Mother’s Day is a time to pause and remember the women who’ve gone before us and deposited so much into our lives. In anticipation of this special day, I’ve found myself reflecting on my mother and the inspiration she is, not only to me but to all who know her. Mother, at age 91, is full of life, spunky, and fun as ever. She lives by herself, still drives, and is always looking forward to a good time. Today she may need a little extra help, but I consider this a wonderful opportunity to spend precious time with her and give something back for all she has given me over the years. She is a delight and a treasure.
Mother has always been a beautiful woman. In college, she was Miss Maid of Cotton, and growing up we children all thought she was the prettiest mom ever. Since Daddy continually confirmed and professed her beauty himself, we knew it was true. But, her beauty radiated all the more from an inner character that we saw daily in her sweetness, kindness, and selfless giving to her husband and four children.
Mother had it right. She put God first, then her husband, and then her children. She taught us to love the Lord, respect our father, love ourselves, and see the best in others. When it came to her children, she was a mother first. She never crossed that line. Even times when I thought I wanted her to be more like a friend and see the world my way, I understood she would never compromise what she knew to be best for me as her daughter. I knew I was safe and secure in the unwavering love of a good mother.
Mother had a flair for decorating. She would buy all the top home magazines, and together we would dream through them. Mother would find a picture of a room she loved and then copy it in our house. My sky blue bedroom with a full canopy bed and blue shag rugs was right out of a Better Homes and Gardens centerfold. I’m sure this is where I first discovered my love for design. It delighted me to hear Daddy praising Mother’s great sense of style and decor. And, I remember thinking, “Maybe I can do something like that one day, too.” Those early dreams and decorating projects with my mother planted seeds in my life that would grow into my profession today and continue to influence the way I problem solve and imagine beautiful rooms with our Accents of the South clientele.
Mother also brought her amazing sense of wonder and curiosity into the kitchen. She was an incredible cook because she was not afraid to try new things. She had learned her love of cooking from her mother and, in turn, passed that on to each of her children. Mother could certainly turn out those classic 1960s casseroles expected of all housewives in her day. But, she also enjoyed experimenting with more complex dishes like chilled elderberry soup with creme fraiche, grits wurst, a type of German breakfast sausage, cream puffs made from pate au choux and vanilla custard, topped with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. These wondrously unexpected dishes stirred within her children a desire to learn more about cooking. In fact, Mother’s influence sparked my sister’s interest in culinary arts, and she is now a much-respected instructor in the field. And, today it’s not only the women in our family, but the men also, who take charge in the kitchen. Thanks to Mother, we all now have a sense of adventure when it comes to cooking, planning meals, and sharing new delights around the family table.
While Mother had profound influence on each of us growing up, her guidance was never overpowering or loud. She spoke volumes simply by the way she lived. Her quiet and peaceable strength grounded our family. I’m sure all those years we marched into church late, and still sat on the front row, all those nights she prayed with us before bed, and even the times when she disciplined us and told stories about God’s desire for us played a powerful role in my brother’s choosing a vocation in ministry. And, I imagine my mother’s love for teaching and for children inspired my middle sister’s decision to become a teacher. By living her life fully and using her gifts to bless others, Mother inspired each of us to stretch and grow in our various talents and interests for the good of others.
Mother has nurtured so much in the lives of her children. But her legacy has only begun, because each of her grandchildren has learned her love of God, self, and others. And, they are now passing this deep well of wisdom on to their own children.
Thank you, Mother.