With Mother’s Day approaching, I wanted to say thank you to my mom in a special way.  As I thought about how I could do that, my mind flashed to my teenage years.  Those had to be a nightmare for my mom, so I shook off that horror movie and thought of more pleasant things.  

I could tell you many things, but my dad told it best recently.  My husband and I sat in their living room visiting Saturday and laughed about many things.  Daddy began to talk about first jobs, first dates and then he talked about momma.  He told of his first sight of momma, how she looked walking out of the church after service that day.  He described her hairstyle and clothing with vivid detail as though it were yesterday.  It was not a moment where he swept her off her feet, but they would soon meet and double date with the friends who introduced them.  I listened as he talked about their dates, with momma adding more detail as he spoke.  They both shared of their friends, their dates, and the day when he gave her his class ring.  It was meant to make the girls in church mad because he was off the market, but he told her to keep the ring because he wanted her to.  I watched as he lit up when he talked about the girl he liked.  He even told his mom that he liked a girl, but she liked to fight too much.  (Some guy had made momma mad apparently.)

This feisty young woman with ringlets in her hair would become his bride, of now, 48 years.  They would eventually share a wedding at the church where he first saw her, 3 children and 8 grandchildren. Like most, they would share grief and heartbreak as well as countless other memories over the years.  Sitting in the living room that day, I saw the young love spark in both of their eyes and the years faded for a moment.  No heartache, no financial struggles or health issues, just love.  A mutual admiration and respect for each other with trust, friendship and a deep, lasting love sat before me.  I thought of all the years I had spent searching for that kind of love.  I then realized that they spent a lifetime cultivating that love, one step, one memory, one heartbeat at a time.  

I realized too that while I may have dreamed of finding prince charming, I truly wanted to be like momma.  She has no ringlets in her hair anymore because she likes it short.  She is spunky, feisty, funny, smart, and loving.  Mom is the beautiful young woman my dad fell in love with, and she is the love of his life that now shares their retirement years.  She has raised 3 children with my dad and loved us as we raised our own children.  She is full of life, love and has a huge heart.  She is strength, laughter, and compassion with a little bit of fire.  She is a Christian and when she loves you, it is for a lifetime.  When she does not like you, well, do not expect a birthday card.  

Over the years I have fought to be different from my mom, I have bucked against her authority and tested her patience.  I have pulled at her heartstrings and tested her faith.  Thankfully, I have learned that I never knew everything that I thought I did.  I have learned that there is a reason for some things that I will never understand.  She is beautiful inside and out, and in her eyes, and the depth of her soul, she is still the young woman my dad saw on the church porch those years ago.  She is my son’s grandmother, my mentor, my friend.  She prays for me and sheds tears that I may never  see.  She is a tower of strength.  She is a gift that can never be replaced.  She is my mom.  I love you momma.  Happy Mother’s Day!  

Dawn Bowen

Moultrie

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