Mother’s Day In Lieu of a Card
I looked through a few cards last weekend for my Mother, Granny and my Aunt. I never bought one…not a single card. Sure they were beautiful, some cute and others just funny, but nothing Hallmark or American Greetings could offer quite fit the bill. Let’s face it, I have been buying Mother’s Day cards for many, many years. The sentiments are basically the same. That is just not good enough. Fortunately, I write and I have a blog.
I am well aware I have been a challenging child for you. Even as an adult, I pushed you to the brink of sheer madness at times. Before anyone knew me, you already saw great things in me. You pushed me past comfort zones and opened the doors of the world to my curious mind. Though the constant sound of my voice asking “why” must have been frustrating, you never shied away from letting me discover answers. As a parent of adult children, I can now appreciate how strong you had to be as I grew up.
When I became a parent, you tried to help me be the best parent I could be. I have never lacked for strong will or stubbornness, so often I failed to heed your loving advice. Listening to your hard won wisdom would have saved many tears. When the tears came, you were always there to love me, support me and try to help me put the pieces back together. For that I can never express my gratitude.
I am blessed with a loving husband and healthy, stubborn children of my own. I have accomplished much in the eyes of others. I work with young women in our church youth group who lavish me with love and praise. I am the woman they see because of you. You raised me to be strong, creative and even a little strong willed. I’m no shrinking violet, thanks to you. I love you, Mom. You will always be the most important woman in my life! I stand today and call you “Blessed”.
I could never call Grandma…I called Granny. (If I called her Grandma I got “the look” you know the one.) Granny, along with Mom, cultivated my love of music. My earliest memories of time with Granny and Mom revolve around practicing Southern Gospel Music to sing at the Fayetteville Central Fire Department. My fondest memories are singing with these two phenomenal women.
Music was not always a happy subject. Granny trying to teach me piano…well let’s just say, I do not play the piano. When I took up the Viola it was incorporated into the musical exploits of our family. Granny would accompany me as I played Christmas Carols on my instrument. Later, my sister would follow on the Cello. Granny always encouraged my voice. She challenged me to sing and stretch my boundaries. In all my life, I never stopped singing. I may not be on stage leading worship or performing specials, but a day never passes without singing. Granny planted the song in my heart. Mom watered it. Music is equal to writing when it comes to my creative expression. Music is where I am able to praise and worship, drawing nearer to God. Music is the greatest gift I could have asked for, but never had too cause Granny was giving it with a no return clause.
Dedication is another trait cultivated from my Granny. (In truth from Mom and Aunt Carolyn too.) Granny has been involved with an outreach ministry for over 50 years. She used to play the accordion, but for the last several years has played keyboard for the music at the Central Fire Department in Fayetteville, NC. Every Sunday she and Mom are there, it is rare for them to miss. Relationships have been cultivated in this ministry and many of these public servants have become close family friends. One of them even saved my life. I cannot imagine what life would look like without my experiences growing up in the Fire Station Ministry. Thank you for teaching Mom and myself the love of music and of ministry at young ages. It is a legacy planted deep in our hearts, as well as, the heart of my sister and niece. No Grandma could have given a more valuable gift. I love you, Granny.
Aunt Carolyn cultivated three great loves in my life: 1. reading, which of course led to writing; 2. education and 3. embracing my silly. Where Mom often got frustrated by my asking why, Aunt Carolyn embraced it. (She was a why child as well.) I remember being young and going to the library for fun for the first time with Aunt Carolyn. She always had books I could read when I spent the night. When I became more serious about my writing, she provided feedback, encouragement and has also volunteered to edit. (Nope I have not forgotten that.) No one will surpass Mom as my biggest cheerleader, but my Aunt is not giving anyone room to slide into second.
I have the education I have today because of my family support, my husband’s insistence and the example set by my Aunt. Every time I considered giving up, I thought about her. She completed her undergraduate and graduate programs amid what seemed like constant family crisis. Health issues, family drama and a demanding employer would have made her achievements impossible to most. She pushed through and achieved her goals. I kept persevering toward my next educational goal because of her example. I am even considering pursuing a PhD now…all because she made me believe I could achieve anything I desired academically. Thank you for cultivating a life long learner who constantly sees new wonder in the world.
Embracing my silly. I remember vividly dancing to the album “Grease” in Aunt Carolyn’s living room, while wearing a Michael Jackson “Beat It” shirt. If music was on, we were dancing…even if the music came from my cousin watching Fraggle Rock. I remember somewhat frightening creations in the kitchen. Thanks to those early disasters of culinary creation, I now cook with confidence and people can enjoy what I prepare. You gave me the freedom to be a little weird, very creative and motivated me to just be me. Weird, silly…whatever they want to call it, I am unique thanks to you. It is one of my favorite qualities, being a little weird. I love you!
Faith has always been a key element in my family. I was raised in church and cut my teeth on a microphone singing at church. When I think of my spiritual influence I think of my Granny Wheeler. That in no way diminishes the impact of these other women. Granny Wheeler left us at the age of 93, but what a legacy she left behind.
Times spent with Granny Wheeler meant homemade biscuits, usually cookies and watching her live her faith. I have vague memories of her taking care of Papa Wheeler, submissive but not servant. I remember going to Home League at the Salvation Army with her and on occasion helping to feed the homeless. Experiences with Granny Wheeler gave me a sense of responsibility to my community.
Granny never drove, so her children and grandchildren would take her to appointments, shopping and such. Most times when I would go pick her up for a trip to the store or a lunchtime visit, she was sitting in her chair reading her Bible. Every time we went somewhere her gratitude was evident. Her heartfelt thanks and sweet tears let you know that you meant the world to her, even for something that seems insignificant to most. When Granny passed, I heard nothing negative. Not one complaint or criticism…just a very deep sense of loss from all who knew her. Thank you Granny for being a living example of Jesus shining through. I pray when I leave this world the same will be said of me. I love you.
To All The Women in My Life
Over the years I have been influenced in many ways by many people. Some challenged me to be better and do more, others influenced me toward darker paths. Because of the women I highlighted in this post, I am able to take the lessons and make the most of them. We learn from mistakes and become confident with each success. I am blessed to have a family that gave me deep roots and taught me to fly.
Happy Mother’s Day to each and every Mom who is or has done her best. Being a Mom is tough, but that is what makes us so strong and gives us wisdom. Thank you to the adopted Moms in my life who have guided and directed me. I have an amazing village of people, I love you all.
Tell me about the Mom’s in your life. Who made you the person you are today?