There is much to be said about the strength of moms.
Today is, of course, Mother’s Day, that time we set aside to honor those women who are so important in our lives. The ones who have raised us, nurtured us, fussed at us and worried about us. Those ladies who have championed our success, suffered with us in defeat and low moments, seen us through the dark times and stood with us, front and center, in the best of our memories. When you rise and fall and rise again, your mom is there, for as long as you’re lucky enough to have her.
And here’s the thing about your mom: She never stops caring. Her love for her family is a circle, an effort with seemingly no beginning or end.
I see it in my own Mom.
I got lucky. So lucky. I won the mom lottery.
Of course, I’ve always loved my Mom, unconditionally. If you’ve met my mother, Mary Jane, you’d probably love her, too. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more sincere, forthright, considerate, dedicated individual. If she says it, it is so.
But, as I’ve gotten a few years and a few gray hairs (OK, a lot of gray hairs) on me, and set about raising a child of my own, I’ve come to a greater appreciation of my Mom. A sort of retroactive realization, if you will, of what she’s done for me.
My parents — Mom and Dad — gave me a head start. We weren’t wealthy when I was a kid. Mom and Dad were public school teachers, and they had some business interests, but we were a middle class Southern family. But my brother and I never wanted for anything. We had a nice house to live in, good clothes to wear, all the food we wanted to eat, good vehicles for transportation. We traveled and took vacations and Christmas was always magic. There were bumps in the road — there always are — but mostly was an idyllic childhood, even if I couldn’t truly grasp and appreciate just how idyllic it was when I was going through it.
But now I see it. They worked so hard to give me every advantage, even if when I was too young and dumb to grasp it. I think I took years off my Mom’s life when I was in high school, and even college. She was a perfectionist in the classroom. I coasted. But she pushed, and prodded, and fussed. She was almost otherworldly in her patience. And because she kept encouraging me, I eventually found a thing I loved to do: write. And so here I am with y’all, on Sunday morning in this newspaper, as I have been now for these many years.
Late last year, my Mom had a rough go of it. She fell at work and seriously injured both legs. Casts on both legs, months of rehab and therapy, the works. She literally had to learn to walk again. There were moments where her spirits were low. Where she was exhausted. Where better days seemed just out of reach. But she fought. And prayed. And believed. Step by step — literally — she got back on her feet again. There were things to do, after all. Friends to see. Soccer and baseball games with the grandkids. Walks with my dad. Taking care of her own mother. (I love you, Grandma.)
To borrow a descriptor made famous on stage and screen, and sometimes cited by my friend Judi Burns, my Mom is one of those Steel Magnolias. Sweet as honey, smart as a whip, as tender as a rose and tougher than leather.
I won the mom lottery. And I’m not the only one.
Reach out to your mama today. She loves you more than you know.