Reflections Upon Arriving
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“Reflections Upon Arriving,” Ensign, June 1975, 44

Reflections Upon Arriving

This is Mother’s Day, and my 21st birthday. As I trace back in my mind all the offerings I have given you to commemorate this day, from burnt toast to books, I know that somehow those would not be appropriate today. For this day, unlike all the others, I stand, because of your very being, tall and proud, with womanhood before me.

For me, “freedom” does not have the same ring today that it had two years ago, or even last year. Now I have at last understood the challenging call of motherhood that you (and for me, no other but you) have filled.

I have never known hunger, but in your mind’s eye you still see the ravages of a depression and have worked until your beautiful hands were red so that the ghosts of a growling stomach would not haunt me at night.

For a long time, I could not comprehend why my childish brawling upset you so, but now my history book tells me that your generation saw Hitler.

Although you sometimes gently chided me when our voices shrieked out homemade police sirens, and although you cringed when a tornado warning would sound, you never spoke what I later learned—that any sound remotely approximating a siren harrowed up terror-filled nights, for your home was on the Florida coast during those days. And you never told me, because your legacy to me has been one of peace.

And so, on this special day, what can I say? Only this, that having arrived at the age of maturity, I can clearly see, surveying the past, that the attaining of adulthood lies in the perfection of family ties rather than the right to become free of them.

As you reach into your apron pocket and hand me the scissors (the old worn ones with which you have cut so many patches and traced so many orange pumpkins and black witches on Halloween) that I may cut the strings so long and impatiently tugged at, I realize at last that the perfection of my womanhood lies in the emulation of yours. Carolyn D. King, Provo, Utah