As Mother’s Day approaches this year, I’d like to tell you a little bit about the lady I call Mama. A strong-willed and feisty God-fearing woman about 5'4" with a small frame and wavy, rich brown hair, she loves a gadget, can’t swim and watches the Home Shopping Network and QVC with pure wonderment. To hear my Dad tell it, the UPS man knows her by name.
She loves a good Tom Hanks movie or Nicholas Sparks novel. A Saturday might find her spending time with her grandchildren, antiquing, getting a pedicure or going shoe shopping. Independent yet my Dad’s other half, career-minded yet the perfect homemaker, if you were to ask any one of my childhood friends what they remember about spending the night with me growing up, it would be her.
When I was in middle school and Mom gave me permission to have friends sleep over, our 12-year-old selves would stay up late talking and just being little girls. Without fail we would sleep in late, and if we weren’t awake by 10 a.m., Mama was knocking on the bedroom door saying, “Rebekah? Girls? It’s time to wake up. What would y’all like for breakfast?” Then she would proceed to list our options presenting them in a waitress-like fashion. “We’ve got eggs, bacon, pancakes, grits, biscuits, sausage, orange juice, milk…. I could fix some waffles or French toast; whatever y’all would like.” To this day, my best friends of 25 years still count it among their favorite memories of us together, reenacting the scene in utter exaggeration. Back then I didn’t know it, but not everyone’s Mama was June Clever incarnate.
As a teenager on a Saturday morning and even now when I visit home, I would wake up to the smell of buttermilk pancakes wafting up the stairwell and the sounds of my Mom downstairs in the kitchen, closing cabinet doors and rattling pots and pans. I couldn’t wait to wash my face and get to the breakfast table. She is a big reason I love to cook and entertain today.
In the colder months, if I came downstairs barefooted, inevitably at first sight of me, she would say “Where are your bedroom shoes?”
Throughout my childhood, Mama took me to softball practice and attended all my games. A birthday never went by without a big to-do, either at the skating rink or celebrated at home with cake and ice cream. There was never a doubt in my mind that I was special. Come the first day of school, I was always outfitted with every school supply and stitch of clothing I needed. When I walked across the stage for my high school and college graduations, Mama was right there in the audience taking pictures, waving and cheering me on.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand, not everyone has a mother like mine. I am grateful.
With more than 25 years of experience, my mother made her living in education, climbing the ranks from elementary school teacher to various leadership and administrative positions. Now happily retired, she taught me about professionalism and going after my dreams without ever realizing it.
It is because of her that I love the beach, animals and have a fashionable sense of style. Mom introduced me to artists like Toni Braxton and Celine Dion, my first influences outside the country music genre. I inherited that same feisty, go get 'em attitude from her and my love of accessories. She is the reason I’m known among my friends as being akin to Martha Stewart.
I have a feeling that throughout my life, no matter if I’m in my 30s or a senior citizen, when I walk in the kitchen barefooted, Mom will always ask about my bedroom shoes. Lord willing, she’ll always be right there by my side, no matter my stage of life.
To my Mama: I love you. The few examples I’ve shared today couldn’t begin to skim the surface of the blessed childhood you and Dad gave to my brother and me. As this Mother’s Day nears, know that growing up — every trip we took, every lunch you packed and every conversation we shared was taken to heart. Then and now, thank you.
Need a Mother’s Day gift idea? Visit SomeKindaGood.com where Rebekah shares her Mother’s Day-inspired gift basket filled with Homemade Summer Fruit Jam and Cranberry-Orange Quick Bread.
Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a private chef and the author of the best-selling memoir “Some Kinda Good.” Featured in Forbes, on Food Network and ABC, she writes about Southern, coastal cuisine, locally sourced and in season. Connect with her on social media by liking Some Kinda Good on Facebook, or follow @SKGFoodBlog on Instagram and Twitter. To learn more, visit RebekahLingenfelser.com.