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Thankful for the love and guidance of Mom

Mother’s Day — a day we celebrate and give thanks to the woman/women in our life who have in many circumstances had more to do with who we are than any other individual. For those of us who are mothers, it’s also a day we reflect on how we feel we have done as mothers. Did we say the right things, teach the right lessons? How much of what we said and did really had an impact on our children? 

My mother, Carolyn Parker, had a profound effect upon who I am. I am thankful and grateful for her unwavering love, encouragement and sacrifices over the years.

My mom was a young bride, 16 and brought me into the world at 17, just a child herself. My brothers and sisters quickly followed bringing the total to six. Three girls and three boys. As if mom didn’t have enough to do with her own brood she also raised my cousin Debbie Sue from the time she was five. We didn’t have a lot of money, but I don’t know that we ever went without any of the things that were important in life. We were taught to work hard, we were loved, and we were pushed and encouraged to follow our dreams. Life wasn’t perfect but we sure had some fun times!

Somehow my mom managed to see that each of us kids got to participate in any activity we might have an interest in. Between the seven of us we tapped danced, sang in choirs, played the guitar, piano, drums, saxophone, oboe and clarinet. There was swim team, soft ball, baseball, soccer, karate, Judo, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, wrestling, cheerleading, gymnastics, theater, skateboarding, baton twirling, camping, hiking, fishing — you name it I think we did it. On a limited budget that is pretty impressive.

I was an extrovert as a child – always wanting to be the star of the show. Give me a stage, an audience, any passer by paying attention and I was in my element. I loved to stand on my head, throw myself around, and do cartwheels —everywhere! Smartly my mom decided gymnastics lessons were in order. She talked to the local YMCA and got a special deal on lessons. My mom spent hours in the family living room teaching me how to do a valdez. She didn’t know anything about gymnastics but I wanted to learn how to do it so she talked to my coach and got some quick lessons. 

Sitting in our living room mom had me sit with one leg outstretched in front of me, the other leg bent at the knee with my foot on the floor. Then placing one hand behind me on the floor and the other arm stretched out in front of the straight leg she told me to push on the bent leg, throw my straight arm and head back. The idea is to catch yourself when you launch backward, flip your body over and by some miracle the rest of the body follows suit in one piece. We practiced over and over again until I got it. The real lesson my mother taught me that day was that she believed in me, she knew I could do it if I tried and she would help me get there. In my mom’s eyes I could do anything I set my mind to. 

Thank you for believing in me mom, for giving me the courage to try things I was scared to do, for teaching me that if at first I didn’t succeed to try again and again until I did. I’m grateful, blessed and thankful for the lessons you taught me and ever so thankful that you are my mother. 

Betty J. Ramsey is the publisher of The Tidewater News. She can be reached at Betty.Ramsey@TheTidewaterNews.com.