Francina Lee McLendon Tucker

On September 15, 1970, a very special woman, Francina Lee McLendon, became a mother. From the moment she laid eyes on her new bundle of joy, love was redefined. That day, she held me for the first time and started her journey of motherhood.

Through the trials, lessons, and mistakes, she learned that no bond was like that of a mother and her child. As an only child, I soaked up her affection and devotion day by day. She focused on teaching me to feel and express love, to have compassion and understanding for those around me, and to stand with strength for what I believe in with an unwavering independence. In fact, she was a fine example in each of those lessons.

As the days and years go by, I’m often reminded of her wisdom and simplistic way of looking at things. I remember calling her one day, early on in my journey of motherhood. I was overwhelmed with the simple task of cleaning my messy house. She told me to blot out the thought of “the house” and focus on just one room at a time. In fact, she said to focus on one corner and move around until the room was done. That was a lesson I’ve carried into many areas of my life. I do my best not to worry about the lot and stay focused on one task at a time. Of course, I’m still working on fine tuning that skill.

Francina’s journey as a mother became illuminated in a whole new light when her “baby had a baby,” as she would say. Grand-motherhood seemed to come natural to her. She did all the things that Noni’s should do; give the grandbabies candy and cookies when mom wasn’t looking; cuddle and read stories together; have spend-the-nights; and of course, the very important “fussing” over birthdays and Christmas.

Family time was important to her. I remember a conversation we had in the hospital a few days before we lost her to cancer. I thanked her for all those times she had the kids over so that Brian and I were able to spend time together alone. She simply explained how important it was to her that my marriage was nurtured. And of course, time with her grandkids was more special to her than words can say.

I’m honoring my mother this Mother’s Day with what she would want me to do most... I’m spending time with my precious family. After this post, I’ll change clothes and we’ll go on a family bike ride. Then we’ll eat together and laugh together. As I wake in the morning, I’ll sip my coffee and eat my much anticipated breakfast in bed. I’ll relax and contemplate the meaning of motherhood and remember what Mother’s Day is all about for me...

It’s about honoring my mother by loving my kids openly, passionately, and simplistically, the way she did so well... the way every mother should.