In honor of mother’s day this weekend, I asked my mom if she’d be a part of my women of inspiration series. I had a feeling she wasn’t going to be happy about it. Annnnnnd she wasn’t. But she did it anyway cause that’s what mom’s do for their kids. And I’ve really honed my persuasive skills.
What I didn’t tell her was that I just wanted a chance to show her off to the world. She’s generally quiet and reserved, but she’s wise, funny (yes, Mom, I definitely think you’re funny), a great listener, and full of integrity and love. She has the best singing voice of anyone I’ve ever heard (and I’m not even biased), she’s crazy smart, and an amazing writer. She also plays a mean game of trivial pursuit and could mop the floor in Jeopardy.
My mom was the perfect mom for me. She just let me be me. No force. No objections. No pushing or pulling. She just loved and accepted me for who I was at whatever phase I was in (including the really long phase where I was as tom-boy as girls get). That’s a pretty incredible thing to do as a parent. And I am so grateful to her for that.
Mom. I love you. Thank you for doing this interview for me despite the curse words I imagine you said under your breath. Or out loud. I learned more about you and I am SO proud to call you my mom. Happy Mother’s Day weekend!!!
1. Give me a quick peek at your story.
I, Katherine Jane Easton Thueson (aka Kathy), was born in Payson, Utah, of goodly parents who had temporarily left their California home for a job in Utah. My mom and dad came from families of 13 and 10 children respectively, but I have only one sibling, a brother four years older than I. I grew up in San Fernando, California. The Los Angeles Unified School District had split-term graduating classes. In the second grade, I was skipped from B2 to A2 because of my incorrigible behavior, aka boredom, which put me in a February graduating class from high school 10 years later. After high school, I attended Los Angeles Valley Junior College for a year and a half. I then went to B.Y.U. for four years, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts. . I majored in Speech/Drama and minored in music. I went back for a fifth year to get a teaching certificate, finally realizing I had to have some marketable, life-sustaining skill beyond perpetual student. Six months later I went to Hawaii where I taught at Farrington High School in Honolulu for the next three years. I met my husband there between my second and third years. We were married at the end of the third. We spent the next seven years in the military in El Paso, Honolulu, and Salinas, California. Three of our children were born in Honolulu. Post Army we moved to Blackfoot, Idaho, where we had three more children during the almost 10 years we lived there. Our final stop has been Sandy, Utah, where we have lived for 29 years.
2. Tell me about an “every day moment” you are grateful for.
I love my early-morning personal time. I get up before the sun, have a good long visit with the Lord, read from the Book of Mormon, and gear up for the day. Of course this is a luxury I have only been able to afford indulgence in since there are no longer children to get off to school and a husband off to work, and a tired mom to bust out of bed after a restless night with a sick child.
3. What is one ambition you have right now?
I want to do some serious and successful Family History work. Time is running out. I will sooner rather than later be meeting my departed relatives and I want to make sure I know who they are, and that they have no cause to be mad at me because I didn’t get their temple work done.
4. If you could speak on anything to a large group of women, what would you talk about?
I would encourage them to take advantage of every opportunity to protect their own singular and individual identity and to relish it, to continue to use their inherent and developed talents and gifts regardless of age or parenting and marriage demands, and especially to maintain their ability to provide an income or contribute to one if necessary, preferably doing something they love.
5. What does the phrase “create a good life story” mean to you?
I agree with the premise that our sojourn on this earth is our story, perhaps made up of a series of smaller stories. How that story reads or plays out largely depends on choices we make, opportunities we seize, obstacles we conquer, adversity we overcome, negative temptation we choose to thwart.
6. Tell me something someone taught you that made an impact on the course of your story.
From a beloved drama professor at BYU: never apologize for being unprepared. Avoid the need to apologize by meeting the deadline, being as prepared as possible, doing the best you can under the circumstances, and as gracefully as possible accepting the outcome.
7. Name one event in your life that has made a significant impact on the course of your life.
My mother bargaining with me to get me to go to college. When I finished high school, having had a less than challenging educational experience, I was so not interested in going any further. She begged me to just try one semester and promised she wouldn’t try to further persuade me if I didn’t like it. Reluctantly I agreed. To both of our surprise, I think, I got involved in a music program in a local junior college that opened up a whole new way of my looking at the world.
8. What is something you want to accomplish you haven’t yet?
I would like to finish an embarrassingly high number of stored quilt and needlework projects in various stages from barely started to almost done, some of which go as far back as my early years in Hawaii.
9. What photographs are you most grateful for from your childhood or teen years?
Events of import, like graduations, recitals, early vacations, family reunions, departed loved ones
10. What are you most proud of?
Almost 45 years of marriage to my continually amazing and eternally patient husband, our six wonderful children, our five cherished in-law children, and our twelve and a half beautiful grandchildren.
11. What is the best parenting advice/tip someone gave you?
Trust your own maternal instincts, particularly when evaluating unsolicited advice from well-meaning friends who may not yet even be parents.
12. Tell me something you are sure of.
Time passes, no matter with you do with it, or it does to you.
13. What is your favorite quote or your life motto?
“Be kind to everything and everyone, including oneself, all the time, with no exceptions.”
14. What is your favorite part about yourself (not a physical trait).
Perhaps my sense of order and my all-consuming quest to achieve it—which can also be a curse.
15. What type of photographs do you wish you had more of?
Pictures of friends from the past, some of who I have even lost track of or who have died.
16. What is something you do to help drive away fear or anxiety.
Take a deep breath, try to distract myself with something I love, and pray a lot—not necessarily in that order.
17. What is your favorite thing about being a mom? Your least favorite part?
I love seeing the growth process, the evolution from dependent child to amazing, intelligent, creative, independent adulthood. I hate having to observe, but largely be unable to do much about beyond probably inadequate comforting words or a listening ear, disappointment or emotional disaster.
18. Tell me something about yourself that may surprise people?
I really do have a sense of humor.
19. What’s one thing you wish you would have known when you were younger?
To not take myself, or life, too seriously.
And for fun:
Favorite book: “My Grandfather’s Blessings” by Rachel Naomi Remens
Favorite family tradition: Sunday dinner at our house with the whole family
Something you enjoy doing with your spouse: going to movies
Talent you wish you had: drawing, at least well enough to play Pictionary without getting scorned
Favorite meal: Honeybaked ham, baked potato, cooked spinach, Caesar salad, chocolate cake
If you never had to do one specific thing again, what would it be? Clean a bathroom
Favorite shows on TV: “NCIS” and Nightly News with Brian Williams
Something that scares you: heights, general anesthesia, singing solos in public
Favorite thing about your husband: his consistent ability to make people—anyone—laugh
Something you can’t live without: a good book to escape into
What’s something you think about often: how very blessed I am
Thanks Mom!! I owe you. A lot.
To read more “Real Life Stories–Women of Inspiration” interviews, click HERE.