On Mother’s Day at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Anniston, there will be a special prayer of blessing for all mothers, and the Knights of Columbus will pass out carnations to mothers after each mass.
At Word Alive in Oxford, each mother will receive a small gift to “recognize their amazing-ness,” said co-pastor Beverly Maddox.
This afternoon, Living By Faith Ministry in Oxford is celebrating with its first mother-daughter tea, presented in conjunction with Kingdom Place Ministries of Anniston. Jackie McClain, co-pastor of Living By Faith with her husband, Bob McClain, has lined up five mother-daughter teams to give presentations.
• Tiffani Davis and her daughter, Sidni, age 8.
• Pamela Dunn and her daughter, Blessing, age 15.
• Sharon Cash and her daughter, Shelby, age 25.
• Melinda Fowles and her mother, Elizabeth Madden, age 80.
• Jackie McClain and her daughter-in-law, Reghan McClain.
The mother-daughter tea is but one of many things the church does for mothers, McClain said. In addition to its mentoring program, the church helps new mothers prepare for their babies and offers support to single mothers.
“It does take a community to raise children. Our church is a lot like that. You definitely learn to be relational,” McClain said. “A lot of times we sit in churches and all we see is the back of each other’s heads.”
Two of the mothers shared some of the lessons they have learned:
Tiffani Davis and her 8-year-old daughter, Sidni, will be giving their presentation in the form of a dialog poem. This is Sidni’s first year attending school, after years of homeschooling.
“A child her age is trying to explore her independence and autonomy,” said Tiffani. “We talk about her being out on her own, but still remembering the things she has been taught — that she is representing herself as a child of God, and a child of her family.”
Tiffani works from home as an online sociology professor. She and her husband also have two sons, ages 17 and 9. She said it is “definitely” different parenting a daughter.
“My sons kind of mimic and follow their father. Then I have this little girl who is constantly looking at me, trying to model on me. So I’m very critical of myself. Not only do I make mistakes, now I have a daughter who is observing it. I want her to be more than me, better than me. Can she not repeat my mistakes?” Tiffani explained.
“My mom wasn’t perfect, but I think I turned out OK. What I’ve learned as an adult is that my mom at least tried her best. If I can get Sidni to understand that: I’m just trying to love you. I’m just trying my best.”
You’re a parent, not a friend
Sharon Cash will give a presentation with her daughter, Shelby, age 25. “As far as I’m concerned, mothering starts in the womb and goes until the tomb,” said Cash. “As I tell my daughter all the time, you may be 40 or 50 years old, but you will always be my baby.”
Sharon is retired military; she was teaching engineering thermodynamics at West Point when she was pregnant with Shelby. Today her daughter works on projects for the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta — perhaps due to that early exposure to complex mathematical formulas.
Sharon said the key for her was “having a loving, heavenly father who has loved me enough to look beyond all the faults I have, yet desires to pour into me the things that are needed to be a good mother.
“Oftentimes, we think, ‘I have to have had a mother who taught me this and that’ — and that is very true,” Sharon said. “But it all still begins with having a loving heavenly father … whether or not things worked out for you with the earthly parents you were given.”
Sharon spoke of the challenges facing mothers and teenaged daughters. “It’s great to be friends with your child, but it’s most important to be a parent first,” she said.
“Especially in the teenage years, because you want to be able to relate to them, it’s very tempting to let them get away with things. In our own minds, we’re thinking of it as, ‘I want them to like me, to be my friend, to be able to open up to me.’ The reality is, they’re not going to relate to you that way. They really need a parent.
“You have to stand your ground. There will be times they do not appreciate you. Sometimes the advice they get from you will not be the advice they think of first, but it will be the advice that will last the longest.”
Sharon and her husband made sure to tell Shelby often — “from before the time she could speak or hear” — that she was treasured. “We prayed for you. We wanted God to give us you. Whether we agree with some of the choices that you may make, or the mistakes you make — like all of us make mistakes — one thing will never change: We will always consider you to be a precious gift from God.”
• “Pearls of Great Value” mother/daughter tea, hosted by the Women’s Ministry of Living by Faith Ministry, noon-3 p.m., Kingdom Place Ministry, 5804 Weaver Road, Anniston. Lunch will be provided. Call 256-831-0871 for more information.