Tomorrow of course is Mothers’ Day. This holiday we celebrate nationwide is celebrated earlier in other countries on different days, such as the UK. The American holiday got its start in a Methodist church in West Virginia in 1908. I know, call me biased, but it’s true.
I should never lose an opportunity to share gratitude for my mother, Betty Louise (Hahn) Stanley. Born in 1939, she was known as Betty Lou by her friends and Betsy by her besties. She was raised in a German-American family smack dab in the middle of Ohio (Mansfield). Later the family moved out to Lexington. Grandma (Hout) Hahn was also from a family of German immigrants, having reunions with their German relatives every other year.
Grandpa Hahn retired as an accountant from Westinghouse, and Grandma Hahn kept the house and raised the kids. My mom was very active in the church (of course), especially in music. She toured with her sister in a ladies’ trio (popular back then) and won awards. She played the violin in her High School Orchestra and played tennis. My Dad met her while work up at Beulah Beach Camp on Lake Erie, where Grandpa had built a “cottage” (my mom’s younger sister, Connie, retired to there). I guess my Dad was playing the piano in the tabernacle one day when my mom and her friends happened by to see where that lovely music was coming from. The rest was history.
Dad would hitch hike home from Nyack College on breaks to see who he hoped would be his wife. That worked. They eventually married and both moved to Nyack, where Mom took organ lessons, and had babies.
She eventually birthed six children; first my three older siblings in New York, then and my younger brother and I in Indiana, then 10 years later, the “surprise” Faith, in Ohio. Dad left college early to pastor a small church in Frankfort Indiana. Dad, just as in college, had to find extra part-time jobs to pay for the growing family. Up to 3 kids in just 4 years.
I literally never heard Mom complain about her life, that certainly became much more stress-filled after she married. I never heard her talk ill of anyone. She might have grumbled a bit about some, but nary a cross word.
Mom continued to raise us and played the organ for church services. She died from heart-failure at only 57. But, all us kids got raised. We all remain as living tributes to her labours, service, and ministry. Mom doesn’t know (unless we are able to observe our families after death) that I joined the USAF. She never got to meet my daughter, now a junior (yikes) in college and ROTC Cadet.
But, from within months after Mary was born, I could start seeing my mother in her. My mom was the only member of our family with brown eyes. Mary’s got those brown eyes. She’s got her music capabilities. Her high cheek bones are in my son, as well. My mom’s still with me. Inside me, literally in my DNA. In my children, through their interests, quirks and appearance. When long lost family see them, they say, “ah, I see your Mom in you... it’s those high cheek bones.”
Since mom passed I adopt mothers wherever I live. Just because mine is gone doesn’t mean I don’t have figures in my life that fill that void. Also, it’s lets me celebrate mothering done and lived gracefully; honour someone who doesn’t have children but lives the example.
In the photo, Mom, is standing between her “little sister” Connie and “little brother” Tim, singing the praises of the Lord in our basement in Bucyrus Ohio, with her father “The Bass” and brother, Tom.
Mom will remain in our hearts, minds, attitudes and appearance.
If you can’t thank and give yours a hug tomorrow; find one doing it right, who deserves your hug and thanks, and pass it on.
Jack Stanley serves as Pastor of the United Methodist Church of Parker. When you catch a Glory Sighting, let me bring it into the light by sharing it with this column via email@example.com.