The greatest gift of all on Mother’s Day

Published 8:46 pm Saturday, May 9, 2009

There are times that mark a person’s life: graduation from high school or college or both; marriage or commitment in some form; baptism; a first job.

Most of us have experienced those days. We have the photo albums to prove them. Sometimes, we go back and caress the photographs to massage the moments in time.

Not long ago, I spent a couple of days with my son, daughter-in-law and grandson. We were in the woods in a cabin for most of the day, unless we were out rambling around the Mississippi countryside or on the campus of the University of Mississippi. It’s my custom to sit back and watch things, likely because of more than 30 years in journalism. Watching tells as much as interviewing in many cases.

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Most of the time, my attention focused on my grandson, who I call “Dude.” He is a sturdy tot of nearly two. He has begun to grasp language and has a wonderful sense of humor.

But more precious than his being entertainment for a grandma is the way he loves. I have seen it in his face when he looks at his mother. She is a gentle and kind person — the kind of person you would pick out of all the women in the world to live with your son and bear your grandchildren. She is practical. She is straightforward. She is a beautiful woman, inside and out.

She is the Dude’s mom, and he knows it. I watch them cuddle to read or smile at one another and see pure love exchange between them.

No photograph in a picture album could catch that.

I watch my son and have the same giddy stomach churning love I felt when the nurse at Women’s Hospital in Flowood let me hold him for the first time nearly 32 1/2 years ago. He, too, is a kind and gentle man. He loves his family deeply. He works in partnership with his wife. When he speaks to his son, his voice is low and warm. Dude grins and his father smiles as they play together. And love passes between them as well.

There is nothing so wonderful as being a woman, despite the prejudices and the hard times of those women who have come before us. We have struggled for equal pay and recognition, even for the basic right to vote and sit on juries.

There is nothing greater than the gift of children — a responsibility that sometimes overwhelms because babies do not pop into this world with directions tied to a big toe. Many times, we get it wrong as much as we get it right, but our children love us in spite of ourselves.

Today is Mother’s Day. All of us are blessed.

Leesha Faulkner is the executive editor at the Times-Journal. She can be contacted at 410-1730 or