. We all continue to feel his influence and look back to his example.
Our children have had some particularly amazing accomplishments this year. Those who nominated us saw our young girls involved in student government and community service while being at the top of their academic classes, a son finishing a two-year full-time, volunteer mission and a daughter continuing to light the world with her music career while finishing both 11th and 12th grade simultaneously and moving on to college.
These accomplishments don’t come from the efforts of one or two people but from the constant influence of Heavenly Parents and from generations of good parents who came before. My dad’s recent passing reminded me how important great parents and grandparents are. I was telling Michael’s mom this morning and Amos’s mom last night that it takes a team and I’m so grateful we have #teamamos. I shared in my acceptance speech something I learned from my parents’ example; teaching my kids the importance of joyfully accepting every opportunity to serve because when we serve others out of a love for God, the act of service helps us more than actual service helps the people we serve.
It’s amazing to me that Michael has been able to learn so much from a person he has never met. He gave a beautiful speech yesterday speaking about when Jesus asked Peter to feed His lambs to show is love for Him. He differentiated lambs and sheep and to him lambs represent the special mission we have to care for children. Michael joined our family at a dark time in his life. He had amazing parents himself but had lost his way. He said to Blakely yesterday after church that it wasn’t only me who helped him back from that darkness, but the light and knowledge from my children that was instilled in them through Amos. Both Michael and I have spouses who died of cancer. His wife died many years ago but he still has beautiful memories of her goodness. The kids and I help teach Michael the way to live, daily, through “dad taught us” memories and Michael is humble enough to glean from those while adding his own strengths to the teamwork it takes to raise children in this world.
Normally it would have been in a ballroom in Washington DC but due to the pandemic, we were honored over Zoom yesterday, on National Parent’s Day, by Congressman Dan Burton, Dr. Michael Jenkins, Chairman of the National Parents’ Day Committee and a coalition of co-sponsoring organizations including the Universal Peace Federation.
Ever since the nomination, my kids have been teasing me relentlessly. Last night I ruined something I was baking by not measuring the ingredients and by failing to set the timer correctly. I heard snickers from my kids saying,
“Yep, there she is, parent of the year!”
We are all just doing our best with the circumstances we’ve been given, trying every moment to move forward and do a little better. Thankfully kids are resilient.