• 72°

Mother's Day should be every day

By By James Crawford
News Editor
The other day I had a conversation with a mother who had lost her son in a car accident on the first day of school this past year. My heart ached for her as I listened to her tell me how proud she was of her son and of the things he had done and planned to do. It was all I could do to keep from crying.
The entire conversation was emotional but the climax was when she told me the last words she ever heard from her son where "bye mom, I'm heading to town to get some folders for school. I love you and I'll see you soon." If you're not emotional reading that, you need medication.
The point I'm trying to make by recanting this story is that it made me think about my own mother and what would be my last words to her if some accident happened to me or to her. I've had many moments in my life that made me think hard about how I was living but this one stayed with me all day. I've never been what you would call a touchy-feely guy. I'm very caring I think and a big baby but I'm not very outward about it. My mother has always been a very emotional topic for me. I've never been able to find the right words to say, "I love you" or to say much of anything about how I feel.
I've heard many horror stories about lost loved one's in my life. As a volunteer firefighter I was exposed to just about every tragedy you can imagine but for some reason this story hit me harder than most. Maybe it's reflective of my own place in life at the moment.
Nevertheless, with Mother's Day just around the corner I wanted to do something special to mark the occasion that celebrates the life of the person who gave birth to us all and the one we all turn to in our times of trouble.
I don't usually like the idea of using my column to express my own personal matters but today I'm making an exception. I want to use this column to say thanks to my mother who has made every sacrifice imaginable for me and deserves so much more than I'm able to give.
My mother was born in 1941 to a family of seven brothers and sisters. The family is still fairly close-knit and has grown to include more than 55 members that I can account for out of the initial seven. My mother led a typical teenage life and went to work for Gulf States Paper Corporation where she met my father. They were married in the late sixties and I came along in 1971. My mother had managed to have her own house, car and money by the time she married and was doing well. She quit her job at Gulf States to raise me and my baby sister Carla during the 70s.
My father left town in 1979 at the demise of the paper mill as part of a settlement that relocated him to Brownsville, Texas, a place from which he never returned. As the months crept by, the money started drying up and my mother who was left with very little was forced to work three jobs for the next dozen years to provide for us. She missed out on many things in her life and didn't always get to see us perform in things like the band and in football – momma was working because she had too.
I missed her presence at my football games and when I played basketball, but I knew her heart was there and I could always picture her in the crowds. We never really talked about her not being able to come because it hurt her to miss those things. She was always working to provide for us. She had her priorities straight and I'll always be thankful that she had that kind of courage and fortitude to work those long, hard hours, and all the while having to miss out on the special moments that she desperately wanted to be a part of.
When I think back, I can clearly remember many nights of her fixing dinner while crying although I never paid attention then.
Her life had been long and filled with many trying moments but she has never waivered in the support of her kids. At a moment's notice she would go in debt to get me money to help out while I was in school, to the point of selling her wedding rings, something I only found out about years later when I found the pawn ticket.
No words can express my feelings for my mother and I hope you'll forgive me for indulging myself this week in telling her story. I know you don't know her because she's not from this area, but if you did, I promise you would instantly love her, she's just that kind of special lady that only comes around once in a while.
My father, who passed away many years ago, used to sing a song about his mother. I'm not sure exactly where the song came from. I believe it was very popular in his generation of the 40s and 50s and I'm not sure it was even a song – it could just have been a poem. But my father put music to it and it has always been something I thought of when I think of my mother – maybe you can adopt it as a token of appreciation of your own mother when you see her next.
"'M' is for the many things she gave me. 'O' means only that she's growing old. 'T' is for tears she shed to save me. 'H' is for her heart of purest gold. 'E' is for her eyes, with love-light shining, 'R' means right, and right she'll always be. Put them all together, they spell 'MOTHER,' a word that means the world to me."
My mother has always been there for me in every shape and form. I love you momma – for all the things you've given me over all the years – for all the quiet moments – for all the financial support – for all the kind words – for being there at a moment's notice above your own health and welfare.
I can never repay you for the things you've done and although I claim to be a writer, I'm not smart enough to come up with the words that encompass how much I love you, and admire you and appreciate all the things you've done for me. So with everything said I'll use the three words that I always have. I just hope that now you understand just what I mean when I say them – I Love You.
I encourage everyone to stop what you are doing right now and plan to do something special for this year's Mother's Day. It doesn't have to be flowers or a gift, just something from the heart that means something. You never know how many Mother's Days you have left, so don't let it slip by.
James Crawford is News Editor of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123 or by e-mail at james.crawford@atmoreadvance.com.