This weekend marks Mother’s Day – a time when we celebrate and honor the most amazing, loving and patient individuals on earth.
I’m sure others feel this way also, but I’m quite certain I was blessed with the best mother in history.
My mom did not grow up with great monetary wealth. Far from it in fact.
Her lifelong dream was to be a schoolteacher. She worked extra hours during college to graduate and began her career.
She had – and continues to have – a God-given gift for teaching.
Her story-time cadence could have soothed one of Hitler’s manic episodes. Her stern look can quiet the most disruptive child. Her warm embrace could have caused Bin Laden to soften his heart and reject terrorism.
But as much as she loved teaching, the love of family was far greater.
When I was born, she sacrificed her beloved career so that she could stay home and give me her sole attention.
Hours of flash cards, vocabulary building, writing assignments and other school-time activities were held in my modest Arkansas living room as a toddler.
I possessed the scholastic acumen of a second or third grader by the time I reached kindergarten. It provided a fortunate foundation for me often being a step ahead of my classmates.
This is not because I was more intelligent but rather because of those lessons from home.
My mom has by no means had an easy life. When I was in second grade, she developed mysterious, debilitating headaches. Our rural physicians had no clue as to the cause.
After blood was found in her spinal fluid, it was determined she had a brain aneurysm that was leaking and on the verge of exploding – a scenario that would have no doubt been fatal.
This being the early 1980’s, drilling into someone’s cranium and clamping a major blood vessel was nowhere near as routine of a procedure as it might be today.
I was too young to grasp the gravity of the ordeal at the time, but I came really close to losing my mom on the day of the operation. Luckily, God guided the surgical team to a successful, if not miraculous, result.
Less than a decade later, she was struck by breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy. Once again, she survived.
Throughout her life, she’s fought through another half-dozen other unrelated surgeries and has maintained her positive attitude each time.
I’ve often said that it would break my mother’s heart if she ever thought someone didn’t like her. And that’s why she’s widely regarded as one of the friendliest, most loving people ever.
Dear Momma, thanks for those Band-Aids and forehead kisses when I would predictably fall off my bike.
Thanks for those new Air Jordan sneakers that I didn’t deserve, but you kept letting me get in high school so that an awkward boy could somehow fit in.
Thanks for encouraging me all those times when I failed.
Thank you for the thousands of prayers you sent up for me that I never knew about.
Thanks for encouraging me when I doubted myself.
Most of all, thank you for not dying on that operating table.
Because without you, I could have never truly lived.
I love you.
JT Strasner is publisher of the Marshfield Mail. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.