Lincoln’s ‘angel mother’ reminds us of our own mother and mother figures

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Our country observes many holidays, some of which should be remembered every day, not on just one day of the year: Easter, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving and, of course, our blessed Mother’s Day.

We celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May, but we should keep the celebration going all through the year.

Abraham Lincoln wrote, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Many of us think of our mother as an “angel,” just as Lincoln did. Others might not think of their mother in that same light, yet mothers everywhere need to be recognized for their contribution to their children’s lives.

Giving birth and taking care of children are not easy. Sleep deprivation and little time for herself are difficult for a mother, especially if there is illness or some other problem, poverty or little support from other family members. Mothers usually persevere in spite of everything.

To most mothers, sacrifice for their children is a way of life. Mothers put their own needs on the back burner and gladly do without many things so that their children’s needs can be met.

Just think how difficult taking care of infants and older children must have been before modern conveniences such as refrigeration, indoor plumbing and available medical care were common. Much credit goes to mothers of the past for overcoming hardships.

Mothers have always been expert multitaskers. When there are several children to care for, meals to prepare, laundry to do, cleaning to complete and tender-loving care to give, mothers are pulled in numerous directions. Mothers who work at public jobs or those who stay at home to look after their families are all busy and under pressure.

Think about how children feel about their mother when she gets up at night to comfort them when they are sick or when they have a nightmare. Children take comfort when their mother tries to get them through a broken heart, a broken toy or a lost pet.

Mothers (as well as fathers) are their children’s most significant teacher. They teach their children to live in this world, to get along with other people, to love nature and to contribute to the good of the family by doing chores in the home.

Recently, a gentleman said that when he and his seven siblings went off to college, they all knew how to do just about anything to take care of themselves. Their mother had been a diligent teacher and maybe even an “angel.”

From time to time we hear people say, “My mother always said... “ and then tell of their mother’s ideas and wisdom that they can never forget or reject.

Because so many people remember their mother’s wisdom, we know for sure that mothers have a major influence on this world.

Almost every mother says that she wants to be a good mother. Mothering comes more naturally to some than it does to others, but most of them give it their best effort, even though they may miss the “angel” status from time to time.

While we honor mothers, we cannot forget stepmothers, foster mothers and the numerous mother figures who touch our lives. There is so much opportunity to touch children’s lives, even without being a mother yourself.

So this Mother’s Day, let us honor our mother or the memory of our mother in the old-fashioned way by wearing a red rose or some other red flower if our mother is living or a white rose or other white flower if she is deceased. What a lovely, visual tribute!

Another way to give a mother honor is to tell people about her love, sacrifice, humor, hard work, compassion and the tender care she gave to her children and others.

And if your mother is like Mr. Lincoln’s “angel mother,” tell her so.

Tomorrow, I plan to wear a white rose, remember my mother’s “angel” characteristics and resolve to think daily about her influence on my life.

Sanda Baucom Hight is retired from Wilson County Schools after serving as an English teacher and is currently a substitute teacher in Wilson County. Her column focuses on the charms of home, school and country life.