Special day for special person

Published 6:27 pm Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We drove up to Colquitt with our oldest daughter, Catherine, and our grandson, Henry, for Mother’s Day.

Daaron, Henry’s father, was a bit under the weather, which gave me a chance to be the most important man in Henry’s life for a day. When we got to Moby Dick’s, the hot new restaurant in the area, our jaws dropped as their appeared to be more than 100 people in line outside the building. Using Henry as the excuse, but secretly knowing I could never stand in line that long, we made our way to the Tarrer Inn.

This time, we sent someone inside to check the wait. The only problem was they could never get past the front door. We made our way to Hardee’s, having already spent 25 minutes to get somewhere we could have gone in the first place.

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Mother’s Day is the busiest day in America in the restaurant business, but not necessarily for fast food. This is a day when people trade up instead of trading down. The whole family gathers for this restaurant visit in honor of Mom.

Henry could have cared less. At 14 months he has discovered French fries, so Hardee’s was just fine with him. He loves watching people come and go. For the first time he sat between his Granny and his Granddaddy. ML and Catherine got a nice visit in and Henry and I got to play with our food.

This brings me to my point about Mother’s Day. It isn’t where you are that matters so much as where you have been. I didn’t get to spend Mother’s Day with my Mom, but we have been a lot of places. Our conversation at the end of the day coupled with some flowers and some memories was better than fighting a line at a restaurant.

My mother raised me to be who I am. I think we both know what a gift God gave us, to share that special relationship between a mother and a child. I was blessed and I know it. I don’t have to have a special day to tell her that; I tell her all the time.

After 55 years of celebrating Mother’s Day with my Mom, I have a lot of appreciation of what being a mother means. Watching Mary Lou raise our children and give her heart and soul to their well-being helped me understand the awesome power of a good mother. My children were blessed and they know it. As a father, I was blessed beyond measure to see my children grow up under her tender loving care.

Seeing Henry give Catherine a huge hug coming out of the restaurant helped me realize how powerful the early bonds of motherhood are formed. He holds her tight, feeling safe in her arms in a world he doesn’t understand yet. I see her beginning to understand the power of love between a mother and child. Henry is blessed. He doesn’t know it yet, but I do.

I saw Elizabeth giving her mother a card while meeting us for dinner. Elizabeth is becoming a mother, with Laura due in less than three months. You can see the glow in her face and the tender touch she gives that growing girl. The bonds they share are already in place. Laura will be blessed and I know it.

My grandmothers were both part of the chain of blessings that I was fortunate enough to share. They set standards while supplying unconditional love to their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We still talk about them and bask in the beauty that was just a part of being around them.

But there were many other mothers. Some may have had children and some not. They touch small children just by being a part of their everyday lives. They touch young parents by sharing experience and friendship and encouragement.

Mary Lou and I have had so many of those types of mothers that I can’t even begin to name them for fear of leaving even one of them out. They worked with us. They raised us with their kids. They taught us Sunday school and youth choir. They grinned when we complained how hard our life was, knowing that we soon would look fondly back on the days we were passing through.

They are our friends and the friends of our parents and our children. We learned by watching them. We still learn by watching them. There is no parenting group that I have more admiration for than the young couples of our church. I learn from their dedication and love and devotion to yet another generation of children.

If we had the chance, we all celebrated our mothers this past Sunday. This next week, if you have someone in your past that made you a better person by being some sort of mother to you, tell them. If they are no longer around, tell someone else about them. If you don’t have someone to tell, then e-mail me and tell me your story. These memories help guide us for the rest of our lives.