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Real Answers™
Copyright: ©2012 James J. Jackson
620 words


By: James J. Jackson

When I was growing up, one Mother’s Day tradition within many of the churches was that people, old and young, wore a rose over one’s heart. Those whose mothers were still living were given a red rose, while those of us whose mothers were no longer alive wore white roses.


Among the adults, many people wore either red or white, but among children and young people, it was rare to see one of them wearing a white flower. For several years, I wore the white rose in shame, knowing that person after person would exclaim, “Poor baby! I’m so sorry!” I came to dread going to church and Sunday School on Mother’s Day. As I entered my teens, my Mother’s Day discomfort was compounded by thoughts that I was somehow dishonoring my Aunt Bessie, who had stepped in, along with her husband (my father’s brother, David), and adopted my nine siblings and me after we were orphaned after both of our parents died, one year apart.


When I was twelve or thirteen years old, I did not want to go to church on Mother’s Day, and my Aunt asked if we could talk about it. I told her that I didn’t want people to know my mother was dead, and that I felt I really did have a mother and father- her and Uncle Dave. I felt that she deserved the honor of being our mother. She reminded me that they loved us as though we were their natural children.


I went to church that day, and when they were handing out roses, I asked for one of each. I remember spending the day explaining my two roses to people, which was easier than displaying a message that I had no Mom, when I did.


Aunt Bessie, who never let an opportunity to give a life lesson slip by, told me that God showed His love for us by providing parent for us when He took our birth parents home to be with Him. She often joked that He must have loved us dearly and his hand had to be involved, because no one in their right mind would take in ten children when they only had one of their own. She also shared that she and Uncle Dave always wanted a large family, but had lost an infant son, and, after Doris was born, found that they could not have more children.


She went to be with the Lord soon after my younger brother graduated high school and went into the Marine Corps, after fulfilling her promise to my father that they would care for his kids. I was only nineteen years old when she died, but, even then, I realized what a treasure trove of wisdom she had given me, especially the concept of unconditional love, which she modeled daily.


Every Mother’s Day, I honor both of my mothers; the one who gave me life, and the one who gave me so many life lessons. As Aunt Bessie lay dying from cancer, she reminded me that the thing that would bring her happiness would be knowing that I would do as the Bible says, in Matthew 5:16...In the same way, let your light shine among men, so that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven”. I promised her I would.


So, on this and every Mother’s Day, I honor both of my Mothers-the one who gave me life, and the one who gave me countless life lessons, which have guided me through my life, and many of which I have passed on to my children. I wish a special blessing on all mothers on this special day.

"Real Answers™" furnished courtesy of The Amy Foundation Internet Syndicate. To contact the author or The Amy Foundation, write or E-mail to: P. O. Box 16091, Lansing, MI 48901-6091;

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