Lori Walker is many things — area real estate agent, volunteer and PTA member — but she says her role as the mother of four children is far and away the most meaningful of all.

“I think motherhood is a calling,” Walker says. “If it’s done right, it’s the most rewarding thing ever.”

Walker explains that well before she and her husband Sam decided to start a family, she got her first glimpses of motherhood through the positive examples set by her own mother and her grandmothers, whom she described as both loving and hard working.

“You watch these incredible women who came before you and you want to emulate that,” Walker says. “You want to be the kind of mother they are and were.”

Following the birth of her three daughters and son, Walker says she began to understand just how strong her mother was and just how strong she would have to be.

“It made me realize that having a kid is like carrying your heart through the world while it’s outside your body,” Walker says.

With her oldest daughter a freshman in college and her only son soon to graduate high school, Walker says it’s surreal to think about how quickly her kids have grown up. Walker says while many parents might long to return to their children’s younger years, she and her husband are happy to watch their kids grow and move on to new things.

“I know a lot of people sort of feel sad and reminiscent as their kids get older, but we really enjoy watching our kids at every stage,” Walker says. “Yes, it’s hard when they go off to school, but there’s this part of you that’s just so proud and it says ‘Hey, they did it and you did your job.’”

Walker says while it can be difficult to find free time among her many professional and family responsibilities, she feels she has set a strong example for her children and shown them that no task is too big to tackle.

“I think for all my kids, but especially for my girls, I hope they can see that there’s no stopping them,” Walker says. “I can do multiple things, I can be a successful business woman, but I can be involved in their schools, I can volunteer and I can be a good mother.”

As her children continue on to adulthood, Walker says she will always remember and cherish the home-made Mother’s Day gifts she has received over the years. Walker says she plans to spend Mother’s Day this year on the road, supporting her daughter as she competes in an international cheerleading competition. And Walker says seeing her daughter succeed may just be the best gift she or any mom could ask for.

“Of course, I would be super proud to see her become a world champion,” Walker says. “But I think when you become a mother, you gain more joy when you see your child work so hard for something and achieve that dream.”