by Emily Herring Dunn
OK, so we were already in college. June of 2008, however, we were moving back to campus into the married housing. Yes, incredibly convenient. We were so ready to be out of our first apartment it wasn’t even funny, and the campus housing seemed like heaven.
This move we did on our own. Though we were expecting Clark’s family to visit at some point, we wanted to be self-sufficient. We took trip after trip moving our stuff from one place to the next. Living on the third floor in our new apartment didn’t help much, but what did help is that it was furnished. All of the stuff we had crammed into our tiny apartment was now to go into storage, save a few things that we needed to add a sense of home to the new place. That was where Clark’s family came in. They were going to come and help us transport things to their storage shed.
There was a lot of arguing, to be perfectly honest. Trying to take things up the stairs and see where I was going was not easy, so I tended to grab the lighter things and let Clark carry all the heavy stuff. It was difficult, because while we were moving he was still working full time and was now starting classes at the local community college. He was going back to school, which was an amazing thing, but the timing was so inconvenient.
Yes, those were my thoughts.
Yes, I know they were selfish.
Clark was stressed, and I wasn’t helping much. I was so focused on my upcoming trip in July to Germany and Paris that I didn’t care too much. I was excited about moving, but I was not excited about when we were doing it. I wanted to be with my family. It had been over six months since I had seen them, and I was “homesick.” I use quotations because Clark was my home, but we were still so young we were having a hard time separating from our parents.
Clark was going to hold up our new apartment. He was going to work, go to school, and provide for himself. I was nervous, but it had to be done.
When Clark’s parents finally arrived to take some of our things to Fayetteville, I was at work. I was hired as a temporary greeter at our local “theme park” called Tweetsie. It’s an old railroad that has been turned into an old Western-themed park. It’s pretty interesting. I worked from around seven or eight in the morning to six or seven in the evening ten days straight. It was tough, but it was worth it.
Anyway, Clark’s parents arrived and Clark told me it took all of him to keep his mom from unpacking my kitchen and putting it away, and to keep his dad from slipping him some cash. We were very grateful for all of their help, but this is when we began to attempt to make ourselves a little more independent. Our first year of marriage, or maybe even our first two, was pretty dependent on help from family. Getting married that young with no finances probably wasn’t the best plan, but we made it work.
The move was a success, and Clark continued to reassure me that everything would be fine while I was away. We were feeling more and more like we were finally out on our own. The first apartment had just shocked us into reality, but living on campus provided us with a stable place to live and the reassurance that everything would be provided to make school, and ultimately life, a lot easier. Oh, if only we knew what was ahead.
by Michelle Golden
Two summers ago my mother landed up in the emergency room; her heart rate was at a low four and the nurses were pumping something in her veins to reverse the drug effects of her attempted suicide. I remember staring at my mother, wondering if she was experiencing the same kind of internal emotional pain my sister and I were going through.
When she was later seen by a social worker we were told that she’s bipolar. My sister and I had been prepared for this answer for a while due to her years and years of destructive behavior. But when we finally had the answer in front of us, I don’t think either of us knew what to do next. Then, as if the social worker knew this was what we were thinking, she told us, “Your mother needs to get her self immediate help.”
We learned that bipolar disorder consists of disruptions in brain chemistry. The parts of the brain that control emotions don’t operate the way they should and because of this, individuals with the disorder experience certain moods more strongly and frequently than others for a longer period of time.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health approximately 5.7 million American adults or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year are affected by bipolar disorder, a disorder that severely affects mood swings. Out of the 5.7 million Americans who are affected by this disorder a lot of them are not aware of it and some may not even do anything to receive the right treatment.
For a number of reasons people who suffer from bipolar disorder don’t get the necessary help they need from a doctor. They may ignore their family and friend’s plea to seek treatment. Most of the time the number one reason for not seeing a doctor is fear. When people suffering from bipolar disorder live in denial they don’t have to face themselves, their fears, and reality. They can continue going about their everyday lives – even if their relationships with family, friends, and co-workers are at risk.
When getting treatment isn’t a priority people can risk becoming suicidal and one’s long-term physical health is at risk as well. And that’s the stage my mother was in when we found ourselves at her hospital bed. For years we didn’t know what the problem was and for years she never thought she had a problem.
Millions of Americans have bipolar disorder and it can develop at any point in an individual’s life. It’s not only a personality disorder but it is also a real disease. It requires medical attention just like cancer or diabetes requires treatment. The right treatment is out there for everybody. Medications are available to help stabilize moods and in therapy one can discuss feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Through seeking professional help people can learn to cope with the bipolar disorder and learn how to fully engage in ways to better live a more gratifying and functional life.
One thing to realize when you’re dealing with a family member who has the disorder is that it isn’t your fault. For years my mother put the blame on my sister and I for her divorce from my father, or for her health, or just for even being born. But it is important to understand that all of these are irrational thoughts and though they may hurt, it really is the bipolar disorder in the parent speaking. Sometimes I think that maybe there is hope and she will change. But then those thoughts are interrupted when I remember the harsh names, the hitting, the shoving, and the manic state she was capable of getting stuck in. I used to think I was just the bad daughter. But when I moved out and my sister then had to deal with it, I knew that I had been wrong for many years and my mother’s daughters weren’t the problem. The fact that she wasn’t getting the right help was.
Although it’s been two years after my mother’s diagnosis and she still isn’t seeking the right help, I know that it takes time. It is true that her life has gone in a downwards spiral since then. She isn’t emotionally and physically healthy and stable to have a job. My mother is still suffering from the tremendous effects of the disorder. But I do have faith that at some point she’ll be ready to take the right medication, to speak with the right professional, and to trust in her own self and others that there is a light at the end of the long and dark tunnel. Like with anything, the first step is admitting when there is a problem. And after that, it’s about taking one day at a time.
RCG Mag Editor-in-Chief, Nikki Roberti and her soon-to-be fiance are entered in an online contest to win a $10,000 engagement ring and $5,000 toward their wedding.
They are currently in first place in the Simon G. Jewelry “Perfect Proposal” competition, but other couples are not far behind. An eHarmony couple is just 60 votes away!
Please, please vote for them so they can get the wedding and engagement of their dreams! And spread the word! They announce the top 5 every Friday on the Simon G. Jewelry Facebook and the top three will be announced on Nov. 1st. If Roberti and her boyfriend make it to the top 3, they will have until Nov. 30th to get enough votes to win the ring!
To read their brief story and vote, click here.
Thank you again and please! Spread the word!
by Emily Herring Dunn
In October of 2008 we were starting to get iffy with transportation.
I was working, I had the sorority, I had school. Clark had work, he was taking classes at the community college, he was trying to go climbing more. It was a mess. We’d be trying to take turns with the van, considering I could just walk down a hill to get to class, but with the sorority, I needed to drive, too.
On top of all that, Clark was considering attending classes at another community college that was about 30 minutes away. We needed another mode of transportation, but there was no way we could afford a car.
Clark started looking into motorcycles. I was not pleased.
I thought just a bike would do, but then realized he couldn’t ride a bike to a college thirty minutes away down the mountain on a major highway.
It wouldn’t work.
I thought maybe we could ask his parents if they could loan us a car temporarily, like my parents had done with our lovely 1998 Mercury Villager van.
They couldn’t do it.
All things were pointing to a motorcycle, but it came down to finances once again. We couldn’t afford it. There was no way possible unless we got a loan.
We looked into a loan, but a motorcycle is considered a “leisure” loan, not a transportation loan. We would need a cosigner on top of that, because we had no credit history.
We were stuck.
We went to my older sister and her husband. They were very understanding of several situations due to the fact that they were young and married as well.
They offered to lend us money with a payment plan that would have us pay it off in a year.
It was agreed on, we made a sort of contract, and we received a check to go toward a motorcycle Clark had found.
We made payments to the man as well. We gave him most of it upfront with the check from my sister and her husband, and then made payments from our bank account as time went by.
The motorcycle started being worth it. It made things a lot easier, but it didn’t ease my mind that Clark was out on a bike driving around.
I knew he was a safe driver… it was other drivers that made me nervous.
One of my sorority sister’s boyfriend got into an accident on his bike, and it made my anxiety even worse.
But, it was a good investment. It made us able to be separate and not worry about time limits and things like that. We were able to focus on what we needed to do, without worrying about if we needed to pick the other person up.
Being in school, being married and attempting to have a social life was harder than imagined. It was only going to get harder as college progressed, but finding small solutions day by day definitely made it worthwhile.
by Emily Herring Dunn
In September 2008 Clark and I celebrated our one year anniversary.
We had successfully moved and survived one year of college. Clark was at a job that provided enough for us to live on, and I was working part time at a calling center on campus. We were flying high as newlyweds.
It just wasn’t quite enough.
While I had enjoyed my first year of school, and enjoyed my first year of marriage even more, something was missing.
I had a couple of college friends, but I was still closer with my high school group of girls. I needed girls to escape married life with. I needed girls to talk about boys with. After all, I was still only 19. I needed to be a normal college girl in one way or another.
I decided to rush, meaning I decided to join a sorority.
I had heard great things. My mom was in a sorority and my older sister was in a sorority. It just seemed a natural way to meet girls with the same interests and one major thing in common.
Clark was incredibly supportive. He was making work friends, and he knew I needed girls to hang out with. I think he was glad I was finding something else to do.
I was a bit demanding during our first year because I was so wrapped up in married life.
It happens to all of us. We are so enraptured with the person we’re spending the rest of our lives with that we forget about the other part of our lives.
While Clark is my best friend in the entire world, I needed an estrogen balance. It just took me a year to realize it.
So, I went through rush. I had an extraordinary time. I ended up with a sorority who was very accepting of my marital status.
Most sororities do not want a girl who is already married. I was lucky. I found one that wanted me precisely the way I was.
Girls need girl friends. There’s no way around it. You can spend day in and day out with your boyfriend or husband, but ultimately you need time with girls.
I hadn’t quite figured this out until I had been married for one year. I needed shopping, exercising, movies, coffee, and all the other wonderful things with a female friend. Not Clark.
Don’t get wrong. Clark is my best friend. I can talk to him about everyone and everything… except him.
I needed girls to talk to about him: when we disagreed, when he was wonderful, all of it. I had my sisters, I had my mom, but I needed friends who were in the vicinity.
Balancing was hard. Having time for friends who wanted to constantly do things, and spending time with Clark on top of school, work schedules, and now friends was exhausting. However, it was necessary.
While I wouldn’t say taking the sorority road is for everyone, I would say if you’re married while in college, you need to have girlfriends. Get together for coffee, lunch, manicures, or whatever your style is once a week or so. Get some time away from the home, school, and the husband, and enjoy being a girl.
by Emily Herring Dunn
I was headed to Germany. I was beyond excited to fly across the ocean on my own, see my family and take a train to Paris. I was excited and scared. It was the first time Clark and I would truly be apart. It was for almost three weeks. It was going to be a challenge.
As Clark drove me to the airport, we talked about when we would call. A six-hour time difference wasn’t going to help either of us, but if I got up super early I’d be able to call him right after he got off work and right before he went to bed. We could make it work, as we had everything else. Our new apartment was in a very convenient location for Clark, and if he needed anything he had a calling card. It was going to be fine.
When I was waiting on the plane, I wasn’t sure how it was going to work. The flying, I mean. I kept looking out the window and realizing how far I was going and who I was leaving behind. There were a few moments I considered just getting off, telling my parents I couldn’t come and calling Clark to come back for me. I had tears in my eyes. This was a first. It was a step on my own, which I really hadn’t had since that first month of college. I went straight from my parents’ house to my husband’s. This was the first time, for a brief time, I was alone.
I was in a window seat. If you’ve never flown international, there are two seats next to the windows on each side of the plan, and then something like four to six seats in the middle. I was sitting right next to the window, and the young gentleman next to me was clearly German. He didn’t want to speak to me, and anytime I had to get up to go to the bathroom he looked absolutely appalled that once again he had to get up as well. I eventually stayed in my seat and fell asleep against the window, watching movies over and over again.
Arriving in Germany was a relief. I knew just what to do, how to get my luggage, and so on. I had done it before. Yes, Clark had been with me, but if I had survived the plane ride next to some kid who didn’t want to even say a polite hello, I could survive pushing my way through people to get to my luggage. I had tied ribbon on my suitcases so I would recognize them; this was definitely helpful. I got out of there in good time, and emerged from behind glass doors to find my family waiting for me. I was exhausted, but it was so good to see familiar faces.
Calling Clark while in Germany was a breeze. I got up early, as we planned, and called him. While I had to stay on the phone with him longer than imagined, my parents had free international calling so it was okay. I felt so bad for him. I was with people who were familiar, and therefore I wasn’t as homesick for him. However, he was homesick for me. He probably wouldn’t like me sharing this, but there were several times on the phone that he was desperately emotional. It was even worse when I was in Paris.
Paris was enchanting. It made me miss Clark all the more, but I couldn’t help but enjoy myself. Visiting the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysees, the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, Notre Dame, Versailles… I was overwhelmed. More than anything I wanted Clark to be there with my family and me, but I grew to accept being there without him and took hundreds of pictures so he could experience my trip when I returned home.
In Paris we had a bit of a problem. There was miscommunication, and I was told that when I called out with a calling card there would be a onetime fee, which I was happy to pay. However, when my parents received the bill, the fee had been applied every single time I had called Clark. The manager ended up refunding half of what we were told to pay, but my mother was not exactly happy with me.
It was a necessary evil, I thought. If I hadn’t called Clark, I’m not sure what he would have done. It was impossible to do morning calls when I was in Paris, so I would call him in the evening, or whenever my little sister and I were in our room. He was even more miserable when we were in Paris. I think he sensed I was enjoying myself without him, and he was home being responsible. If we had known then what would be happening in a year, I don’t think he would have been quite as miserable.
When I returned home, Clark was waiting at the airport with flowers for me. It was one of the most romantic things he has done to date. We went out to a nice dinner, we returned home, and I crashed. I was, once again, exhausted… but it was so good to really be home.
I know that I have my regular column entitled Married in College, but I thought it may be refreshing to write an actual article on being married young. After all, many of you may be nearing an age where you feel ready to be with that person whom you love.
My husband and I knew each other all through high school. Though we were friends and we were there to support each other through rough times, we were not romantically involved until our senior year of high school. In the first month of our freshman year of college, we eloped.
While this may seem extreme and not well thought out to many of you readers, we are still going strong and still feel like we did when we first started dating.
It’s not easy. Being married young is NOT easy. No matter how easy people may make it look on the television or through articles or books, it is not easy.
I think it’s and for people who got married young to admit the trials and tribulations they faced. Why? Because when you marry young you are automatically put into a category of concern. People do not understand why you couldn’t wait; if it’s so meant to be, why can’t the couple wait a few more years?
Everyone has their reasons, but being in a category that is so questioned these days makes it hard for younger couples to admit they’re struggling. Getting married young is typically viewed as a mistake to the outside world, so for those who got married young they have to stay strong and appear as though nothing is ever wrong.
OK, you may think that’s a little over the top. There are the few who look at young married couples with admiration and wish that they could do the exact same thing. Perhaps others have patience, perhaps others aren’t sure, or perhaps others wait because they don’t want to be seen as other young married couples.
I cannot speak for everyone. I can simply give you some pointers.
One: If you feel as though you are ready to be married, make sure you talk it through. Don’t just get up and get married because others are telling you not to, or because you want to prove people wrong. Those are NOT good reasons. Get married because you know it’s right, because you know you don’t want to wait another day to start your forever together. Don’t get married for sex. Talk everything through and make sure you are getting married for the right reasons.
Two: Look at your financial situation. One thing I do look back on and laugh at is that Clark and I were not ready financially. We were both college students and the only reason we had money is because I had quite a bit saved from babysitting the year before. Neither of us had “real” jobs, and we were trying to make it in school. If you’re going to get married, you need a support system—friends, family, finances. Clark and I didn’t have any of those, possibly because we didn’t tell anyone we were getting married. Make sure you have enough money to stabilize yourselves in the beginning—especially if you are both in college.
Three: Talk to others about it. Clark and I were concerned that no one else would understand. We told my roommate, a few close friends, and hoped for the best. The day we got married, we e-mailed both of our parents a long letter explaining why. While I know that their advice would have been full of questions of, “How are you going to,” “Don’t you think you should,” “You are far too young,” I think we could have handled it. I think we would have seen things we didn’t think about, and things we needed to wait on, but I know we still would have done it. Premarital counseling, I think, is important; though we didn’t go through it, I think it’s a good suggestion—especially if you’re young. You need to have someone else talk you through situations, point out the importance of communication, and so on. We didn’t get all of that until after we were married, and I think the first few months would have been a lot easier had we talked to our closest friends and family.
The times that we live in do not support young marriages. Women and men are supposed to go out and establish themselves on their own. However, I think that if you are ready—you’re ready. If you know, you know. No one else can make the decision for you, but I think it’s a decision that is not to be made lightly and should only be carried out if you are completely positive.
While my three pointers left out the most important in my opinion, I thought it would be best to end with.
The Most Important thing to Remember: Always put God first. In the relationship, you must remember that there is Someone who needs to come before your spouse. It should be God, each other, and then everybody and everything else. God is always first, and if He is not first in your relationship, then you need to rethink your decision. Clark and I struggled with God in the beginning because we were so enamored with each other that we seemed to forget Him. Talk to Him about it, pray about it… because only He can give you the right answer.
Marriage is one of the most important decisions you will make in your entire life. It doesn’t matter if you decide when you’re 18 or when you’re 65 as long as you’re sure it’s the right decision, the right person, and God is not going to be pushed aside for it.
I married at age 18. Now, at age 21, I look back and know that I would still make the same decision, with the same man, but I would tweak it just a bit. I would make sure we had the support systems, would make sure we talked to someone, and would enforce the most important thing to remember: that God was first in the decision.
By Emily Herring Dunn
Now that you know the condition our apartment was in, you can understand the stress that would come with a family visit.
In April Clark and I prepared for my mom and little sister to visit from Germany. They were coming for my birthday as well as my older sister’s graduation from Roanoke College in VA. We had a fun-filled planned vacation, but my mom and little sister were not prepared for Homespun Hills.
The other thing that we all weren’t prepared for?
When my mom and little sister visited, all of a sudden I was possessive of everything. After all, it was our house. I was angry when they insulted anything, upset when they didn’t consult me about their plans—even if I was in class.
The first visit of my family coming to stay with us did not go entirely as smoothly as planned.
My mom and little sister arrived shortly before my birthday. The plans we had for while they were “in town” was simply to go to the outlet stores up the mountain. Mom said she would take me on a mini-shopping trip for my birthday, and my little sister wanted me to help her pick out some clothes.
Well, the day after they arrived I left my house key with them and went to class. My mom wanted to run a few errands, and she needed the house key, obviously, to get back in.
Well, when I returned from class my mom and little sister were gone.
Clark had one key, and they had the other. Luckily, one of our windows didn’t lock, so I took my time (this wasn’t the first time) maneuvering the window to get it open and get in to the house.
I was furious.
I had told them what time I was done with class, and had thought we were going shopping when I got home. Mom said she just wanted to go here and there and would be back in time. How could they be so inconsiderate?
Between 30 minutes to an hour later they walked in carrying shopping bags.
I started spouting.
I gave them evil looks and wondered what on earth had happened. I thought we were all going shopping together. Did they forget what time my classes were over? I had to break in to my own apartment because they were out doing something we were supposed to be doing together!
After my mom explained and my little sister cried, we all settled down. However, this was only the beginning.
My birthday was on a Friday that year, but we had decided to drive to the outer banks for the weekend. We couldn’t leave until around 4, though, because Clark had to work. Though he assured us we’d get there in good time, mom didn’t know good time still meant 11:30pm.
The whole way there she muttered about his driving under her breath. It took all of Clark to keep his patience, and most of the time all of him lost.
When we first stopped for gas, and Clark asked mom to fill up, there was a conflict. Clark spilled out the how much we really had in our bank account, and then I was furious for letting my mother know how destitute we were.
Oh, how the list goes on.
While the weekend at the beach went very well, it was later that the true blow up occurred.
When we returned I had exams to take and we were going to have a “real” birthday celebration with a cake and such. While I was studying, my mom decided to invite our neighbor over for the birthday celebration. While I appreciated her thoughtfulness, I was annoyed.
I wanted my birthday to be with my family, only. After all, they were there for it—why did we have to invite our 40 year old neighbor who we saw everyday?
I started yelling.
I was yelling about my birthday, about my exams, about mom and Molly not respecting our house—everything.
I then commenced to tell our neighbor that my mom wasn’t feeling well and would he mind if we just sent over some food. My mom emerged from the apartment and started yelling at me, in front of our neighbor, telling me not to lie.
Our poor neighbor.
Clark pulled us in to the apartment and played peace maker, which was surprising because he and my mom had been complaining about each other to me just earlier that day. We then went back to apologize to our neighbor after Clark had calmed us down.
While the visit ended up being wonderful, it was a lesson-learning experience.
I learned that my mother is always going to be my mother, even in my house.
I learned that Clark and I still had a lot of growing up to do before we were ready for relatives to stay with us.
I learned that Clark and I had to establish ourselves as our own entity, our own family.
I learned that my parents, and Clark’s parents, still had a lot of accepting to do.
I learned that everything was going to take time.
I learned that everything would be OK as long as we kept putting God first.
So, this column probably isn’t as entertaining as the last few. I must say that while the visit still sticks out in my mind, I can’t remember a lot of the details. I can’t remember my exact words or my mother’s, I can’t remember Clark’s attitude before or after he played peace maker, and I can’t remember exactly all that my neighbor had to endure.
What I can remember is that we got through it. We survived the first visit of others that were to come, and I finished my first spring semester of college.
We had no idea what was on our schedules for the next year.
RCG Mag staff wanted to take a moment to shout out to their special mom’s this month! So take a moment and read up on why we love our mom’s…then go hug yours or any other inspiring woman in your life. Here’s to the strong, empowered women of our lives! Happy Mother’s Day!
My mother is my best friend… maybe it’s a special bond we have because we share the same birthday, or maybe it’s just because she is such a compassionate, comforting and understanding woman. My mother is stylish… we share our clothes. My mother is more popular than I am… we can’t go to any store without her seeing someone she knows. But most of all, my mother is an inspiration. I have never met a person with more strength and optimism than my mother, and I doubt I ever will. There’s nothing she can’t do. She graduated from college, had a full time job, raised two kids, and most amazingly, fought cancer. The things she has gone through just within the past year of her life are more than most people would ever be able to bear. But not my mother. Sure, there are tough days… she’s only human. But the way she faces the world in such a confident, optimistic and fearless way, makes me want to look life in the eyes and challenge it the same way. Seeing my mother’s strength and heart gives me the strength to get through the tough days. She gives me the power to see the good among the painfully unfair things that have been thrown our way. And most of all, she gives me support, love and solidarity when I feel like life may be falling apart right in front of me. I have never stopped learning from her, and I know I never will. So, thanks mom…you’re pretty great. Happy Mother’s Day, I love you!
Words can’t describe the love and respect I have for my mom. The older I become, the more I realize all she has done for me. Not only is she my mom, but she is my best friend. This past year has brought some difficult situations my way, and my mom has stood by my side through them all. She is there for me no matter what I say or do, and I can never thank her enough. What I love most about her is that she strives to be a Godly example for me. The way she lives her life is a testimony to me, and I am forever grateful for this. Her patience, love, kindness, and courage are all parts of her loving and charitable personality that I respect and hope to attain. God has blessed me with a wonderful mother who loves and worships Him, and radiates compassion and forgiveness. I am so thankful for her, and I couldn’t ask for a better mom.
When I look at my mom, I see the kind of woman I desire to be. With four children, she takes joy in putting all her time into supporting us in everything we do. She is such an encouragement to my life and has taught me what it looks like to be a hard-working, genuine, compassionate and godly lady. I am amazed at her selfless desire to help other people, no matter who they are or how busy she is. My mom is the epitome of the godly woman described in Proverbs 31, specifically verses 25-26: “She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.” My mom is not only my role model, but she is also one of my best friends, and I so much appreciate how she is always there to listen to me, understand and offer godly advice. Even when I don’t treat her the way that I should, she chooses to love me no matter what. I cannot begin to express how thankful I am for my mom. God has really blessed me with her and my dad; I could not ask for a greater example of Christ’s love. Happy Mother’s Day Mommy…I love you!
When I was a senior in high school, my senior prom fell overnight into Mother’s Day. When they didn’t have enough volunteers to work the 11pm to 5am after-prom event, my mom chose to begin her Sunday in a high school cafeteria. And when we woke up mid-day after getting home, she made a full breakfast for ten people. This is why my mom is amazing: she has been a caterer, a driver, a hostess, a boss, a chaperone, a psychologist and an audience. She has sat through enough bad violin concerts and grade school plays to fill a scrapbook. She has two kids but plays an integral role in several of their friends’ lives. Yes, sometimes I think she mothers too much and we have our share of squabbles. I still get frustrated when I’m home from college and she makes me text her telling her I’ve reached a friend’s house. But I know she does it because she loves me. She’s always looking out for me. If the world had more people that cared as much, it would be a better place. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
I would like to wish my mother Cheryl Neal a Happy Mothers Day. My mom has always been there for me when I needed her to. Ever since I was born she has put in a hundred in ten percent to help me an anyway that she could. I know sometimes we can have our arguments, but I believe it’s because we’re so much like each other. I want to thank her for raising me to be a beautiful classy young woman just like herself. I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world. At the end of the day in many cases she is the only one who understands. I don’t tell her enough how much I appreciate her and love her so I want to take the time out and thank my mommy. I love you!
From my genes to my strength, I am my mother’s daughter. Most importantly, she is the reason that I’m alive, but she’s also the reason behind who I am. She gives me my independence when I need it and she offers advice when I ask. She accepts me and she loves me. I admire her from a distance as she leads by example, running her own company and being a successful woman in a patriarchal corporate world. She’s my best friend, but let’s not forget, she’s also the reason for my great hair. You always hear people say that they can never repay their mothers and it’s at this point in my life when I realize just how true that is. I can only hope to one day become for my daughter what my mother is for me – my core.
Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful mom, Christine Louise Russell Gonzalez. I love you for “oofy poofy oofy poofy, nope!” and “Koala Lou, I love you.” I love you for all the years of home schooling I wouldn’t trade for anything (if I’m a genius—and I am—it’s only because of you!). I love you for being my favorite person to weep copiously about movies with. I love you for raising me to love God, and for not raising me to be one of “those girls.” I love you for all the times in the last few years you’ve pushed and encouraged me, to help me become the kind of woman I want to be. Not to mention you’re way more beautiful than all the other *cough*-year-old moms around! I love you Momma, big as the world.
In Exodus chapter 20, God gave His people ten basic instructions for how to live an upright life. When you really think about, ten rules is not all that many; obviously God meant for us to pay special attention to these ten things, above everything else. Fairly high on this list of ten—number five—is “honor your father and mother.” Added to the end of that command is a promise from God: that “your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” This promise refers specifically to the promised land God was giving to his people in the book of Exodus, but even today, all these thousands of years later, the implication remains that honoring your parents is a really important thing to God.
This month we will set aside a day to honor our mothers. At my house, this will entail breakfast in bed, a few gifts, lunch at her favorite restaurant, and probably flowers—all to show my mom that we think she’s wonderful and we love her. Mother’s Day, no matter how simply or how extravagantly you acknowledge it, is truly a great thing. However, when God instructs us to honor our mothers, He probably didn’t quite mean giving them one day out of the year and being content with that. The question we should ask ourselves, then, is how can we show our mothers honor throughout the year? To answer this question, I think it is important to first know what the word “honor” actually means.
The first definition Dictionary.Com gives for the verb form of this word is “to hold in high respect.” You can show that you hold your mom in high respect in a hundred different ways, from small things like answering in full sentences instead of mumbling when she asks you about your day, to bigger things like vacuuming or washing all the dishes without being asked. Respect can be a tricky concept to grasp, however; it can take so many different forms, and it means something different to each person (Aretha didn’t say “find out what it means to everyone!”). Ultimately this particular expression of honor will depend on your individual relationship with your mother. If you’re not sure what your mom thinks of when she thinks of respect, it’s not a bad idea to just ask her directly! It sounds corny, but she’s likely to be thrilled that you really want to know.
Dictionary.Com’s second entry for the verb “honor” is “to revere.” A better word for “revere” might be “admire.” There are many ways to let your mother know that you admire her. One of the best ways might be to tell friends how much you appreciate her, while she’s there. But advice like this is not hard to come by. We girls are told fairly often, by our churches or our grandparents or our favorite piece of chick-lit, that it’s important that our moms know we admire them. We know it’s important to externally show our admiration; it might, therefore, be more important to work on internalizing this particular component of honor. Sure, we can remember to find a way of showing our admiration a few times per month or even per week, but do we really believe our own words on a daily basis? God’s desire, according to His command in Exodus, is that we honor our mothers not occasionally but with our lives—and that includes consistently revering them in our hearts.
I’m not at all trying to say that Mother’s Day is pointless or that it’s not a good way to honor our mothers. The Oxford English dictionary includes a definition that Dictionary.Com leaves out: “to celebrate.” We rightfully set aside one Sunday every May to celebrate the women who mean the most to us, whether it be with cards or food or gifts or just an extra long hug. But I would suggest that this year we should try to keep the values of Mother’s Day dear to our hearts long after May has come and gone. Imagine how honored your mom would feel if she was surprised with breakfast in bed in the middle of October!