You Look Like…

By Gwendolyn Henderson

Each day, I recognize in subtle ways how much I am like her.  The recognition comes upon me in the least expected moments.  My husband would look at her and say, “I am looking at the future face of my wife, I had better accept it.”

Gwendolyn Henderson

I would scoff at the idea of course…thinking but not saying, “I resemble her but not so much that he is looking into my future face.”  I am still not sure that is the case, but I “look like her.” She left her stamp on me in so many ways. Just maybe my husband was right.

The “looking like someone” comes with their good and their less than attractive. I have the affliction of emotional constipation – her stamp.  She lived to the ripe old age of 89.

I shared 47 of those years with her.  I can count on my two hands the number of times I saw her cry or become overly emotional…just a statement of fact. Her love language was not words or touch but in acts of service.

So, I knew I was loved by the ways she cared for me and others. She didn’t tell jokes or play around or laugh often but she was filled with joy.

On the other hand, the spirit of “I can do what I must do, when I must do it, for as long as I have to do it” was ingrained in my DNA by her.

I am not a quitter almost to a fault.  She taught me about continued growth by always being willing to try something new…her first plane trip was after I was married, and we took it together.

She lived in the place of a “dream deferred is not a dream denied” and obtained her GED after I graduated from college.

Small things turned into something amazing in her hand. My friends and family say the same of me.  Her greatest gifts to me, I believe, are her spiritual DNA, her journaling/writing habits, her generous spirit and the words of wisdom that she inked on my brain.

To be completely honest, it has taken years for me to come close to walking in the fullness of what she deposited in me. I am sure the process is not completed.

All of what she deposited in me is not positive.  So I nurture, protect and promote those attributes that make me better _ which is what she would have wanted.

I have sought to change the things that are not so healthy such as the way I show love and my emotional constipation. I can say “I love you” and hug you…still working on the crying piece.

Somewhere along the way, the recognition of her stamp on me began to compel me to review my life – what will my legacy be – what am I doing right now to positively affect the lives of my loved ones and the world around me?

I am a better and different person because of that review.  I am a living testimony of mother’s legacy… I look like her in so many ways. She would have celebrated her 109th birthday this year.  She lives on through me, my siblings, our children and so many more.

Who do others say you look like? How is that resemblance shaping you into the person that you are becoming? What value do you place on legacy – yours and others?

Hebrews 12:1 reminds us that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses and implies that we become a part of the cloud of witnesses at some point – we have a responsibility.

Gwen Henderson is the author of “Reboot, Rejuvenate and Resurrect. She is a weekly blogger, www.rebootrejuvenateresurrect.com, where she seeks to help herself and others live a healthier, holier and wholesome life.

Thriving in a Blended Family as Bonus Mom

Happy Mother’s Day to every woman whose role has made the difference in someone’s life whether you gave birth to that person or not. 

Raising children is one of the most selfless acts that we as women do. Being a stepmom or “bonus mom” requires tapping into a level of maturity that allows you to move yourself out of the way of what God wants to do through you for all of your children.

Delnita Smith

According to huffpost.com, about 50 percent of American families are blended. Unfortunately, there is also a high divorce rate among that group.

There is an art to making it not only work, but also to thrive as a blended family. There are challenges to overcome and learn from. Unity within the marriage is key. Communication is of the utmost importance. My husband and I believed that it was important for our children to be able to communicate their feelings as well. 

Just as there are challenges in raising the children that you birthed, there’s the potential for a whole new set of challenges when raising children that you didn’t birth. Some envision being a bonus mom as a lovely experience where the child instantly accepts you and refers to you as mom just because your husband refers to you as his wife.

You have to keep things in perspective. You are the step or “bonus” mom. The key to thriving is remembering the child does have a mom. Don’t try to replace her. Just love from your position. Bonus Mom. 

My husband and I made a consistent practice of consulting with each other about everything. It was very clear to us that all of our children as well as other parents knew that we operated as a united front and made all decisions together. Even when we disagreed, we knew we could rely on the standard that we set for our family to be a guide in our decision making. 

Because the Bible instructs children to honor their parents, I never spoke ill of my son’s father (from my previous relationship) to him during the period time that his father was not as involved in my son’s life as my son would have liked for him to be. 

As for my stepson that I raised, I purposed in my heart to never make him feel like he shouldn’t love his mother. Seeing him hurt from the initial separation gave me an understanding of what God was requiring of me. 

And that was to love him; to make sure he knew and loved his mother, and to extend a level of compassion and support for her in making the decisions best for him. That decision meant giving full custody to his dad, my husband.

It was important for him to not see me as the enemy who tried to replace his mom. But, his “other” mom who he knew he could trust and depend on to be a support in his life.

 

Mother’s Day Celebration Even More Special This Year 

By Sandra Long Weaver

What are your plans for Mother’s Day? 

After 14 long months, I am traveling to North New Jersey to spend the weekend with my favorite boy and my best girls and my son and and

Sandra Long Weaver
Tribune Editorial Director

daughter-in-law.

I haven’t had any hugs and kisses from my grandchildren except the ones you can get during a video chat.I can’t wait to see how much they have grown. I haven’t been able to celebrate the birthdays or holidays in person with them.

Covid changed our lives.

And it changed the lives of grandparents around the world, too.

I’ve watched the videos of other families where everyone is fully vaccinated and now they are having reunions.

Seeing family on video chats is just not the same. Now I’m fully vaccinated. My second Pfizer dose was early March. My son and daughter-in-law are vaccinated too. The grandchildren are too young but following Centers for Disease Control guidelines, we should be safe.

I started out reading favorite books to the 7, 4 and 3-year-olds when the pandemic shut everything down. They liked the books but it wasn’t as much fun as when I could have one sitting in my lap and the other two tucked under my arms. 

I thought it would be over in a few months.

Finally, my middle granddaughter said, “We want to do arts and crafts, Gram.” They wanted to do something more fun, she said.

So, I agreed and our arts and crafts afternoon video chats started.

I would walk around the craft shops and find little projects that we could do together. I just had to remember to make sure I had the same supplies on my end. Michael’s was my favorite to find craft kits.

Every couple of weeks, I’d head to the post office to mail a box filled with arts and crafts supplies. The postmaster even wanted to know what crafts we would be doing.

We celebrated my June birthday by making crafts, made 4th of July paintings, celebrated the August birthday of the 4-year-old turning 5 years old with special crafts and made Halloween bookmarks.

We made Thanksgiving and Christmas crafts and celebrated the birthday of the 7-year-old turning 8 years old with special birthday crafts. We decorated hearts for Valentine’s Day using stickers and celebrated in March the 3-year-old turning 4 iby painting dinosaurs. We’ve had so much fun and laughs with these projects. I even took pictures as we worked on each project across the Internet.

But now it’s time to work on crafts in person. I can’t wait!

I’ve shipped two boxes of arts and crafts to my son’s house so they will be waiting for me when I get there. And my grandson said he wants to do arts and crafts everyday. 

We’re doing scrapbooks and making picture frames from popsicle sticks. 

So, I will put on a double mask and head to the airport. My seat is by the window. In two hours, I’ll run off the plane and get my hugs and kisses from my best girls and favorite boy. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all, especially all the Grandmothers.