How will you honor or remember your mom on Mother’s Day? This is one of the most celebrated days of the year, and rightly so. Every flower, card, box of candy or gift given to a mother is money well spent. Yet, the best gift of all is spending time with the one who gave you life. Every mother deserves to be spoiled a little and pampered a lot every day of the year, not just the one set aside to honor them in May.
Writing about mothers is a tender topic. Reflecting on my mother opens a treasure chest overflowing with memories. Every child has a chest filled with motherly collectibles. Mother’s Day is the perfect time to recount love for her and realize those collectible memories are priceless.
If you are blessed to wear a red rose this Mother’s Day, give thanks to God and to your mother throughout the day. My rose will be white for my mother lives in heaven. As I grow older, every day prayers and talks with my Mother and my Master are sweeter than the day before. Visiting her grave with a respectful, thankful heart is something I will do until I die, even though she is not there. This is another lesson mom taught through example. I remember loading up flowers in the back of our car and heading to different graveyards where family members were buried. On our journeys to pay respect and place pretty flowers on the graves, mother would tell me stories about our departed loved ones. Mama Baggett’s grave is one where we tarried longer. Many times I watched my mother touch the tombstone and pat the ground where her mother was laid to rest. When we left, there was always a story to share about Mrs. Berta, which is what my daddy called his mother-in-law. He loved her like a mother, but enjoyed the times when mama would get all stirred up over this or that and he would say, “Now, Mary Dean the Berta is brewing, just calm down and everything will be OK.”
The story of Mama Baggett eating Sunday dinner with our family and the preacher after church is a favorite. During the blessing, Billy kicked my sisters and me under the table and winked when we looked up. He took a big wad of bubble gum from his mouth and stuck it in one of mama’s homemade biscuits. After amen, his devilish action was disguised when he passed the plate of biscuits and put the one he sabotaged on grandma’s plate. With all the talking and carrying on, it took awhile for her to get around to biting into her biscuit. We waited with anticipation; she munched down on that big biscuit and the sticky gum pulled her dentures loose. It was like a big Greek dinner with all of us laughing and our poor mama trying to figure out what in the world was happening.
Mama Baggett was a precious little lady who loved to wear hats and dress up for any occasion. I can see her now with that pretty hat on her head and those teeth clinging to the biscuit. Daddy cleared his throat, a sure sign for his children to straighten up and stop the foolishness. We knew he meant business even though he and the preacher chuckled louder than anyone. Mama Baggett handled the whole thing with dignity, as she did all the things life brought to her heart and home. She laughed with us while getting those dentures back in place like lightning. Mama was the one who wore the frown and never thought the little biscuit episode was the least bit funny. We pointed the finger at our brother, but by the time dessert was served, mama was smiling and all was well in the Smith home. One lesson all children learn to discern is: if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
Recently, I left my mother and father’s grave site with such joy in my heart. I opened my chest of memories and shared deep love and appreciation for all they did to raise up children in the way they should go. I praised God for giving me caring, Christian parents. I thanked Him and them for things I thought were so insignificant when we were making family memories. Today, those collectibles are stuck to my heart like the gum did to grandma’s teeth.
Mother’s Day reminds us of special birthday parties and playing in the park, meals mamas make to their darlings’ delight and loads of laundry done up just right, going to church to find the right way and getting your day’s work done before going out to play, sitting up late to talk about things and getting excited when bells of graduation, marriage, etc. ring, taking two jobs to pay the bills and buying prom dresses and tuxedos that give her children thrills, caring and crying when loved ones become sick or die and always taking time to pray and help her children understand why, earns a mother’s crown to be worn in humility and honor.
I stooped to touch the concrete angel sitting beside my parents’ graves, with so much happiness flowing and heartaches love has erased. Memories of tough times tried to surface inside my heart that time has tendered. My thoughts turned to seasons when my parents seemed to know so little and expected so much. I didn’t understand them but chose to respect instead of rebel. The choices we make can break apart or bind together families. I softly stomped the ground and told the enemy he did not have his way. My mama and daddy built our house on solid ground with Christian love forever to stay…even when the Master called and they went away. Teardrops did fall in seasons when we knew not why and did cry, while trusting God to one day show us why. But never did we give up or bail out on one another, we stayed true to faith and family…parents, sisters and brother. I looked up in the blue sky with cotton candy clouds that confirmed our Lord is King of Kings, with authority and final victory over everything. A cool, spring breeze blew grey hair across my eyes fixed on heaven, thanking my Mother and my Maker. I whispered a prayer of thanksgiving for mother and motherhood as I dried my eyes and turned to leave. My thoughts turned to Cameron and Clint, the sons God gave Tim and me to love and cherish. They are gifts that keep on giving, loving, and making their mama proud and happy as I grow older and closer to them and the Lord.
I stood proudly by the squares of concrete that mark my parent’s graves and sang mama’s favorite song…Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see. When we’ve been there ten thousand years bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we first begun. I thanked God for her and for heaven.
This Mother’s Day is a red letter date for all who are blessed to be mothers. Many women will be honored and remembered who never gave birth but give unconditional love to children God put in their hearts and homes. May all mothers feel God’s grace and glory while carrying the torch of motherhood through good times and bad, sickness and health, forgiveness and faith — forever and ever.