Ann Romney shares importance of family

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Ann Romney has had a varied life as the wife of a former Massachusetts governor, Utah Olympics chief, presidential candidate and now U.S. senator. (Kevin Lynch)

Ann Romney said her husband, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, always reminded her while they were living in Boston raising five boys, that what she was doing was important because her job is eternal.

At the time, Mitt Romney was achieving financial success, climbing the political ladder and becoming one of the most well-known figures in Boston.

Ann Romney said that during this time, their deep love and appreciation continued to grow for each other.

“We were such a partnership,” she said. “It was so enriching to be a partner with him raising those boys.”

As Mitt and Ann Romney experienced the joys of partnership, their relationship became an example to their five boys.

“The kids saw what a loving husband he was to me and what a loving father he was, and because of all that, my sons are the same way now with their wives,” Ann Romney said. 

Mitt and Ann Romney established a firm relationship at the beginning of their marriage. Ann Romney explained that the key to this was knowing that “marriage is an equal partnership.”

Their partnership led to success in different ways and affected many lives because of their example and desire to live a gospel-centered life.

“The world has different values for what success is,” Ann Romney said. “For the gospel-centered life, success is measured by family and success in family and the love that we have for each other.”

In a world of diverse views, different priorities, and daily challenges, true success means something different to all people. Because of her life experiences, she said she has come to understand what matters most.

She said realized the joys of motherhood, the importance of family and how to overcome difficulties. These lessons were put into perspective when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998.

Ann Romney said she created a way to find joy in the journey by living a life centered around friendship and family as the mother to five sons, grandmother to 24 grandchildren and wife and supporter of the two-time presidential candidate and now Utah senator, Mitt Romney.

MJ Henshaw, former communications director on Mitt Romney’s senate campaign, said she had personal experiences working with the Romneys that impacted her life for the better.

“(The Romneys) don’t define success by winning or losing or by titles; they define success by their relationships with family and with their faith,” Henshaw said.

Ann Romney said she learned the importance of motherhood from her own mother.

“I had the mother that was so nurturing and loving and did everything for her children,” she said. Because of her mother’s example, Ann Romney said she knew the kind of mother she wanted to be for her own children. 

Even though her sons have all married and have families of their own, Ann Romney said she still considers herself a full-time mother.

“Parenting never ends; you are always a parent. Now I am parenting my grandchildren in a very different way — through example and love and increasing that circle of influence. But my children, too, are still my highest priority,” Ann Romney said.

Her son Matt Romney reflected back on the challenging time in their family when his mom was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

“The fact that she raised us boys and we’re still alive is inspiring enough,” Matt Romney said.

Ann Romney is involved in a collaborative global pursuit called the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases. This research takes place at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and is intended to accelerate treatments, prevention and cures for five of the world’s most complex neurological diseases: multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Parkinson’s disease and brain tumors.

It’s so interesting how life takes you to different places. As a student at BYU, I would never have imagined that I would be running a brain research center,” Ann Romney said.

Recently, those working at the Ann Romney Center have turned their attention towards the importance of nutrition and how the food people consume can affect bodies’ reactions to fighting diseases.

“What we’re eating can literally be the medicine for longevity and healthy minds and healthy bodies. I want to tell everyone to be so careful about what you’re eating,” Ann Romney said.

At age 70, Ann Romney said she is relearning how to cook for her family now that she has gained knowledge about nutrition. She now experiments with alternative ways of cooking, such as zucchini brownies and chia pudding with avocado.

“If I told my grandkids what was in it, they probably wouldn’t eat it,” Ann Romney said.

Ann Romney’s care for herself, her family and those around her is apparent in the way she interacts with others.

“The first time I met Ann stands out in my head. I grew up in Utah and have heard about the Romneys my entire life, but when I met Ann, she was everything I wanted her to be and more,” Henshaw said. “She’s kind, warm and good to the core. She exceeded every expectation I had.”

Henshaw said that Ann Romney is constantly looking for ways to do good and improve people’s lives. As a loyal BYU fan, Ann Romney has taken the motto “enter to learn, go forth to serve,” to heart and said BYU students can do the same by serving others and being an example.

“More than ever, we need the gospel principles of love and shedding our reactionary feelings and replacing them with feelings of love for our fellow man,” she said. “Embrace your friendships and know that those things are what are lasting.”

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