Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, Eloise Morton Bailey. She’s 84, going on 50! She’s on Facebook, texts regularly and still lives in the house my dad and she built in 1972.
She’s had a few rough years, including losing my dad two years ago, but she’s battled through using some of the same things she taught me over the years.
On this Mother’s Day 2019, I thought I’d share a few of those things.
- Resilience. You have to bounce back. Never give up. If you fall down, get back up. Yeah, we’ll figure out who knocked you down or what you stumbled over, but you have to get back up and keep going. Even now, when I stumble, trip or fall down, I know I have to get up. I don’t even think about it, it’s second nature. My mom and dad endured so much, but I never saw them stay down long. They would always pick each other up and keep on going.
- Make a way. I was at a small school when I was in junior high. We had a good basketball program in junior high and high school, but the recap stories rarely made it into the local newspaper. Games at the bigger schools were always covered. Our school’s games were not. So, I started writing on an old typewriter. I well remember my mom and dad driving me downtown to the Natchitoches Times’ old building late one night and sliding that first story under the front door. It wasn’t long and not very flowery, but it had the facts and details of the game. Apparently, they found it the next morning since they printed the game story, almost verbatim. Sometimes, you just have to knock on the door. I kept sliding those stories under the door and they even started paying me. Eventually, I became the Sports Editor and have written for many major newspapers over the years. I’m still writing. There is a way. Sometimes you just have to keep knocking and turning corners.
- Help somebody. I can’t count the times that I can remember my mom cooking for and taking food to people. Friends or church members who had lost a family member, someone who was sick or someone who was just in need. That has stuck and I still enjoy helping people. Whether it’s paying for a co-worker’s lunch without them knowing it or doing something for someone who can’t repay you, Elizabeth and I both enjoy giving to others. And, ironically, it’s coming back to my mom, who told me just this week her refrigerator is stocked full from friends taking care of her after her heart surgery last month. Find someone you can help today!
- Convictions. There are principles, then there are preferences. Stand up for what you believe and what is right. They taught me about absolutes and black and white. Life isn’t relative and it’s not about how you feel today. Truth is truth, right is right and wrong is wrong. Planting the right values has made a world of difference in my life.
- You must have God in your life. Faith is important. We were in church on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. If there was a revival, we were there. If there was Fifth Sunday Singin’, we were there. If the church had a work day, we were there. It was more than just being there though. Living the life was important. It’s something I have never gotten away from. Even today, all three of my boys are in church. They lead worship in Louisiana, so this hand-me-down continues as part of her legacy.
There are many more values, principles, life lessons I could pass along: Morals, character, integrity, standards and others. When people ask how I was raised, I always say “I’m from the south. My momma always taught me to say ‘Yes m’am’ and ‘No sir’ We said ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ and if we didn’t, we heard about it.”
Thanks mom! Your legacy — and dad’s — will live on long after you and I are gone!
Happy Mother’s Day!