Thursday, May 11, 2017

Hank Sanders: Senate Sketches #1561: Mother’s Day is coming!

  Mother’s Day is coming. It’s always on Sunday. This year, it’s on May 14, 2017. It’s always a very special day. Let us all lift our mothers on this day. Let us lift all mothers every day.

  Mothers are one of God’s great gifts to humankind. Mothers conceive us, carry us, birth us, care for us, suffer with us, cry for us, pray for us, sacrifice for us, lift us, protect us and more. There is simply no end to what mothers do. That’s why they say, “A mother's work is never done."

  Mothers just give more. Yet mothers are the most taken-for-granted creatures on God’s earth. We take mothers for granted every time we fail to recognize their gifts. We take mothers for granted every time we fail to say thank you. We take mothers for granted ever time we fail to help when we should. We take mothers for granted every time we break their hearts. We take mothers for granted every time we disobey. We just take mothers for granted in ways too numerous to name.

  Every day ought to be Mother’s Day. Every day ought to be Mother’s Day because mothers give, lift and sacrifice every day. Because we fail to truly appreciate mothers every day, we have Mother’s Day once a year. It makes us feel good but does not do justice for mothers.

  Mother’s Day is not just celebrated in the United States of America. It is celebrated in more than forty countries around the world. It ought to be celebrated in all 196 countries. The dates vary, but the purpose is the same – to honor mothers. For those in the United States, it’s always on the second Sunday in May.

  Mother’s Day officially began in the early 1900s in the United States. It began eons ago in various societies around the world. Whatever the society, mothers labor, sacrifice, care and lift. Motherhood is universal. It is God's great gift to the world. But God’s gift is greatly taken for granted and not appreciated fully.

  I value mothers. I lift mothers. I honor mothers. However, I did not always value, lift and honor mothers. I had to grow into it. In fact, I spent the first 16 years of my life in a fierce struggle with my mother. She often said that I was too mean to live, and also said that she brought me into this world and she would take me out of this world if I persisted in my meanness. I was equally fierce in challenging and provoking my mother. I was fierce in combat and struggle. Thankfully, I learned to value, lift and honor my mother. I also learned to value, lift and honor all mothers. I lift all mothers in my mind, in my heart, in my spirit and in my actions. I lift all mothers in this Senate Sketches.

  I don’t know how I will lift the mother of my three children by birth, four by foster relationship, and many by heart. Faya Rose Toure has truly been a mother of many. In addition to our several children by birth and foster relationship, more than 35 other children have lived with us. When a child did not have a place to live, someone would say, “Take them to Rose Sanders.” They never said, “Take them to Hank Sanders,” or “Take them to Hank and Rose Sanders.” It was always, “Take them to Rose Sanders.” She never refused a child. She is truly a Mother to many.

  In addition to the children who lived with us, Faya Rose worked with thousands of children. She started more than 50 years ago. Before we married, she worked with children in Harlem, New York. Then she worked with children in Selma through BBAC (Black Belt Arts and Culture Center) starting in 1972, McRae Learning Center starting in 1976, and Twenty-First Century Youth Leadership Movement starting in 1986. She does not just work with children; she works for and fights for children. She is a fierce warrior for children. When children are abused, she fights for them. When they are down, she lifts them. When they are hurt, she consoles them; when they can’t speak for themselves, she speaks up for them. She is a true mother for children. And there are so many other mothers who do similarly.

  I asked my children to give me suggestions on what I could give the mother of my children and other children on Mother’s Day. Faya had already made it known that she did not want the usual ceremonial dinner or any other ceremony. She says that these events are less for the mother than for those who have taken mothers for granted all year. So I don’t know what I will give to the mother of my children and many other children on Mother’s Day. My mother is gone on, and Faya’s mother is gone on. We can lift their lives in remembrance, but we can’t lift them. They have already been lifted to higher heights.

  My daughters are mothers. I know what I will give them. And there are so many other mothers in my life. I cannot give each mother an individual gift. I will call some of you on Mother’s Day. I may visit a few. But so many will be left out. Therefore, I lift you and every mother in this Senate Sketches. Mothers, I recognize your value and your sacrifice. Mothers, I recognize your caring and your sharing. Mothers, I recognize your love and your lifting. Mothers, I honor you as God’s great gift to humankind.

Epilogue – Sometimes it seems that the more people do for us, the less we appreciate them. That’s certainly true of mothers. They are always doing for us, and we feel entitled to what they do. Therefore, we do not properly appreciate what they do. Thank God for Mother’s Day.

  About the author: Hank Sanders represents Senate District 23 in the Alabama Legislature.

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