Creating family bonds by playing together

Credit: Travis J Photography


Mary Fairbanks, who was chosen to represent the state of Alaska as Mother of the Year, grew up loving education and studied to be a nurse. But, she said, the desire of her heart was to be a mother.

She was raised by parents who were great examples of Christlike love. Speaking of her father and mother, she said, “They were great examples of service. They were always involved in teaching us to learn to serve others.”

Her mother was an outgoing woman — she went out of her way to meet people. She passed this trait of friendliness along to her family. Another thing that was important to her own mother was to ensure that the family was taught with a strong Church foundation, which was fostered by scripture study, family home evening and family time.

Some of the things that have made Sister Fairbanks grateful for her decision to become a mother were “little everyday moments” with her five children.

“I enjoyed the little everyday moments — doing crafts in the kitchen, doing yard work together, playing together.”

“Playing together” consisted of hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, boating, rafting — anything outdoors.

While she loved getting together with her entire family, she loved being with her children on a one-on-one basis as well. “I loved the individual moments,” she said. “Certainly mothering is hard, [but] the paydays of motherhood are seeing your children becoming these amazing adults.”

Some of her favorite things were going to her children’s graduations, watching her children leave for missions and being with them when they received the blessings of the temple.

Now that all of her children have moved out, she has embraced being a grandmother. “Being a grandmother is an awesome joy,” she said.

Sister Fairbanks and her husband, Norman, recently were released from serving in the Anchorage Alaska Temple, he as a counselor in the temple presidency and she as an assistant to the temple matron. She is serving as second counselor in the Relief Society presidency in the Sand Lake Ward in the Anchorage Alaska stake.

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