"Happy Mother's Day, Mom!"
"You shall honor your father and your mother."
By Paul Hayden
May 7, 2018
Mom - Bonnalee -
around 20 (?)
and around 40-50 (?)
It's been over 24 years since I was able to share those words with my mom.
Mom was a blessed soul. She survived two good husbands - and lost both to death after about twenty years each. Maybe she was too rough on them, but I don't think so - it was just how life turned out. She loved them - deeply. And she loved her four kids. She would do anything for us. Especially cook. With lots of butter! But she wasn't easy on us, either.
She and my dad (Kenneth) loved to sing together. They loved being together.
Kenneth and Bonnalee Hayden (1956)
Me - Paul - 4 (middle), Pryscilla - 1 (left), and Kip - 2 (right)
Dad died when I was only ten. I can remember, however vaguely, how we enjoyed going on drives on Sunday afternoons, and they would sing. The car probably didn't have a radio! He was a minister, so mom was a pastor's wife. And could she cook fried chicken! Obviously, they both loved potlucks! I can remember in my heart them singing the old song written in 1927 - "Side by side." Life was so much simpler back then!
"Oh, we ain't got a barrel of money
Maybe we're ragged and funny
But we'll travel along, singing our song,
Side by side."
She loved gardening, both flowers and vegetables. She didn't mind getting dirty. But she loved our house to be clean! Believe me! She taught us the value of cleaning and to clean up after ourselves. And it wasn't bad to get dirty - life was like that. Sometimes you just have to get dirty to get the job done! She taught us that you had to get rid of the weeds so that the good and beautiful plants could grow and be pretty!
Mom didn't have much schooling - she quit before graduating from high school. The war (WWII) had begun, and she actually married my dad when she was only 17. She went to work, and helped support the war effort, and dad joined the Navy. But Mom never quit learning.
She learned how to make the artificial flowers, as she was very artistic. Then in the 1960s, she learned how to work with beads - on the cutting edge of the bead (hippie and costume jewelry) generation! She created beaded jewelry, and taught others as well, and sold the beads to others including her students! Quite the entrepreneur out in our little 2-car garage that became her workshop. Then she learned how to paint china. Even though she only had one good eye (and one 'lazy eye'), she painted beautiful works of art onto pieces of china, which she then fired in her kiln. And being the social person she was, she again learned enough to teach others. Really, it was all mostly a ploy to get together with other ladies and chit-chat! But they sure had fun, and became life-long friends.
Two of my favorite pieces of mom's artwork on china.
Her talents expanded also into the field of writing, with published poetry and inspirational articles and even a family cookbook of many of our favorite meals. She became a part of the local, state, and even National League of American Penwomen.
Mom would let me do just about anything I wanted to do. She trusted me because she had taught me right and wrong, and not to do anything that would displease her! I just needed to let her know where I was, and when I would be home. She was not harsh, but we did not want to be displeasing to her. It was respect. It was love.
I knew mom quite well, but I didn't really know her fully, not nearly as much as I wish I had. I knew her heart of love. She cared about us. She cared about others, especially her friends. And she cared about strangers as well.
The nearest and dearest part of my mom was her love, inspired by her faith in God. I can still hear her singing many of the great Christian hymns. "How Great Thou Art" was a favorite of hers, and we sang it at her funeral celebration.
One of the Ten Commandments, upon which much of western civilization is built, is that we should each "Honor your father and your mother." It doesn't say to honor them to the degree that they were perfect, or even good, but simply to honor them. If we were to take just this one simple commandment from God, to wholeheartedly study and practice it in our lives, I can promise it would change the whole nature of western culture in one generation!
As her first and oldest child (and obviously as her favorite, but shhh - don't tell my siblings!), I deeply respected her. She passed in early 1995, and I was able to be there at her side for her final heartbeats, just as she had been there for my first heartbeats and breaths. I still miss her dearly! It often brings tears to my eyes just to think of her.
I cannot help but think that our world would be a better place if there were more moms like mine. She wasn't perfect, I know, but she was truly perfect.
If you still have your mother in your life - go and spend some time with her - as much as you can. Love her like there will be no tomorrow. There might not be. Ask her lots of questions - imagine you could never talk to her again, and think of questions you might want to know the answers to. "You don't know what you've got till it's gone." There are no words any more true than those.
What I would give to spend another hour or two with my mom! We would probably have something to eat!
With plenty of butter! And I might just have her scratch my back just one more time...
Paul Hayden is a Christian believer, and an American patriot, necessarily in that order. He is a student of the Bible, and is avidly interested in our role in the context of history, as understood through the heart and eyes of faith. Paul has lived and traveled somewhat widely, and now lives in the heartland of the U.S. (central Illinois), with his wife Donna - they have five grown children. Since December of 2016, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief of www.ConservativeTruth.org.
"I was raised by a Christian minister, Kenneth Hayden, until his death when I was 10. Then my mom married a farmer. So I was raised in a very down-to-earth home. My faith has grown through the years, but both in conjunction with the institutional church and through small groups and individuals, including books as well as group settings, where deep, sincere faith is shared that aligns with Biblical truth."