Mary Green Johnson received her B.S. degree in math from Murray State University, when it was still Murray State Teachers College, back in the 1930s, when fewer young women graduated from college than nowadays. She did it in three years, including summers, while working in the college cafeteria.
After earning her teaching certificate, she landed a job at Marion (Kentucky) High School, teaching math and English. During summer breaks, she attended the University of Michigan in pursuit of a master’s degree. Her career in education was cut short by her marriage to my dad, but her love of learning never ended.
Known to family and friends as Mary Green, she was called Miss Johnson by her students, then Mrs. Playl by those less familiar, more formal or just plain strangers. I was always proud to call her Mother. I think she was proud to call me her son, at least most of the time. Sometimes, I’m sure, I disappointed her, but I never doubted her love.
…and I’m still proud of her!
After I married my sweetheart, I saw a mother’s love from a different perspective. The parent that suffers through childbirth deserves special love, respect and pride from her offspring. With a deep sense of gratitude, I recognize how loving and proud my wife is of our children and grandchildren. I also see those feelings returned to her.
Let me offer a tiny example.
I grabbed Sammie before she had the opportunity to attend college, but she persisted in earning her bachelor’s degree, after giving birth to our four precious children. Already employed by King University, she graduated from Tusculum University. As she walked across the stage to receive her diploma, our 15-year-old son jumped to his feet, pumped his fists in the air and screamed, “THAT’S MY MOMMA!”
When she received her master’s degree, in Louisville, a couple of years later, we made him stay home.
The point is that he was – and still is – very proud of his mom. All of our adult children still love their momma.
…and the tradition continues.
Our daughters and daughter-in-law have become very loving mothers, and our grandkids have lots of love for their mommas.
When our son and his wife, Whitney, attended Gov. Bill Lee’s inaugural ball, Anderson asked Nahnee, “Will Momma be Cinderella at this ball?” He fully expected the answer to be, “Yes! Of course she will!” Anderson was 6 at the time. At the age of 10 he still believes that. At 12 years of age, his brother, Grayson, still hugs his momma and tells her he loves her, too.
Our youngest grandchild, Katie Grace, has watched and listened to her mom perform all over Wilmington, North Carolina, since she was born on 9/11 of 2013. In fact, Shannon had a lead role in “Xanadu” when she was pregnant with K.G. Whether it’s singing in church or performing on stage, K.G. is usually there telling folks, “That’s my momma!,” and telling Shannon, “Good job, Mom.”
Stephanie has homeschooled her four. She has also served as encourager and chauffeur since her oldest was born. While in a recent hands-free phone conversation, she was in the process or delivering James David to soccer practice, Annabelle to dance, and Allen to his job. Then, she was going to pick up Lawrence from cross country practice where his dad had dropped him off. Then, while Gilbert picked up the others she was going to work. Whew!
“Love you Mom!”
They’re growing up...but still...out of the mouths of babes.
Be sure to honor – love, respect and be proud of – your mom...no matter how old you are and whether she is alive or a precious memory. God told us to - and for good reason!
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