And now for the good mamas. My mother and her mother are two of them. My mother, Catherine, was one of four daughters (five, actually, but little Frances died at 18 months old, I believe). Grandmother Ilder (don't ask; we have no idea where that name came from) ruled the roost.
Mama - and even we grandkids called her "Mama" because that's what our mothers and aunts called her - was a formidable lady, and I was always a little afraid of her. That's saying a lot, because I've always been a tough cookie myself. But Mama seemed to move about like a big battleship: organizing, lining things up, leading the charge - whether it was getting supper ready or herding us out the door to Vacation Bible School. That's not to say she was mean or nasty - she just had a powerful presence.
Unlike Mama, my own mother - we called her "Mother" - shared home rule with Daddy, but she was pretty powerful on her own. While Mama commanded actions, Mother commanded more subtle stuff like feelings and conscience. The very thought of disappointing her kept me in line for many years, and probably keeps me in line to this day. She was a wonderful mother - no one could've had better.
Love of family came first with Mother and Mama, though I'm sure they'd fight to say that love of God came first (I think He, indeed, ran a close second). Family was what both women were about - the more chaos of children, sisters, brothers-in-law, cousins, the better. And they passed that family love down to their children. I believe we have done the same for our children. We are a close family. That is no small thing.
This is my first Mother's Day away from Kate. Last night, the family gathered at sister Cindy's home for a cookout (sans me and brother Bill - what's your excuse Bro??). As they were unloosening their belts and top buttons after a fine meal, they called me to wish me a Happy Mother's Day. Each one in turn took the phone, asked about New York, and promised to visit. The family stuff is important. Probably the most important, as modeled by Mother and Mama.
I realize not everyone is so lucky. But family is not always blood. For those who aren't close to blood-kin, I do hope you have formed families with someone(s), somehow. Find your family - blood or no - and pass it on. Happy Mother's Day!