Just listening to a program on 102.9 KAJN-FM, Crowley, LA (one of my fav radio stations) and the hosts of the program Family Talk are bantering back and forth with tell-tale stories of their moms. Their storytelling got me to thinking about my mom and mother’s day.
My mom is in her eighties: vibrant, beautiful, fiery, polished and a little ‘streetish’. Our relationship is interesting. I am the elder of three kids: our relationship is love, tolerance, high strung, emotional, and borders on the side of something I really can’t describe. I know my mom loves me. Even in the hardest periods of our relationship, I always knew and felt my mother’s love and support, and I am reminded of scripture that reads, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” It is a commandment with a promise.
My mother cleaned other people’s homes for a living and boy, did she clean well. To this day, I cannot replicate the perfection in which she makes any bed. There is never a wrinkle to be found on any bed my mom makes – not in the sheets, pillowcases nor bed coverings. She taught me to clean, and to be clean. We Louisianians have a saying, “Don’t eat everyone’s food; don’t eat at everyone’s table.” A lesson learned from my mom – if you wanna know if someone is clean – check out their stoves and their toilets: a clean person will have a clean stove, and a clean toilet. I taught my children the same, and I pray they teach the same to their children.
My mom was not a ‘touchy/touchy/feely’ mom. She was kind and hard at the same time, and I learned the same from her. Interestingly enough, my kids have often reflected that I, over the years, have not been an overly demonstrative person as it relates to affection. I learned from my mom independence, survival, a thirst for life and how to appreciate traveling and seeing the world with its complex differences. She taught me that hard work pays off: working for $1.25 per hour, she worked for two years on two jobs (18 hours days) to pay for an addition to our house so we kids could have our own bedrooms. My mom was then young, strong and determined. To this day, she is still youthful, strong and yep, determined to live life to its fullest!
Growing up we always had a manicured back yard (my dad always had the front yard kinda junky cause he owned 18-wheelers and he worked on them in the front yard), and beautiful flower gardens blooming with color (mostly hydrangeas and huge lantanas bordered by crepe myrtles). Our neighbors on each side had chickens and dirt for back yards and somehow I sensed my mom was offended by all that mess and all those farm smells. She grew grooves of mint tea in our back yard, so there was always a certain fragrance in our midst and with the flower gardens, plush green grass and fresh fragrances, she instilled in me a sense of beauty. Her favorite saying, “You can have all the greenery you want in your yard, but If your yard doesn’t have color, it is not beautiful. There is something about color that makes a yard beautiful.” Even today, her yard is amassed in color.
When I was little, my mom sewed our clothes – no store bought patterns: she envisioned the outfits and sewed them up. I, my little sister and littler brother were always dressed rather nicely. My sister and I were typically attired with no less than coiffed hair, white ruffled socks and patent leather shoes, a little necklace, and yes, a little purse. My baby bro dressed in long white socks, he too, wearing patent leather shoes was clothed in perfectly mommy sewn classic jon jons. My mom was proud/is proud of her family; I too am proud of what she accomplished in us.
Mom also taught me to stand up for me and mine. From that, I taught my kids never to ride a fence. Pick your side, I tell them, but don’t ride the fence. My mom didn’t teach me color; she taught me people. She taught me kindness; she showed me love, but yet there was this hardness toward me; an almost dislike. My dad loved me openly, in laughter and joy and delightfulness, in words, but my mom, well my mom taught me. We don’t choose our parents, but I don’t know who I would be without her, and I am sure the same applies to you. Our mothers shape so much of who we are and my mom fashioned the foundation that allowed me to be the woman I am today, the mother I came to be, and I thank her for that.
Father, how wonderful you are that you gave us mothers. Mothers to nurture us, to love us unconditionally as you do; to train us in the way that we should go; to instill in us values that reflect you and your goodness. And to have praying mothers … mothers who learned how to be prayer warriors praying for their children – removing every veil of deception, every force of darkness attempting to invade our children’s lives. And the strength you give mothers – what would we do without that strength? We thank you for giving us what we need to be good mothers: to teach and guide our children onto the right road, to make Godly choices, to teach them to know you at an early age. Father, continue to help us to be Godly examples in their lives, so that when our children see us or hear us, they see you in us. In Jesus name, we so pray. Amen.