Definitely up there in the top: My Mom, Doris Ann Mabe Lathan

So I’ve been waiting a while to write this blog!  Of course this wonderful woman is right there among my favorite all time blessings.  After all, she carried me in her belly for all those long months and then endured that painful agony we women call labor and childbirth.  Although I’m sure my birth was a breeze compared to what was in store for my Mama AFTER she had me!  She probably looked at her first child, all 4lbs 7 ozs of me (yes you read that correctly and no I was not premature) and thought “How precious, she’s going to be a little angel).  All I have to say to that is “NOT”!!!

I believe that I tested my Mama from the beginning.  Although I don’t remember her saying that I was a difficult baby, I don’t really remember exactly when I did start becoming, well, challenging.  The word “teenager” always seems to pop up though.  I had two younger brothers.  Tony was exactly one year and one day younger than me.  And just in case you care, he weighed 7 lbs and 4 ozs.  Incidentally, I think I was born at like 7:20am and he was born at 7:20pm or something like that.  Just some random facts.  No real significance except to point out that my Mama is really, really good.  Then about five years after I was born along came my other brother Clay.  Now Clay was exactly the right age to bug me to death.  So of course I was a grumpy girl.  Tony and I were close enough in age to fight and Clay and I were far enough apart for him to be a little pest.

I tell you all of this to set the stage so to speak so that I can better explain some of my Mama’s best traits.  There is no way that I can tell you all of them.  There are just too many.  But I will do my best to highlight the ones I love the most (if I can) in this not so short blog.  But it’s for my Mama and they deserve our best!

First of all, my Mama is very funny.  She knows to laugh more than fuss and to let the little things go.  This used to make me really, really mad.  Mostly because she laughed at me (and still does) because I’m rather clumsy and I tend to fall.  A lot.  My brothers used to do things on purpose to make this happen.  One time they put water in the kitchen floor (where they knew I would come running) and then stuck a fake spider on my wall.  Sure enough, it scared me to death and I took off down the hall and right when I hit the kitchen I slid on the water and went airborne and landed on my back.  I remember my head ricocheting off the floor and seeing stars and looking up to see tears rolling down my Mama’s face.  Was she shedding tears because she thought I might be paralyzed or <gasp> dead?  No, she was laughing so hard she couldn’t even talk!!  To this day, I blame my crazy as I call it on that “brother induced” head injury!

Next, my Mama was patient.  She had to be.  Now that I have three boys of my own who fight and wrestle quite a bit I know exactly where she was coming from.  I used to wonder why she would just sit there and shake her head.  Now I know.  Tony and I fought.  Over everything.  He took too long in the shower getting ready for dates.  One time he had his “nice jeans to go on a date” in the clothes dryer while he took his shower.  I know he stayed in that shower on purpose so that I couldn’t get ready for my date.  Mama just sat there shaking her head.  So I got mad.  And I decided I needed to take action.  I took the dry jeans out of the shower, marched into our bathroom, and threw those nice dry jeans over the shower rod right into that shower with him!  Then I ran into my bedroom and pushed my dresser in front of my door.  Because I knew if he caught me I was dead!  And yes, Mama just shook her head!  I joke and say I had a “car phone” before they were invented because when I went out with my friends Tony would go into my bedroom and use my hot pink telephone (my room was the only extension in the house).  Now people I truly valued my privacy.  So to solve the problem of the head shaking I just unplugged my phone and took it with me!  People were always asking me why I carried my telephone around in my car!  But when my kids start fighting and everybody looks at me and says “aren’t you going to do something”? do you know what I do?  YEP!  I shake my head!

Also, my Mama was a single parent and a working mother.  Now this was important and this is truly serious.  I grew up watching my Mama provide for us, go without herself, struggle to do everything by herself and do it without being bitter or angry at her circumstances.  And it was hard but I don’t remember going without anything I ever needed and very rarely did I go without anything I ever wanted.  I was spoiled.  Not with material things though.  We were spoiled with love.  I know without a doubt that my Mama loves her children.  She would, and she still will, do anything in her power to take care of us.  She knows when to step in but she knows when to step back as well.  And if its possible, she loves her grandchildren even more.  And it doesn’t matter if they are born into our family or if they are brought into our family through love and marriage.  And she loves her son and daughter-in-law the same way.  She’s fierce when it comes to us.  She has always said “you do not mess with my family”.  And you don’t.  Because the Mama Bear comes out and she takes care of us.  Oh, she also feeds us like you wouldn’t believe.  Along with anybody else who happens to be around.  Just in case you were wondering about that 😉

Last, but certainly not least, my Mama is extremely wise.  She tells me it’s from years of going through tough times and learning the hard way but sometimes I think that she was born that way.  She can say stuff to me sometimes when we are talking that just stops me in my tracks and shuts me up.  And that’s hard to do people.  Very hard.  She is always telling me that “perception is reality”.  And the older I get, the more I see that in people.  She has helped me deal with so many situations with my kids and with other people.  And again she knows when I need her to give me advice and she knows when I just need her to listen.  She is my friend but she is my Mama first.  She loves the Lord and she imparts that wisdom to us as well.  She knows the value of hard work and has worked her entire life.  At one time she had three jobs.  She is not afraid to work.  She insists on good manners and if you walk into a room and don’t at least say hello to someone you better watch out.  She doesn’t just do a head shake then.  The wrath of Doris will be upon you!  “There is no excuse for bad manners”!  Right, Mama?  And there is no excuse for being unkind.  To anyone.  That is one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my Mama and I will always, always remember that.  Several years ago, I started sending my Mama flowers on MY birthday.  Not hers, but mine.  My Mama gave me life.  She brought me into this world but she took care of me and brought me to where I am today.  No amount of money or gifts or flowers could ever be enough to thank her for what she’s done for me.  But, today, Mama, on YOUR birthday, I hope that these words will tell you just a little bit of how very special, cherished and treasured you are to me and to your entire family!  I love you with all of my heart and I look forward to hearing your laughter and your crazy sayings for many, many more years to come!!

Your FIRST and FAVORITE child, (Ha! Ha! Tony and Clay)