“A Mother’s Love in Reflection,” New Era, Mar. 1985, 36
As I stare into the bathroom mirror each morning at the beginning of a new day, I resolve to follow an example that was set for me long ago. In fact, glancing into any mirror takes me back years to one childish incident that has helped shape my entire life.
It was a Monday morning—but one that was a little more hectic than usual. I had slept in half an hour late. I couldn’t find the clothes I wanted to wear, and the hairdo I had tried to copy from Seventeen magazine for the month of November was (to say the least) not too attractive on me. My mother informed me in the midst of my frustrations that if I missed the bus I would be walking to school. But the real clincher was the announcement that I would not be allowed to leave until I made my bed and vacuumed my room.
As a 13-year-old, I had a difficult time coping with all of this responsibility. I flatly told my mother I was sorry, but I had more important things to do. Unfortunately, my mother does not accept refusals, and so I began a tirade of excuses, listing every unappreciated task I had ever carried out since age five. As the tears of anger and frustration slid down my cheeks, my temper mounted. Knowing I couldn’t win this argument, I ran to the bathroom, locked the door, and pouted.
Sitting on the edge of the counter, knowing I had missed the bus, and knowing I would be walking to school, my anger boiled over. I grabbed a bright red tube of lipstick that was lying in the open drawer and viciously scrawled the words “I hate you” across the mirror. Feeling I had avenged my hurt, I snuck out of the bathroom, grabbed my books, and trudged on to school through the autumn leaves.
All day long, the guilt and shame I felt at writing those words ate at me like acid. How could I have possibly told my mother that I hated her? I knew I loved her and hadn’t meant those words written in such haste. But what about my mother? Did she know that? Could she love me at all after what I had done?
Dragging my feet on the way home from the bus stop at the end of the street, I dreaded facing my mother. Quietly creeping through the back door, I snuck into the bathroom so I could wipe the lipstick off the glass. There I saw a neatly printed sentence right below mine. It too was done in bright red. As I stared at it, the words flooded my mind with new insight and understanding. “I love you” stared at me from the mirror, and in that one reflective moment I realized that no matter what I did my mother would always love me.
It is this knowledge that has helped me to feel accepted and important in life. And it is my mother’s love and charity that has taught me what love really is. For I truly believe mothers come closer to having a perfect love, as the Savior taught, than any other beings on earth.