One evening, early in my relationship with Sam (on our second date, actually!!),
we were walking down Center Street in Provo and I stopped to admire a bronze statue of a woman holding a baby.
We talked about the statue for a moment, and then continued on our way.
And as we walked, Sam said, "Speaking of mothers...what are your feelings on motherhood?"
I hopped on my soapbox and talked for a couple of minutes about how important motherhood was to me.
And that was the last major test I had to pass, in his eyes, before continuing the relationship.
From the very beginning, I've seen how parenthood is so important to Sam.
I remember the first time I saw him play with little kids for an extended period of time.
It was just a month or two after we were married, and we volunteered to babysit during a church activity.
The gym was filled with children, and there were a couple of little red-head boys in particular that were rough-housing with Sam...jumping on him, tackling him, and having the time of their lives.
I sat back and admired that man of mine as he transformed into a child again,
and I was so satisfied when, after the event, he expressed his hopes that we would someday have "rumbly-tumbly" little kids. That wish has definitely been fulfilled!
I'm so grateful to share parenthood with him.
And I hope that someday my children will recognize how privileged they are to have him as their father...
a man who never slacks on his duties, who works incredibly hard, who provides for our needs, who teaches them chivalry and respect, who loves their mother whole-heartedly, whose understanding of Gospel truths runs so deep, and who adores his little boys.
I was likewise blessed with a wonderful father.
He is one of the smartest men I've ever known--when we were young, we could ask him anything, it seemed, and he would always have an answer, from what tar on the roads was made from to how planets maintained their orbits around the sun.
His testimony has been a rock in the foundation of my own, and his Gospel knowledge has always been something I've admired.
His logical thinking appeals to my own logic-seeking mind, and his generosity to others will always inspire me.
When I graduated from high school, my dad wrote me a letter that included the following statement that has uplifted, encouraged, and motivated me:
"Life is designed to provide stretching moments sprinkled throughout the normal, joyful path of life. I'm sure there will be occasions when you feel less than ecstatic about the way things are going. That is normal and expected, so I hope during such times you will be neither unreasonably discouraged, nor hard on yourself, nor have expectations that are unreasonably high. Try to maintain balance as much as possible, and to remember that ever since the Fall of Adam and Eve, no totally mortal being has ever been, nor ever will be, perfect. We all struggle at times. We stumble and fall, but we pick ourselves back up and with faith and hope and a recognition that we are children of Deity-the Creator of this universe, we press on. We could not reach our full potential if every act we performed were outstanding. Thankfully, because of the power of the Atonement, our best is good enough, even when we don't think so."