Count yourself richly blessed if your mama is still around

 

My mother has gone on to her Heavenly reward, as has my mother-in-law. I don’t have to tell you Mothers Day is never the same after you lose your mother.

Nothing in your life is.

My best friend, a sage if I have ever known one, drove several hours to be with me at that time. As we hugged and cried, we shared stories of my mother. During the conversation, he pointed out one of life’s truest moments.

“Welcome to being a full grown adult, Robert,” he told me. “None of us are every really fully grown up as long as our mamas are around.”

I’ve since shared that sentiment with many of my friends. Truer words were never spoken. No one can take us back to childhood quicker than our mother. No matter how old we may be, no matter how many titles we may have earned, no matter how much responsibility we may shoulder, no one can make us feel like a child again like our mothers can.

Boy, do I miss that feeling.

I was fortunate enough to be well into my 60’s as my mother advanced into her 90’s. Some of my favorite memories revolve around walking into her room at the nursing facility where she lived.

Because she was almost deaf in her later years, it was normal for me to often be standing at her bedside, quietly watching, before she would notice my arrival.

Few things can rival the feeling that always swept over me as she’d turn her head and a broad smile would flash across her face. The way her face lit up whenever she saw me come in was a feeling I’ll never forget.

And one I’ll never stop wishing to experience again.

A passionate newspaper reader, my mother was one of the last people in this part of the country to subscribe to the Savannah Morning News. Having been born and raised in Savannah, she believed nothing was absolute unless she had first read it in the Morning News. Like many, she always scanned the front page and then quickly flipped over to the obituaries where she would read of the passing of person after person, softly noting of how she had “gone to school with her brother” or “lived just down the street from that family.”

One day, while perusing the obituaries, she suddenly dropped the paper into her lap, pulled off her glasses and looked over at me:

“You know, Robert ...,” she said thoughtfully. “I have no earthly idea why the good Lord has let me live this long ... why my name hasn’t been in these obituary columns yet...”

She paused a moment. I thought she was about to pontificate on the vagaries of life when she gave her shoulders a big shrug and said: “I guess He has a reason!”

With that, she picked up the newspaper pages and went back to reading. 

With a new grandson due to arrive in about a month and a passel of other grandchildren scattered about, there are still plenty of mothers around for us to dote over this coming Sunday. Each has their own special stamp they put on motherhood, each creating their own legacy that makes them beloved.

Still, the sentiment wrapped up in Mothers Day can bring back wonderful memories and sad wishfulness. 

One of the most famous TV commercials of all time aired prior to Mothers Day decades ago. Starring the legendary Crimson Tide football coach, Bear Bryant, the gravel-voiced coach solemnly intoned on the importance of his players “keeping in touch” with family. Focusing into the camera, Bryant was supposed to say “Have you called yo’ mama today?” And he did. But then the grizzled old coach ad-libbed: “I sure wish I could call mine.”

The Bear’s emotional honesty touched hearts everywhere and still resonates today.

I don’t have to hit you over the head for you to know what you need to do this Sunday, do I?

• Robert M. Williams, Jr. is Editor & Publisher of The Blackshear Times. Email: rwilliams@theblacksheartimes.com.

Robert M. Williams, Jr. can be reached at rwilliams@theblacksheartimes.com.