Rumination VIII – For All The Mothers In My Life

I’m a blessed man. They are too many to list here, but for today, I’m thinking about the blessings from all of the Mothers in my life … and there are four of them.

First off is the Mother who bore me: Gerry McClanahan

My mother was an amazing woman.

I’m the youngest of Mom’s three children, so I always got whatever I wanted (which drove my sisters crazy; in fact it still does today). She spoiled me, no doubt, but she meant well. She loved me beyond words. She was always there when I needed her. Sometimes that was for a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes it was for a stern talking to.

My Mother was the most intellectual woman that I have ever known. She knew something about everything. And when she didn’t know, she just might make something up. You had to be careful, because it was really hard to know when she was making stuff up.

Mom gave me the straight-up answer to every question that I ever asked of her, even when I might not have understood it the first time. She encouraged my curiosity about the world and challenged me to learn.

Mom raised me to be honest, trustworthy, faithful, dependable, hard-working, and true. She demonstrated those very qualities in her own life. She may have had a sharp tongue from time to time, but if she gave you her word on something, you could take it to the bank.

I lost my Mother in October 2000. I doubt that there has been a week since then that I have not thought of her, or told some crazy story about her. She has become larger-than-life to me, and the memories grow sweeter with each passing day.

I’m very thankful for my Mother. I hope that my life honors her and the things that she taught me.

The second Mother in my life: Patsy Cox

Patsy became my Mother-in-Law (aka MIL) in September 1991.

I hear Mother-in-Law stories from a lot of people, and it must be that not everyone has a good relationship with theirs. However, I could not want for a better Mother-in-Law. Patsy is the sweetest, most genuine, loving person you will ever meet … and I can prove it: she puts up with my Father-in-Law.

She raised three girls, one of whom is my lovely wife, Michelle. Patsy taught her girls about faith, and she taught them the meaning of service. She lived a Proverbs 31 kind of life before them. And it certainly rubbed off on my wife.

Patsy raised her three girls while my Father-in-Law served in the Air Force. She was often a single mom while he was in active service. She had to do a little bit of everything to maintain a household during those times. And then, there’s the fact that all three of her girls were teenagers at the same time!

Like so many Moms, she was and is the glue that holds her family together.

I’m thankful for my Mother-in-Law. She’s an amazing lady.

The third Mother in my life: Michelle McClanahan

Michelle is my wonderful, loving wife. We married in September 1991.

She is the mother of our four wonderful kids. I know of no better Mother on the face of the earth. My kids are truly blessed to have her as a Mom.

She is patient, she is loving, she is kind. She loves our children more than herself. She teaches them, she encourages them, she corrects them when necessary. She is the model of unconditional love.

She cooks, cleans, washes, dries, folds, advises, counsels, consoles, listens and does a million other things for them. She even gave up her career because raising kids meant more to her.

Michelle is more than an amazing Mother; she’s an angel.

The fourth Mother in my life: Betty Hickerson McClanahan

Betty became my Step-Mother in 2003.

I really didn’t need a lot of mothering when Betty came along, but my Father certainly needed someone to spend his life with.

You see, after my Mother died, my Dad didn’t have a reason to live. He seldom left the house. He was pale and fragile. He was carefully arranging things and putting his affairs in order. I’m convinced that he was ready to check out of this world.

But when Dad met Betty, that changed. His color improved. He smiled again. He found someone to love who loved him in return. He had something to live for.

She may not realize it, but she’s given me an extra decade to spend with my Dad.

I’m very thankful for Ms. Betty.

OK, there’s actually one more.

The fifth Mother in my life: Terry McClanahan Ulvog

Terry is my big sister, the oldest of my siblings.

When I was little, I told Terry that I was the only boy I knew who had two Mothers. She took awfully good care of her baby brother, so much so that I thought she was an extra Mom. She even loved me after I cut the strings out of her tennis racket with my pocket knife.

I’m very thankful for Terry … AND my other sister, Cindy McClanahan Shepherd … the one that I fought with most of the time. They are the best sisters a guy could have … and wonderful Moms in their own right.

Regardless of how many Mothers are in your life, take a minute to give thanks for them. And then let them know how much you appreciate them.

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