Writing stories to pass values from one generation to the next

Remembering a Very Special Mother’s Day

Seven times in my lifetime, my birthday has fallen on Mother’s Day. That is always a special time for my mom and me. The last time it happened was two years ago. I think back to that day as I celebrate my mother today.

This post was originally written for my first blog (4theVoiceless). I couldn’t write all of my plans for Mother’s Day, so I added an epilogue a few days after the post.

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day, Roger Staubach, and 10th Birthday Parties

Today marks the first anniversary of my first blog post, and it is also the 100th post on the 4theVoiceless blog.  I’ve had an ability to write (or at least so I’ve been told) since at least as far back as 7th grade, when I wrote sports stories for the Rankin County News.  That was also when I was a part of Mrs. Knight’s English class (which I remember being harder than my junior level grammar class — in college!).  Mrs. Scharr, my 11th grade English teacher and Beta Club sponsor, encouraged me to write and helped me to hone my still-developing craft.

However, no one has encouraged and challenged me to write over the years like my mom.  In every phase of my life — high school, college, teaching, coaching, ministry — Mom has always taken every opportunity to remind me of the skill that she has long recognized in me.

Whether she realizes it or not, my mother has made a significant contribution to the awareness of and movement toward this world’s at-risk children through this blog.  In light of that (and also the impending date on the calendar), I choose to write about my mother today, keeping in mind that millions of children close to home and around the world do not have mothers who are actively engaged in their lives like mine continues to be.

Here are five reasons I appreciate my mom.  As you read them, think about five ways that you appreciate your own mother, and — if you are still blessed with the opportunity — tell her.

1.  Home Is Where the Mom Is

Growing up in Star, Mississippi, I never heard much talk about stay-at-home moms.  I just knew that Mom was there to cook breakfast; to provide milk and cookies when we kids got home from school; to cook supper; to put up all the peas, butter beans, and green beans that we so diligently shelled/snapped during the summer.  She was the one who came up with the chart that determined who among my two sisters, my brother, and me would be first in line to wait for the bus on a particular day when we couldn’t seem to come to a consensus.  She was just always, you know, there . . .

2.   Worlds of Adventure

Mom was the one who read to us when we were little and bought us all clip-on lights for our beds so that we could read ourselves to sleep at night.  She was the one who taught us to spread out the quilt under the oak tree during the summer months, where we experienced the west through Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and where I experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat through countless Matt Christopher sports books.  Mom took us to the Star Baptist Church parking lot every Wednesday to the bookmobile.  I read all the little orange biographies (and learned a little history in the process), and I probably checked out The Lucky Baseball Bat at least a dozen times.

3. 10th Birthdays and Such

There were four of us Ainsworth children, each separated by about a year from the one in front and/or behind.  (I’m the oldest; therefore, the most responsible . . . as I’m SURE my sisters and brothers would agree.)  We didn’t have birthday parties every year, but on our 10th birthday, we got to invite some friends over to have the one party of our childhood; somehow, I didn’t feel robbed of my right to have a birthday party on the other years  .

We also didn’t get to raid the pantry and eat anything we wanted throughout our childhoods; Mom portioned out the cookies each day; somehow, I didn’t feel robbed (though I would sneak an extra cookie or two from time to time).

I would lose this contentedness in my later teenage years, but I had a foundation to which I could (much) later return.

4.  Roger Staubach and That’s About It

Mom has never been much of a sports fan, though my brother and I are still, in my Dad’s words, “eat up with it.”  Back during our childhood, the baseball game of the week came on TV at 2:00 most Saturdays (after rasslin’ and Tarzan).  Mom would always make my brother and I clean our room before we watched the game.  Though it would only take us a few minutes once we got started, we agonized over the thought of missing even part of the game; Mom just didn’t understand . . . .  The only interest I ever remember her having in sports was when Roger Staubach and the Dallas Cowboys were playing, not that I remember her watching very long, even then.

What I do remember about my mom and sports was that she didn’t miss OUR games.  Sports were important to us, and we were important to her, so she went.  To this day, if her kids and now grandkids are involved in something, you can find her there at some level.

5.   Missions With Me

I recently went on my 10th mission trip, and my mom has been a part of most of them.  She hasn’t actually traveled on any of them, but she has invested heavily in the work God has done and is still doing in Belize, Poland, Seattle, and Haiti — and soon in Russia through my daughter.  She is also one of only a handful of people who really want to hear about my trips — in detail instead of a cursory sentence or two.  If you have ever been on a mission trip, had God do a great work in and through you, and tried to relate that to someone who wasn’t on the trip, you know to appreciate people like my mother.

This Mother’s Day, Very Special Day

This Mother’s Day falls on my 47th birthday.  Due to the effects of leap years, this is the first time in 11 years that this has happened and only the seventh time in my life.  So this Mother’s Day is extra special to me and to my mother.  I love you, Mom.

(Written after Mother’s Day)

There was more that I could have written in the original post but that I had to keep revealed for a special purpose.  On Sunday, I took a day off from my church, got up early, and drove three hours to my mom’s church.  She was in Sunday school, and no one was in the sanctuary.  I knew where she and Dad would be sitting (after all, they’ve sat in pretty much the same place for over 45 years), so I left a bouquet of flowers and a Mother’s Day card with her name on it.  The card indicated that I wished that I could be with her on this special day and that I had simply made arrangements for her to get the flowers and card on Sunday.  (It never actually said that I wasn’t or wouldn’t be there; I am a man of principles, after all.)

After placing the flowers and the card, I left without anyone having seen me.  Having picked up a bulletin, I was able to know approximately when the congregation would have their greet time, so I planned my surprise entrance accordingly.  I wish I could have captured the look on my mom’s face when I walked through the door.  Counting the return trip Sunday afternoon, I spent almost seven hours driving just for that moment — all worth it!

I won’t be spending Mother’s Day in person with my mom this year, but I did want to re-post this special Mother’s Day memory in her honor. I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day 2013

Get to know my mom in my first book, Lines in the Gravel. Though she encouraged me for years to write, she probably would have preferred that I leave out “The Time We Took Mama to ‘Rasslin’.” She has even been a good sport about that one, though.

About Al Ainsworth

Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell.

Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel, Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and the Coach Dave series. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.

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