Mother’s Day this year is special—I’ve been somebody’s mother for 49 years and three days, and I still have my mother. Making that statement brings a smile to my face and great joy to my heart.
As a child I thought my mother was grand—she drove wherever she wanted to go when many women her age didn’t. She worked outside our home—never mind she worked at our school and was way too handy if we misbehaved, and when my friends had older parents, my mother was young and beautiful.
At the time I didn’t realize how young—she married at 16 and had had seven of us by the time she was 29. At 43, they added an eighth child to the mix.
She was small in stature but was no-nonsense. I guess when your children get bigger than you are it would be important to have already instilled the fear of God in them or they’d be out of control. My mother is now 85 and needing a little help and care to get from points A to B, but I feel privileged and honored to help.
As I spend more time with her, I’ve discovered that she, too, is an adventurer. She loves driving country roads with no agenda except to discover what’s ahead, and the thing that warms my heart most is to see how others react when and wherever they see her.
She worked as a teacher’s aide for more than 30 years so she touched the lives of thousands of children and they all remember her and remark about how kind she was. She gently reminds them that they were little tykes when she knew them and many times, she doesn’t recognize them all grown up with beards, gray hair, and grandchildren.
Others she has known over the years through her civic, community, church, and other activities also enjoy saying hello, and every single person asks how they can help, whether to hold the door or help her down the stairs. I’ve seen the best of humanity these past months as the whole community remembers to honor this precious community treasure.
I am blessed to still have my mother and have an opportunity to hug and gently remind her of how proud I am to be her second born. The lessons she taught and live are never far from my thoughts; be kind, treat everybody like you want to be treated, watch your language, expect the best from people and that’s what you get, help one another, go to Sunday School, and be sweet.
As politics, oppressive missives, and other troubling discussions muddy the conversations around human life and who has a right to it, I am reminded of something else my mother said: know what you stand for, make your own choices, and live with them. That was great advice then and now
I’ve seen her stand tall and unwavering in the storms, make very fine lemonade, lemon meringue pie, and lemon cookies from the hand she was dealt and never once heard her be mean, nasty, or bitter.
I’ve seen her commitment—if she’s in it, she’s in it all the way–no half-stepping for this grand lady. Today as I look at my mother and the generations she leads, and as I celebrate my own, I see hope, grace, and light that serves as a path for who and what we will become.
As we salute our beloved mothers, grandmothers, other mothers, and those who served in this role, we must remember that this privilege is sacred. And so are our bodies.
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