“Happy Mother’s Day”

Published 8:19 pm Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The dress was more than 100 years old when our first daughter, Catherine, wore it.

Elizabeth, our second daughter, wore it a couple of years later. It was a gown sent by our dear friend. Lucinda, who lived in Wales at the time, for the baptism of our children.

It fit Laura perfectly at eight months old. Her parent’s church doesn’t do infant baptism, but instead does a baby dedication. Appropriately, it was done on Mother’s Day.

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Henry, my first grandchild and the only boy I have ever helped raise, didn’t wear the gown at his baptism. Henry’s father, to his credit, said he wasn’t having his son have a picture in a dress.

The clothes didn’t matter. The tears that streamed down my face were the same on both occasions. My grandchildren were being lifted up to the God that has known them long before they were born and those in the congregations that were committing to raise them as if they were their own. For me, they are blessings beyond description.

It is a contemporary church that Laura’s parents attend. Henry’s parents attend a more traditional church. The music is different. The message is delivered differently. But of this I am sure, the God that we worship, that has given me such wonderful children, and sons-in-law, and finally grandchildren, He is the same.

Laura was surrounded by three great-grandparents, four grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. Her parents had prepared a video telling the world of their intention of raising their daughter in a Godly home. Could I have done the same?

I looked up and down the three aisles that we occupied. It is Mother’s Day, but in such a different way for me. I no longer have to suggest Mother’s Day presents for anyone in my extended family.

Grant and Daaron, my two sons-in-law, made sure their wives and the mothers of my grandchildren were appropriately appreciated. The great-grandmothers were recognized by various branches along the family tree. I recognized Mary Lou, whose greatest gift to me besides consenting to be my wife, was being the mother of my two children.

As they took Laura up on the stage, she pitched a fit. How much like her mother she is. This was just after I had made the comment to her mother about how perfectly she was behaving. I remembered how I used to fret as a parent, even as I grinned as a grandparent.

Eventually Laura went to sleep in the nursery as I watched Henry go to sleep in his father’s arms. He was mesmerized by the drums in the band even I was mesmerized by watching him.

As any parent or grandparent knows, it is a blessing when they take a nap. For lunch, we talked about the wonderful job all the ladies in the crowd had done as mothers. After dessert, we played with the same kids that make being a mother such a challenge.

Henry is going to be a left-hander I am now convinced. His first pitch to me in the back yard went over my head and down the hill. Later, he threw it into the bushes, oblivious to the briar patches along the way. Perhaps he will be the baseball player I dreamed of being.

Laura crawled after him, smiling at everyone that would pick her up. She is more of a politician that her grandfather ever thought about being. She doesn’t meet a stranger and seeks to please all around her. She will be more successful in the political arena than I ever imagined if she chooses to play that game.

Actually, I only dream of my grandchildren being what they are called to be, whatever that may be. I am proud they are both being raised in homes with parents that realize they are accountable and responsible for their children. What more could I ask for?

Today, more than any time in my life, I pay tribute to those I know and love on Mother’s Day. That includes my mother, my mother-in-law, my grandmothers, and now my own daughters. They lift up their children, and in doing so, they lift me up.

Finally, it is always on Mother’s Day that I think of those who lift those up those that are not their own children. For me personally, that includes Geanette Greene, who has been a shepard to so many children in our church.

It is “Mom” Cost, my fraternity housemother while in college, who took me under her wing while I was finding my way. It is Sally Bates, who nurtured me as an adult away from home, and now is “Miss Sally” to my grandson, but so much, much more.

We all have those who have in one way or another served as a mother to those around us. For those who are still here, take time to tell her. For those who impacted your life in another way, let her know. For those who have passed away, leave a similar legacy in their honor.

For all those present and past that have touched our lives, Happy Mother’s Day. We both know who you are.