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FROM READERS: If you had to describe your mother in one word, what would it be?

Sunday, May 13, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:15 p.m. CDT, Sunday, May 13, 2012
Missourian readers answered the question, "If you had to describe your mother in one word, what would it be?"

During the week leading up to Mother's Day, the Missourian teamed up with KOMU and KBIA to ask this question: If you had to describe your mother in one word, what would it be?

Would you like to tell us what word describes your mother? Let us know what it is using this form, and we'll add it to the story.

Here are some of the responses we've gotten so far.

"Funny. She would light up the room with her jokes and laughter." – Sandy McCann

"Perfect. She has always been there for me and puts me first in every situation in life. Could not ask for a better mother!" – David Crabtree

"Tenacious. My mom Ann, has been a fighter for social justice all her life. She's worked against racism helping integrate the Boston schools in the 1960s with the NAACP. And by making us a multiracial family when she adopted a little black girl in 1966 when interracial marriage was illegal in N.H. She worked against sexism in the Girl Scouts in Texas in the 50s when they had mostly male leadership. She worked against chauvinism by raising sensitive, nurturing, communicative males and a strong, empowered, capable female. Also in her marriage by challenging my father and by supporting her family single-handedly when he left. She fought for healthcare for women by taking her administrative assistant to N.Y. for a legal abortion when they were illegal in N.H. She advocated that elders receive care in their own homes during the Reagan years. She retired and taught Ute Indian kids to read on a reservation outside of Durango, Colo. She drove to Cabo St. Lucas, Mexico to winter over for a number of years in her trusty VW camp mobile. At 87 she's fighting against her own aging, fighting the boredom of having chosen safety in a retirement community and fighting against the waning of her strength and memory. She is still stubborn and tenacious!" – Rick Agran

"Inspirational. My mother has always been a positive influence in my life no matter the situation. Through all the ups and downs she is the permanent fixture that keeps me going. I am blessed to have such a wonderful inspirational lady to call Mom." – Elizabeth Hyden

"Forgiven. I was left alone with my grandparents and separated from my only brother at the age of 4 and he 2. After 35 plus years and my brother being lied to that I never existed, we are together. My mother still has never contacted and refuses to explain why the separation. I've relayed the message that she is forgiven and that I love her, still no response." – Scott Sowle

"Inspirational. My mother went through a lot of adversities in her life (not necessary to elaborate on here) but she always remained positive, never complained, and was a very loving example for us kids. My mom developed Rheumatoid Arthritis when she was in her very early 30s and despite the worsening of her condition, she single-handedly took care of my father as he was dying of cancer in 1994. My mom never learned to drive but that did not keep her from becoming involved in Scouts, PTA, HomeRoom mother, and Church. My mom was finally going to come live with my family and myself here in Columbia and we were getting her ready for the move when only 8 days from the move she unexpectedly passed away at age 66 in 1998 from complications resulting from her disease. There was a 12 hour wake (she lived in Chicago and that is the norm) and for that ENTIRE time people flowed through and shared a multitude of kind words and testimonies — I had been so unaware of how many people she had touched. When I recall the stories that these people shared, I am inspired to strive to be the person that she was, and hope that I can leave a legacy like her. I still miss her so very much." — Diane McConnell

"Resilient. Diabetes, death of spouse (after 40 years of marriage), a stroke, etc. In many ways, she's stronger today than she was 20 years ago." – Brenda Pollreisz

"Resolute. My mother has always faced what needs doing and done it. She was born into a sharecropping family in Arkansas in 1925. She began picking cotton at age five. When she was in her late teens, her parents moved to Indiana seeking work, and she took care of five younger siblings all on her own until their parents could send for them. During World War II, she worked as a welder, a la Rosie the Riveter. Then she went on to raise six children of her own, as well as caring for many others over the years, often in trying circumstances — putting in long days running a dairy farm for a while; putting in equally long days managing a small-town cafe; babysitting in-home while my dad worked all day and went to night school. Often she didn't know how the next month's bills would be paid, but she always figured it out in time. Now, she's 87 and in a nursing home, yet is concerned that she's not putting anyone out any more than she needs to. Her life has been unimaginably difficult at times, but if she ever felt sorry for herself, she never showed it. She just kept working." – Ida Fogle

"Perfect! She's all around the most kind, beautiful, amazing, smart, hard-working person I think I'll ever know. I'm grateful for her every single day!" – Abigail Eisenberg

The next response was submitted to us in Indonesian. We translated it into English using an online translator, then edited the translation's grammar to make it more understandable.
"Attention. My mother pays very careful attention to the people around. I learn from that an understanding of traits and characteristics of human beings, good and evil, and from it I can hang out with them without distinction of view. My mom's nature of attention makes me happy. I love my mother." – Xiao Jun

"Gracious. My mother is 93 and she taught me a very memorable lesson this past year. As her memory declined and it was time for her to go into an assisted living facility she went very graciously saying 'this is a good place, I can make friends and while I never thought I would end up like this I am very lucky.' (She meant she was fortunate to have good physical health, a lovely place to move into and resources to do it.) What a gift when having to make a difficult decision for one's mother. She made it so much easier for me with a gracious attitude." – Marcia Walker

"Strong. My mom has been through a lot in her life. Being strong has gotten her through tough times. Being 1 of 11 children made her who she is today." – Debbie Slaughter

"Devoted. My mother sacrificed so much for me and my brother. No matter what we did, she supported us and encouraged us. Mom may not have liked all the choices we made, but she always told us how much she loved us. Mom battled cancer for 20 years before it took her, but she always tried to put my brother and I first. She never wanted us to know how much pain she was in. She was always there for us, no matter what." – Diana Reynard

"Friendly. My mom can strike up a conversation with anyone and everyone – people in line at the grocery store, the mailman, even my friends (when I was a kid, this was definitely NOT cool.) All my friends now and from grade school still love my mom, and that's pretty cool." – Sarah Tucker

"Self-sacrificing. From my earliest memory I can recall her consistently putting my needs and the need of my family before her own. When my father lost his job my mother took up a part time job working over seventy hours a week. She would work overtime to buy us the things we needed for school while my father searched for work. She has gone without so that I would not, and in her pursuit of loving my family, well, she has in many cases put her own health and sanity at risk. In eighth grade she dropped out of school in order to take care of her own terminally ill mother. Her mother died shortly thereafter, and her father passed while I was still an infant. Yet in spite of the personal battles and emotional trials she has remained strong yet tender. Addiction has plagued the men of my family — my brother, my father, and me . My mother has remained faithful and steadfast through it all. Today I am four years sober and a certified substance abuse counselor at a residential treatment center in Missouri; however, during my darkest days of addiction she never gave up on me. I spent some time in jail and other institutions. My mother made it a point to send me a letter EVERY SINGLE DAY. I received mail everyday during those hard times and in many ways it was her love during that time was my only hope. To me the call to motherhood is a call to love, and love never gives up, gives in, or lets go. Love is passionate all consuming and at the heart self sacrificing." — Spencer Lowe

Would you like to tell us what word describes your mother? Let us know what it is using this form, and we'll add it to the story. This invitation is part of the Missourian's partnership with the Public Insight Network. Read more about that here.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how.


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