Since 1994 Mother’s Day has always been a bittersweet time of the year for me.
That’s the year my mother died so I don’t have an “official” mother to honor this coming Sunday. My “other” mother was my grandmother (Mom). She died in 1978. Mom basically raised me while my mother worked as a single mom to provide a living.
Those two women were major influences in my life. Both were special and I loved them dearly. And while I can’t honor them in person I have sweet memories of them both.
But God, in His wisdom, knew it would take more than those two to deal with me, so He strategically placed other “unofficial” mothers in my life along the way.
I imagine I am not alone. I think most people can think of special women in their life who played a role in their upbringing, whether it be a special aunt, a neighbor or perhaps a key Sunday School teacher. A list like this is dangerous because I may leave someone off. I apologize if I do.
I was blessed in my childhood to have had several women who helped “me toe the line.” Among them were Shirley Coggins, Beatrice Nease and Ruby Hagood, three sisters who played a major role in my life. One (Shirley) was the mother of my childhood best friend. Bea lived directly across the street and Ruby was my first “boss.” She and her husband Henry ran the farm I worked on during the summer. We all went to the same church. Not many days went by when one of them didn’t have an eye on me.
But perhaps the most influential “other” mother in my life was, and still is today, my Aunt Lynn. She joined our family when she married my Uncle Bill about two years after I was born. In her words, she “helped raise me.” I can’t dispute that. Truth be known she taught me a few things that my mother and grandmother probably wish she had kept to herself. Lynn is a special lady who I still go to today when I need advice or encouragement.
And, even when I reached adulthood, God still placed some other “mothers” in my path who became an important part of my life. Two who immediately come to mind are Jeanne Fraser who worked with me at the Education Commission. The other was Marilyn Belew Eells. Marilyn and I tell people we “adopted” each other, Marilyn, who now lives in another city, is still called “Granny” by both of my kids even though we don’t see each other as often as we would like. She became an integral part of our family.
Mothers are a special breed. They can love when we are unlovable. They care for us when we are at our worse. They are always there for us. A mom is willing to go without things they want and desire to provide for their children.
The list of attributes of a great mom can fill this page. I was blessed to have had both a Christian mother and grandmother. All the other “moms” in my life were or are Christian. You can be a good mom without knowing the Lord, but a Christian mom is indeed a blessing.
Though I don’t have a mother to honor this Sunday I can help honor my wife Joyce who has been a tremendous mother to our children. And for those other moms in my life, I can let them know what they meant in my life. I would encourage you to do the same for those special women in your life as well.
And, next year, if things go well, I will get to see my daughter Joanna become a mom for the first time as she recently broke the news to us that we will become grandparents.
My prayer for my daughter is that she will have all the good traits of her mother and all the moms (both official and unofficial) in my life. She has a good start because she is married to a fine young man. Together Joanna and Matt are establishing a strong Christian home where God is a priority. What more could a dad or grandpa want?
Happy Mother’s Day.