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Judy Riley

Sun Spots - Lorraine Tate

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I don't need Mother's Day to think about you, Mom. These days especially, I think of you every day.

You have said that you feel so blessed to have us to surround and support you; well, you are our blessing. You have been our mother. You came into our lives when we, and Dad, needed you; that was a blessing.

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Together with Dad, you nurtured, educated, supported, financed, advised, cajoled, disciplined. You taught us about faith, that God created us and that Jesus loves us. We are blessed with your unconditional love and we know how to love unconditionally. You taught us about tolerance and justice, courtesy and compassion. We learned to respect ourselves as well as others; you instilled in us a good work ethic and a sense of responsibility. We know right from wrong and how to make good choices.

You have been preparing for your entrance into Eternity for a lifetime. You have lived with a relish your 90 years as wife, mother, educator, mentor, leader, friend, grandmother, great grandmother, great-great grandmother, sister, daughter, aunt, child of God.

You nourished us to be strong and courageous as individuals, to stand steadfast for our convictions, and to use the talents God gave us. You opened new worlds for us through our music and other experiences beyond our own realm of comfort.

I think about our talks together over the years, just you and I.

Which birds are visiting my feeders and what do I feed them?

What was your secret ingredient for that cheesecake and what about that scrumptious hamburger gravy that you served over boiled potatoes? I can still taste them.

From sports to politics, history to religion and always your passion--educating the active minds of children--you continue to teach.

You're a lifelong educator, first as an elementary teacher for 38 years, and a Sunday school administrator and educator. Then following your retirement, as a volunteer teacher for public and Sunday school children. Your community volunteerism and leadership has been a lifelong passion too...

I'll bet readers could write a similar column about their own mothers. Most of us can recite what our mothers have done with us and for us.

In our family we tell one another as often as possible that we love each other. Recently, though, I had what may be one of my life's "aha" moments. I told my mom as always that I love her, but I also shared with her something that I've known for a long time but I don't think I ever told her: her courage is the foundation and the fuel that strengthens me.

Her courage as a young girl, to care for the temporary ill health of her own mother. Her courage to have lived through the time of the Great Depression to the age of technology.

Her courage to fall in love with our widowed father and marry him with the reality of his three small children still at home.

Her courage to lead the charge for pay equity for female educators and to negotiate benefits that all educators still enjoy today.

Her courage, as a senior citizen, to assume church and community leadership and volunteer roles.

Her courage to manage her own diabetes, without insulin until recent months, through diet and prescribed medication.

Her courage to volunteer in the pediatric ward at the hospital while our father was receiving kidney dialysis; then, many years later, to comfort me when my own husband was dying of leukemia.

Her courage to endure the pain of a new disease, the tedious visits to doctors, the hospital, the care center, and the countless, but necessary, adjustments to her medications.

Her courage to leave her home of nearly 30 years to enter a care facility.

And, finally, her courage to assure her children that she loves all of us, and that, in her words, "whatever is, is ... ."

Happy Mother's Day!

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