As I write this, it is exactly one week from the day that Sheri will watch a mother be named American Mothers, Inc.’s 2011 Young Mother of the Year. We will no longer be able to refer to Sheri as THE Young Mother of the Year. We kid her that she will need to “give up her crown.” The reality is that there is no actual crown, and Sheri is even more humble about her abilities to parent today – especially when she compares herself to the other mothers in her network – than she was when she was named the 2010 Young Mother of the Year.
In honor of the passing of an age I decided to hijack Sheri’s blog and share the words I spoke at an event honoring Sheri this past year:
“Before I met Sheri I had a mental picture of what my wife would be like. She would be perfect in every way. Perfect hair, perfect face, perfect body, perfect judgment, always said the perfect thing at the perfect time – perfect, perfect, perfect. Then I met the Sheri, the woman I would befriend, fall in love with, marry – the woman with whom I would start a family. As it turned out, she was not perfect. However, it is in her imperfection that Sheri has become an incredible mother.
When our children were very young, Sheri recognized that she was not a perfect parent, so she sought help. She signed us up for parenting classes. She read books. She found mothers who had walked the parenthood path before she did and sought their council. She has taken every opportunity to learn to be a better mother.
Because she is not perfect, Sheri has made parenting mistakes and has learned from them. She has developed a set of experiences and tools that cover a wide variety of parenting issues. Mentoring younger mothers is a passion of Sheri’s. Since she has shared similar struggles, she is able to relate to young mothers’ challenges and is a very credible and sought after mentor.
And since Sheri has never been perfect, she has made mistakes in her life. Through those experiences she has been able to relate to our children’s struggles. She is able to anticipate trouble, and can speak to our kids from a place of empathy and compassion. They do not feel judged, they feel understood.
There is no better proof of this than the words of our eldest daughter written for a scholarship application prior to Sheri receiving the national title:
‘My mother’s wise advice, peaceful demeanor, and balanced life have not gone unnoticed, and she recently was nominated for the Young Mother of the Year award. She is currently Indiana’s nominee for Young Mother of the Year. This acknowledgment is something of a joke in our family, as my mother would never seek attention or reward for her efforts to be the best mother she can be. My mother is, truly, an amazing woman. She is selfless. She is resourceful. She is wise, intelligent, and empathetic. Her ability to know how people are feeling and relate appropriately to their emotions is impressive and even uncanny. Most teens vow never to become like their mother, but I aspire for the opposite: I hope that when I have my own children, the guidance and love of my mother shines through my character.’ ~Courtney Carlstrom, 2010
So Sheri is not an incredible mother in spite of her imperfection. She is an incredible mother, mentor, friend, and wife because she is not perfect and has used that to her very best advantage.
Sheri – we love you and are very proud of you. You deserve every acknowledgement you receive. You are OUR Mother of the Year EVERY year. Love, Kevin
This is a note to any husbands reading this blog entry: (Wives, feel free to show this to your husbands) Mother’s Day is coming. Write your wife a note letting her know why she would have your vote for Mother of the Year. It will be a gift she will cherish.