Do you remember seeing the sea of white, pink and red Mother's Day corsages for Sunday church services?
No matter what else we did on Mother's Day for Mother and Grandmother and MawMaw (great-grandmother), we had better get the corsage right!
The color of the flowers tells a story. A white flower indicates that the mother of the wearer has "passed on" (died) and a red or pink flower means she is still alive (probably telling us what to do).
Blessed with longevity in our family, I've bought both white and red corsages over the years. I clearly remember the first time we bought white for Grandmother in 1974, the first Mother's Day after her mother had passed. Then, in 2015, I bought a white corsage for my own mother, just a few weeks after her mother had passed at the age of 100. Now, it's my turn to join the ranks of wearing a white corsage.
Mother's Day comes a myriad of emotions.
There is a God-designed yearning for a mother's love. What power that relationship can wield.
It has been said that the position of influence is more powerful than the position of power. As I listen to stories from others about their mothers, a common thread among those with good memories is that their mother was self-sacrificing without drawing attention to it. She renounced her needs, in fact, never spoke of them. A godly mother lives for others. She finds joy in serving others and ministering to them and their needs.
I thank God for a mother, a grandmother, a mother-in-law and aunts who modeled that selfless walk for me.
I remember a dear older friend once telling me that her children did not even know she slept because she was still dressed and working when the children went to bed, and up and dressed and working before they arose.
If there is anything I would say to today's young adults, it would be to let go of the self indulgence and practice the discipline of self-denial.
I'll never forget the overwhelming feeling of caring for several preschoolers, toddlers and a nursing infant. If I had focused on myself, my own needs, I would have failed miserably and been bitter and resentful.
When our seventh child (first son) was born, someone gave us a gift certificate to Ryan's. (Back then, nearly 30 years ago, eating out at a restaurant was seldom and was a great treat.)
It was a wonderful gift. The rule at the restaurant was that no one under 10 go to the food bar unaccompanied by an adult. All six of the girls were under 10. So, along with my nursing two-week-old son, my 15-month old daughter, 2-year-old daughter, I trudged back and forth to the food bar to supervise each of the older girls getting their plates. Suffice it to say, I did not eat my dinner. I ended up in tears and taking my uneaten food home to eat cold later. My children don't remember that. They remember getting to eat out.
Mothering is a tough job. James Dobson, author and speaker, said there is no tougher job in the world than to be at home with an infant and a toddler or two.
"Homemaking is surely in reality the most important work in the world," wrote C.S. Lewis.
A well-ordered home where family members may harbor, find safety, replenish, be accepted and loved is essential in the making of a responsible, caring adult.
Don't take your mother for granted. She probably made mistakes. We all do. The more I make, the more compassion I have on those I've judged in others.
Tell your mother, or mother figure, how much you appreciate all she has done in your life.
Mother, thank you! Thank you for loving me, praising me, encouraging me. Thank you for always believing in me, even when I didn't believe in myself.
Editor's note: Annette Beard is the managing editor of The Times of Northeast Benton County, chosen the best small weekly newspaper in Arkansas for several years. A native of Louisiana, she moved to northwest Arkansas in 1980 to work for the Benton County Daily Record. She has nine children, six sons-in-law, nine grandsons and six granddaughters. The opinions expressed are those of the author. She can be reached at [email protected]