by Terri Winder
Some mothers get their label by virtue of the fact they have given birth, regardless of how they treat their offspring afterward. Some mothers grow into the title after carefully considering the prospects and then decidedly taking on the responsibilities.
Then there are women who seem to be born mothers - nurturing everyone around them from the time they are big enough to do so.
I didn’t do my homework in time enough to write a “Mother of the Year” article- but still, I have been thinking about some great mothers I know.
LaVae Redd is one of them. I think she fits in this category of being a born nurturer. LaVae raised a family of remarkable kids (three sons and two daughters; they lost one infant) and she has been a devoted foster mother to others who still maintain close relationships.
LaVae loves children. She used to teach swimming lessons and Sunday School lessons, but her greater lessons have come through her desire to serve others. I know; our family has been the recipient of her thoughtful kindnesses on many occasions. Though handicapped with poor health for many years, LaVae has cooked and baked and written encouragement to others right through her own trials.
Born to a generation of women who judged each other by the quality of their bean recipes, LaVae’s beans are the best.
I once mentioned in passing that I like to buy natural peanut butter for my family, but that it is sometimes difficult to find. Secretly, she immediately took up the challenge and within weeks we got a call letting us know that not only did she find “real” peanut butter, she had baked us some homemade bread to go with it.
I have a copy of a song that she wrote (both words and music) entitled, “I Believe in Miracles”. I think LaVae is a bit of a miracle worker, herself.
Another amazing woman I know was never privileged to give birth, but she has been a lifelong mother, nevertheless. Ora Bayles has lovingly taken care of anyone fortunate enough to come within her reach.
Beyond raising four adopted children, Ora fostered more children than one can count, running a girl’s group home for years. Then she created the Grayson Country Inn, a bed and breakfast, where she cared for people from all over the world.
Resourceful, practical and fun, Ora never limited herself when it came to giving of her time, resources, or talents, which included sewing and quilting. She walked into my home one day and launched herself into my kitchen sink full of dirty dishes, against my strong protests.
She left me feeling like I had done her a favor. She has literally worn herself out in the service of others; but still, when one visits with her, she is so thoughtful of her guest. And she still loves the babies- which is good because she has some adorable grandbabies.
These two women have been wonderful examples to me. They have nurtured, inspired, and encouraged me, as a woman and a mother. I thank them, but my children - and their children, and even their children’s children, should also be aware of Ora and LaVae.
It is women like this whose influence is felt for generations.