Mother’s Day rolls around every year to give honor to our mothers. We shower our living mothers with presents, special meals, and recognition. Those who have gone from our midst, we shower with accolades of remembrance and honor.
This year I thought about the generational line of women in my life from my grandparents to my four granddaughters. The grandmothers to the mothers of the future.
In my own life, I have a slightly faded memory of my grandmothers because both had died when I was about seven years old. My two grandmothers were very different from each other.
My maternal grandmother, Miranda Flanagan Lee, in my memory was a soft, quiet woman who bore fourteen children, several died at childbirth or shortly after. She was a sharecropper’s wife and cooked the most wonderful southern biscuits. There was a little game she played with me, where she tied her handkerchief in a special knot, called a rat. She had me pull the “tail” and the knot would dissolve before my eyes. Now that I have grandchildren, I can see little Harry saying, “Do it again!” over and over.
Then my paternal grandmother, Alice Whisenant Whitt, was quite the force to be reckoned with. She was the epitome of a tough pioneer type woman. She raised four children in poor rocky ridge land as a single mother. Her husband left her in the throes of the Great Depression. My standout memory of her was her teaching me to crack walnuts on a rock with a claw hammer. It was an adventure for me but just one of her many chores of survival. When she moved in with us, my Daddy had to build an outhouse because she didn’t like the idea of indoor plumbing. [My featured photo is Mama Whitt.]
My mother, Frances Lee Whitt, died when she was eighty-four and was the greatest Christian influence in my life. She made great biscuits just like her mother. When she prayed Heaven stood still to listen and I did too. I would give hundreds of dollars to eat one more piece of her fried chicken and thousands to kiss her soft cheeks. [Her photo is below.]
I was the last of five in my family. My only sister, Nadine Whitt Cockrum, is the mother of five children who has never stopped working. I was two when she married, so I do not have a memory of her being at our home yet she was always in my life. She tells of being disappointed by not being a cheerleader in high school but she has always been one for me.
Of the women in my family, the mother of my children—my wife, Jennie Stanley Whitt, stands out. She has sacrificed a lot for our family and especially for me. Our love for each other has been sacred. Naturally, I have spent more time with her. She can finish my sentences and read my mind.
I had thoughts this week about our young life together. She would work all week teaching second graders how to read and live, cook supper each night, care for our young children, and put up with me. Then every Saturday, we would load up two small kids, drive to my first pastorate three counties away, spend the weekend away in pastoral work, drive home Sunday night, and start it all over again on Monday morning. [Some of you young girls think you have it rough!!]
When my kids call, they say “Hi Daddy, can I talk with Mama?” When my grandkids, unload and give me a quick hug they say, “Where’s Granna?” We men know this is the way it is when we marry a good woman. Old grandpas are the second fiddle players and that is the family way—just don’t sit in our chair and make sure you laugh when we tell the same joke for the hundredth time! Just think, I married a women only eleven days different in age but now it looks like the bride married an old man.
The next tier of women is our daughters. My daughter, Amy Whitt Prickett, and my daughter-in-law, Lanie Epps Whitt, are the mothers of our grandchildren. Now that’s something, when your children become the bearers of other children who we call “grand”. It is an amazing thing to watch daughters take on the role of mothers. It makes me tired to think about what all they do. It is no wonder that God designed young women to bear and raise children. Mine do an amazing job of juggling the lives of a young family. I have so much admiration and love for these two women who I call Daughter.
Grandchildren fill old men and women with love, pride, and adoration but they drain our energy to one bar in short time. It is very difficult for creepers to keep up with scramblers. We love the sweet experience and the time with our grandchildren. [Photo below is Jennie and I with our five grandchildren. Not the latest but one of my favorites. It’s my blog so I get to pick, that’s what old men do!]
Now to our granddaughters, Emily, Audra, Lizzy, and Perri (from 14 years of age to 3, respectively). [Sorry, Tyler (our grandson), we love you too but this post is about women. We think you will change the world too!] Each one of our granddaughters has their own set of characteristics and each one touches our heart in a special way. We look with hopeful anticipation of what you will bring to the world as a grownup. Heaven has been bombarded with prayers for you since you were conceived.
So, I have briefly described the five generations of women in my known life. I pray for the opportunity to see the sixth at some point. Each generational level has its own unique challenges and blessings.
I glory in the accomplishments and perseverance of the past. What they have had to overcome gives us all inspiration and admiration. Only God knows the entirety of their struggles and our memories fade of things that should be said and shared.
I pray with tears for the anticipated challenges of my latter generations. Your world will be different than mine, but my God is the same. Please put your trust and reliance upon Him and He will see you through just as He has seen those who blazed your trail. Keep the faith of Jesus alive, love your neighbor, and bless your children with a legacy of faith in Christ and a life of grace.
I have been loved by Godly women for five generations—Happy Mother’s Day!! You are the reason I am able to sit with the elders at the gate of the city.
Yours on the Journey,
Harry L. Whitt