Erma Carey-Bay will be writing a series of articles for our women readers highlighting her life experiences and the lessons she learned from her mother. She hopes to enlighten and inspire you just as she was enlightened and inspired by her own mother, who is now deceased. This article is part 2 of 3 in this series. Need to catch up? Read part one.
One of the things I appreciate most about my mother was the love that she had for me and my siblings. She was truly devoted to us and when my siblings and I became parents ourselves, her limitless love extended to our children—her grandchildren.
I watched my mother and saw how she actively loved us. We could depend on her to always be there, which provided such a sense of security that the thought of losing her threatened my very existence. We had developed a very special bond that she nurtured all of her life. When I was a child, she would say, “The Bible says to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” When I was a teenager learning what it meant to be ‘lady-like’, she said, “I taught you right from wrong.” When I became a woman, she encouraged me when I was struggling as a single parent and at my wits end by telling me that, “the Lord has made a way for you out of no way at all”. Her words were priceless and I still draw upon her wisdom as I face situations in my life today.
When it was time for me to go to college, my mother decided, against my wishes, that I would go to school away from home and away from my friends on a summer scholarship. She filled out the application, enrollment forms and even selected my major! She bought a train ticket, a couple of new outfits, fixed my lunch, bought me something to read—and I was on my way—alone—to school in Houston, Texas. As it would turn out, her insistence on sending me to college would have life-changing implications for me. My very first day on campus, I met and later married the man who was to become the father of my children! Because of my mother’s persistence, I also went on to get the education that she so valued and wanted me to have. Later, I became an elementary school teacher and worked to instill the value of education in the young students I taught.
Education was very important to my mother. She was active with the PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) and she volunteered to chaperone activities at my elementary school. All of the teachers knew her. She was available to them and available to her children both at school and in our extracurricular activities. From her, I learned to instill the importance of education in my own children and have watched each of them graduate with advanced degrees.
If I had to capture one of the greatest lessons I learned from my mother into words, it would be to love your children with everything you have. I watched her put us second-before herself and only after her relationship with God. As mothers, we, too, should have that same philosophy if we want our children to grow up and be all that they can be. My mother took her role as a parent seriously and she gave everything she had to us all the days of her life. Even when I became an adult and found myself as a single parent, my mother moved her life to come to the city I was living in to help me manage raising my children while I worked to provide a living for them. She was a mother to me until the very end of her life—and that is an example I will never forget.
When she left this Earth—her example remained here—the example of a good, Godly woman, who was faithful in her relationship with the Lord and who sacrificed everything for her children—that was the woman who I affectionately called, Mama.