Because February is the month of love ~
I think of those who have loved me much. Today, February 11, is the anniversary of my mother’s death 28 years ago. I can’t help but think of her as Valentine’s Day approaches because we put her earthly shell in the ground on that day. The only flowers that year were the ones around her casket. It was a hard day.
But instead of feeling sad about my loss, let me tell you about this precious woman I called “Mother.”
Charline Lockard Rayhill was 27 years old when I was born. That was considered to be late in her day when most women were in their teens or early twenties when they had their first child.
Mother was such a wise parent. I suppose she learned it from her mother, Bertha Ray Lockard, who had been a school teacher before she married and began raising three children of her own. I am told Grandma Lockard had the wisdom of Solomon when it came to people skills. And I’ve heard some interesting stories. One of Grandma’s favorite quotes was “Consider the source,” when dealing with people who did and said stupid things.
It would only be natural that my mother would imitate her own mother’s parenting ways.
Mother was a strict disciplinarian while being a totally loving parent. She had the proper balance between the two. She let me know what was expected of me and then expected me to follow her instructions. I can remember a few times when as a little girl I was misbehaving or talking during church. All mother had to do was look at me with her dark brown eyes, and I knew I’d better straighten up.
Mother loved my dad. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind to him or fail to express her opinion even when it differed from his. But she was loyal to the death and would defend dad in a heartbeat. She showed me what it really means to be a good wife, one in whom her husband trusts. She did him good all the days of her life.
After I married, she became “Mom” to my Sweet William. He has told me how he loved talking to her early on Saturday mornings. She was a good listener, and they became buddies.
When I became pregnant, mother said she was not going to act like other grandmothers did, being silly about their grandchildren and showing off pictures all the time. Little did she know what her baby grandson would do to her heart. She became so enraptured by this tiny boy child that she became “one of those grandmothers” she said she would never be.
Mother loved to give gifts. One year at Christmas she bought and wrapped many small scatter pins (what we called them in the 1960s). My stocking was full of little Christmas packages that year.
No one enjoyed telling a funny story much better than my mother. She used to tell “The peanut butter story” to the family again and again upon request. Her sister, Doris, would laugh at it every time as if she were hearing it for the first time. Mother always tried to pull off a joke on April 1st, telling some tall tail, then laughing and saying, “April fools.”
Mother opened her arms and her heart to others. There were the ladies of her Tuesday morning Bible study who came faithfully each week. They loved her like she was their kin. Even the young men whom my dad taught in Bible study or counseled, more often than not gave her a big bear hug. She was a spiritual mother to many, giving away her love and her wise words.
Ah, I wish everyone could have a mother like mine. There would be fewer dysfunctional homes and far fewer people spending their adult lives trying to overcome their childhoods.
I loved my mother. I knew she loved me. That’s what every child needs.