Mama holding a copy of her book, I Remember.
Mama had a hard childhood. She didn’t feel loved by her mother. She did have a loving relationship with her father, but he wasn’t a very good provider for his family, so even though he may have loved his family that didn’t stop them from being very poor! And because they moved often, Mama never felt like she had “roots”.
What Mama learned from that was that she wanted a more stable home as an adult for herself and her family. And she worked very hard to make that happen.
Mama married hard-working Daddy, who also had had a less than perfect childhood because his father, even though he had a good job on the railroad, was an alcoholic and spent most of his money in a bar.
I don’t know if Mama and Daddy ever actually talked about having a “plan” to make a more secure, stable life for their children than what they had had, but I do know that that is what they created, and I’m eternally thankful for that.
And Mama didn’t just want to provide security for us, she wanted to make life fun for us too. So she made it part of her job to make sure that her children had happy memories. Picnics, church, parades, big family dinners especially at holidays, fishing trips — all things that I’m guessing Mama saw other children’s families doing when she was growing up, but that seemed unattainable to her at the time.
And I think part of her plan for good memories for us included all the albums of her photos. I know as one of her “subjects” that we certainly didn’t always appreciate what she was doing while she was doing it. It was a little bit of an interruption to what was going on when Mama wanted to take pictures. But, boy, am I glad now that she did! And she achieved exactly what I think she intended — she not only worked at making good memories for us, but she left us photos that help us more vividly recall those memories.
And, of course, her book has done the same thing — many events are written down that evoke memories that might otherwise have been totally forgotten by now.
And even while working at making life more interesting and fun for her kids, Mama also made sure her and Daddy had fun too. By the time I, their late-life baby, was 5 or 6 years old we started taking yearly 2 and later 3-week driving vacations (even if we could have afforded it, Mama would never set foot on an airplane) — every other year to Georgia to visit my oldest sister, and the alternate years to California to visit a large number of family and friends who lived there, including my only brother.
So my childhood was the polar opposite of what Mama’s was, and that’s all because she (and Daddy) worked hard at giving their children what they hadn’t had themselves.
Mama taught me to love and be faithful to God and my husband and children. She taught me songs and poems and how to cook. She inspired me to try new things, because of all the hobbies she obviously enjoyed. And she insisted I take shorthand and typing in high school, even though I planned on going to college, but when college didn’t work out, those classes were my entree into the business world where I ultimately made a very good living.
And, if I thought she was a great mother, boy was she a great GRANDmother! She gave me (and my sisters) a wonderful example of how to do that.
So, today I honor Mama. She had her faults, just like the rest of us. But she worked hard to be the very best Mama she could be and I always knew she loved me. That is all anyone can ask.
Happy Mother’s Day to every “mama” out there. May God bless your calling to be a mother.