Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Happy Mother's Day 2010

I never knew Mama (Ieula Ann Dick Baird: March 6, 1885-December 7,1973.) as the young women in the picture to the left. She was 37 when I was born as the youngest of 11, nine of who grew to adulthood.

Mama told me stories about her life as a lttle girl as we slept in the same bed in our smaller home after my fathers death when i was nine.

My mother had also been raised by a widowed mother. Her young father had died when she was only 18 months old and while her mother was pregnant with her youngest brother. There were four older sisters and an older brother. She was reared in a small house on her maternal grandfather's large farm. Mama once told how, as a little girl, she would sometimes rub her mother's cold feet to warm them on freezing winter nights. She adored her hard working mother. With tears in her eyes, Mama also told me of the last time she saw her mother. She had watched her mother's horse and buggy out of sight down the long dusty road in front of their modest country home. When she got word her mother was dying, (around 1917) Mama took a train from their home in Oak Hill (near Conyers) but her mother had already died when she arrived in Griffin.

I started the first "Mothers Day post" on Ruthlace in 2005 by reminding all of us that to become a mother is not to become a saint. We all would agree there are saintly mothers and there are self centered, even criminal mothers. Most of us as mothers find our place somewhere in between.

Yet, in spite of the seemingly endless nausea and misery of pregnancy and tramatic pain of childbirth, the incredible love we have for that helpless and amazingly beautiful baby when it is finally born is awesome. There is something about motherhood that tends to bring out the best in most of us. Most of use can identify with Erma Bombeck who said; "...the easiest part of being a mother is giving birth. The hardest part is showing up on the job each day."

As adults, most of us also have an emotional attachment and love for our mother and come to Mother's Day thinking about our own mother and not about some honor due us if we also happen to be a mother. In cases where the mother has such personal problems as to neglect, abuse or abandon the child there is always unbelievable sorrow. Just the thought of "mother" brings about great emotion in many of us.

I remember one Saturday before Mothers Day when I was sitting in the sanctuary with our church music director. We were discussing the music for the next day and got into conversation about some of the old Mother's Day hymns. She mentioned two old gospel songs; "That Silver Haired Mother of Mine" and "If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again." We both choked up.

Charles Swindoll's book, entitled Living Beyond The Daily Grind, has a chapter, "The Grind of Motherhood." Is there any one of us who will not agree that in addition to the many joys of motherhood and the endless rewards, motherhood is a four letter word called "Work." Swindoll puts it this way; "The daily mounds of laundry, ironing, folding, cleaning , cooking, car pooling, being a referee, a coach, and encourager, a counselor, a cop, staying pretty, remaining tactful, loveable, compassionate, cheerful, responsible, balanced and sane..."

My daughter, Deborah Lewis, wrote a book in 1990, later put out in paperback which I think is one of the best on the subject of Motherhood Stress. If you have not read it, I recommend it. On the cover is a woman stretched out across two mountain peaks, with children walking across her, and the sub title is "Finding Encouragement in the Ultimate Helping Profession." Motherhood is the ultimate helping profession and parents are encouraged to realize the importance of the job.

I was in my early fifties when my mother died. Even though I had a husband and seven children, I will never forget the sense of lone-liness and loss I felt to realize my mother was no longer in my world.

The above photo is of my mother with her youngest grandchildren and some of her great grandchildren made at her home in March of 1960 or 1961 at our annual homecoming which we celebrated every year near her March 6 birth date. Until the last few days of her life, she lived in her own home and took care of herself. I am old enough now to realize it was not an easy thing to do. (The three youngest Shaw children are seen in the photo above. The two girls standing behind the sofa are Deborah Ruth Shaw Lewis and Jane Ann Baird Lathem. Four of the children in the part of the photo seen are great gandchildren. Far right (the his arms crossed) is David Baird Shaw. Next is Charles "Chuck" Jerry Baird , son of Jerry and Pat Baird and grandson of Ruth and Charlie Baird. Don't write it in stone but I think next little boy is Danny Loyd, the son of Benny and Evelyn Loyd (the grandson of Pelham and Vera Loyd. Sharlyn Beth Shaw Roszel is sitting next to her grandmother and the little girl next to her is Diane Loyd Gage, daughter of Benny and Evelyn Loyd.)

My mother had a philosophy of life as a Christian, not to worry about things that “could not be helped” and to take each day as a new beginning. In her honor, I want to again include the ballad I wrote in 1883 to honor my mother.

1. My mother grew old. . . had lines etched in her face,
Worked hard all her life. . . with uncommon grace
She lived by the Bible. . . Each day and each mile.
She taught me her secret. . . of life with a smile.

Today is the first day. . . Of the rest of your life.
Don't borrow trouble. . . With yesterday’s strife.
Take time, smell the flowers. . .
It makes life worth while .
Pick up each new day. . . With love and a smile!

2. Widowed while young. . . Mama worked in a mill.
Washed on a scrub-board. . . Brought wood up a hill.
She sang as she labored. . . to stay out of debt.
She taught me a lesson. . . I'll never forget.

3. One day I said, "Mama,. . . Your life has been hard.
You've buried two babies. . . Out in the church yard.
You've known all the heartache. . . of struggling for bread."
She smiled through her tears and these words she sai

4. Her old fashioned teacakes? We ate the last crumb!
Her old fashioned flowers? She had a green thumb!
She lived by the Bible. . . Each day and each mile.
She taught me her secret. . . of life with a smile.

Today is the first day. . . Of the rest of your life.
Don't borrow trouble. . . With yesterday’s strife.
Take time. . . smell the flowers.
It makes life worth while.
Pick up each new day with joy and a smile.

Ruth Baird Shaw<><

1 comment:

Carol said...

I love that poem.