“B”-ing My Mom

When my grandmother was pregnant with my mom, she and my grandfather were so convinced that they were going to have a boy that they didn’t choose a girls name.  And when my mother popped out as a little baby girl in 1930 (surprise!), they named her for a boy anyway:  Willie “B”.  The ‘Willie’ was after my grandfather, and “B” for no particular reason that I could ever discern.  Mostly, she goes by “B” unless it’s someone she has known since childhood, then it’s Willie “B”.


I’m told there is a family resemblance.

I don’t know if a girl named for a boy was the female equivalent experience of a boy named Sue, but my mom has shown some pretty fierce determination through the years.  My grandfather contracted tuberculosis, which he did not want to treat, and my mother firmly told him that she would not risk exposing me and my sister to him unless he went to a doctor.  I have one memory of visiting him at the sanatorium, and it was only much later as an adult that I realized how difficult, yet clear it must have been for my mom to stand up to him.

She ensured that we practiced our piano lessons, made it on time to cheerleading practice, and insisted that we attend church each and every Sunday, despite my best teenage pouts and delaying tactics.  I never did win that one. When a mammogram discovered a pinpoint speck of cancer when she was in her 60’s, she drove herself to radiation and listened patiently to other patients’ troubles while declining the need to talk to a counselor herself.  “The Lord listens to me just fine,” she explained.  “No need to complain.”

At 82, she takes care of my increasingly frail father, who will be 91 in May.  He doesn’t always know where he is; would rather eat brownies for lunch instead of chicken and vegetables, and gets anxious when she is out of his sight for too long.  I can’t say she is always patient with him, but she is always loving.  And this is what I learned about Love from her.

1.  “B” Accepting and Not Judgmental.  Mom always seemed to grasp that the situation where her friend’s teenaged daughter turned up pregnant would not be helped by criticism or judgment.    She accepted people as they are and doesn’t indulge in tempting displays of gossip and sarcasm.  “Everyone has their point of view, Melinda”, she would remind me.

2.  “B” demonstrative to those you love.  Everyone in Mom’s world knows that she loves them.  She has always taken the attitude that the more love you give away, the more you will have.  “B” is free with “I love you”’s and hugs and kisses.  On each holiday there is a little trinket that she picked up at the Dollar Store that “just reminded me of you.”  For my Mom, Love is clearly an action.

3.  “B” there if someone needs you. “B” was the one to initiate family gatherings; to visit a sick cousin in the hospital; and volunteer at the church to help serve dinner on the grounds.  If a neighbor called to invite her over for coffee, then the vacuuming could wait til later.  “People are more important than a little dirt”, “B” explained.

I’m quite sure that I was as much of a handful growing up as any teenager can be.  I never doubted that my mother loved me, even when I was dreadfully embarrassed at some of her quirky sayings or rebelling against going to church for the second time that week.  But I too buy silly trinkets for those I love; take friends with cancer to their doctors’ appointments; and look for the best in people.  I am happy to “B” my mother, my original teacher of Love Applied.

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  1. I love this! My 84 year old Mom is named Jimmie Dee!! Maybe they were part of a long forgotten naming trend! Welcome to your first GenFab Blog Hop.

    • melinda! says:

      Thanks, Connie! You were my inspiration for the BlogHop! So big hug to you and Jimmie Dee:-)

  2. Susan Adcock says:

    Melinda, what beautiful pearls of wisdom you captured about your mom and her influence in your life. B. is indeed a treasure of a mother and a friend. Reading this reminded me immediately how I felt around your mom, always welcoming us when we would rush into her house, hi B (except I called her Mrs Eddards, a southern thing, that she didn’t require) bye, B. Your mother and father are good, loving people, and I am so sorry you dad is going through major life changes. Please tell Mrs. Eddards happy Mother’s Day from me. Love Susan

  3. Your mother is awesome. Willie B is the “B”-est! Please give her my love and a huge hug.

  4. Tricia says:

    Loved “B”-ing with your family so much through the years. Wishing in these days I could “B” with your mom more often for coffee and conversation. Love to you all.

  5. A lovely tribute. You are lucky to have her.

  6. You are so lucky to have that living mother to hug and love. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day.

    another b+

  7. This is beautiful. What a wonderful woman and example! Thanks for sharing!

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