What one word best describes your mom?
In preparation for Mother's Day, the Missourian, KBIA and KOMU asked that question of their audiences. Some people shared just the one word, and some chose to tell us about a moment or situation that explains why they chose it.
Thanks to those of you who shared. Feel free to add your own tribute in the comments below the story. And so as not to overlook the other half, we also want to hear how you would describe your father.
What one word best describes your mother? Tell us about a moment or situation that shows why you chose that word.
I chose unconditional to describe my mother because she was the one person on this earth that loved me, and my sisters, unconditionally. It didn't matter how many times we messed up or made mistakes, we always knew she loved us beyond measure. Whenever anyone asked my mother what her favorite age was when raising her kids (newborn, toddler, teens) she always said she loved every age and every milestone since every year was a gift. Mom has been gone for almost 21 years, but there's not a day that goes by that I don't thank God for the 24 years that I was blessed to be her child.
— Kim Hutcherson
This photo of my mom, Marianne Hollenbeck, was probably from the early '80s. It was taken in our kitchen on the farm where my mom and dad raised my two sisters and I, just south of Lentner, Mo. She loved to cook and passed that love on to my sisters and I. She was a friend to so many and nothing made her happier than sharing her gifts and talents with others. Mom and Dad traveled quite a bit and she would always be so excited to come home and make exotic dishes for us and our friends. She would totally immerse herself in the culture of wherever they would travel to and then come home and share with all of us through her incredible entertaining! She was the best mom ... Lots of wonderful memories!
As my own children grow older, I discover more and more that I am slowly turning into my mother. I hear myself say things she said to me like, "What happens when we lie, young lady?" and "Sometimes we do things just because we're family." I find myself flashing back to my own childhood as I braid my daughter's hair or pack enough sunscreen for most of the state every time we head to the park. It turns out my mom actually was right about some of these parenting things, it just took me 30 years to realize it.
— Nicole Clemens
This photo taken in 2009, at Alicia's wedding rehearsal dinner near St. Louis, shows three generations of Baker girls. From left, front: Tracie Baker, Ashlyn Clemens, Nicole Clemens; back: Paula Baker, Alicia Fitzgerald.
I'm 53 years old and my mom is 81, so I could list a million examples of how fun my beautiful momma has been all my life! I was fortunate to grow up with a mom who was a superior athlete and was active on teams from her young years all the way into her middle age. Because of this, I was encouraged to participate in many sports. When I graduated from high school, I was eligible to play on the summer league softball team my mom played on. She played shortstop, and I played 3rd base. It was a blast to play game after game with her over the years. One particular game we still joke about was one in which I was fielding a grounder that got past me. She "trash-talked" it up to me about missing the ball, then threw a small dirt clod at me! We often laugh about that. She gave me a hard time, but she was also my biggest fan and most loyal teammate. An umpire behind the plate once called a strike on me when I was at bat and my mom didn't like his call. She "let the ump know" as she sat in the dugout. He then called strike two and strike three on me. She REALLY let him know her displeasure at that! Oh man, fun times all my life!
— Nancy Seymour Truesdell
My mom, Martha Seymour, and dad hamming it up this past December (2012) while having dinner at Murry's.
Bonnie has a quirky sense of humor. She can be a little sarcastic and a little off the wall but she can make anyone laugh in an honest and genuine way. Sometimes I actually think she is younger than me. Her youthful outlook is something that I look up to and I aspire to have the same attitude on life. Mom observes the world in a unique way and she knows how to phrase everything perfectly (she even unknowingly helped me write this). I have a few of my favorite messages saved that she has sent me. Here is one of them: "My friend Heidi and I signed up for a 5K, she picked me up this morning, we put on our running bibs, got in the car, looked at each and said, 'Mmmm, naw, I don't think so,' and we went out for pancakes." Happy Mothers Day, Bonnie!
— Sarah Hoffman
Mom being Mom.
My mother is a giver and a person filled with love. It is hard to tell about one moment or situation that explains why I describe her as a God-fearing mother; she does so much. I recall a situation when a parent shared with her that she did not have money to school shop for her children. My mother and I met them at the mall. I had no clue of what was about to happen but by the time we left the mall, each child (3) had new clothes. In my opinion, the best thing a mom can do is to introduce you to Jesus – Thank you MOM, love you so much!
— Myah McCrary
This picture was taken April 2012 after receiving the Heritage Graduation Scholar Scholarship from the Epsilon Psi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
My mom always does things for other people and never for herself, yet she never complains. She has shown compassion, love and dedication to our family. She is an amazing woman whom I am proud to call my mother. She doesn't think she's pretty ... but she's never looked through my eyes because she will see that she's beautiful!
— Michele Spry
Michele Spry, Marsue Crews (mom) and Ashley Adams (sister) at home for Christmas 2012.
My mother is in her mid 50s ... she has been drug-free for 10 years, she is and has been attending college for the past several years and is studying social work. My mother and I had a really rough past but today we are best friends and she inspires me to be the best mother (of my four boys) that I can be and to live life day by day. She has inspired me to further my education and use my past negative experiences to help others begin their positive future.
— Kristina Ray
She's been running for over 30 years and not slowing down. She ran 74 minutes for her 74th birthday. ... We all like to watch her sleep because it's the only time she stays still!
— Paul Fritsch
Here we are before the Columbia Track Club 'Nut Run' 2.2.2013. From left to right: Dad (Fred Fritsch), wife (Lisa Fritsch), Me (Paul Fritsch), and perpetual motion herself, Nancy Fritsch (takes a good camera to catch her standing still).
She cares about her children more than life itself. I have no doubt that she would take a bullet for me any day. I'm 21, and if I so much as stub my toe, she still comes running.
— Carol Anselmo
Paula Anselmo, left, and Carol Anselmo during high school senior pictures.
— Michael McCord
She never left my side when my twin sister and I were in the hospital, born three months premature. She made sure we were taken care of when our family went through some very hard times. She kept us together and has sacrificed a lot to make sure we were happy.
— Katie Goens
My mom, Stephanie Goens, and me on Easter.
My mother's name is Leanna Garrison. She has four kids, and we have all graduated from college. I am the youngest of four and remember her crying and saying to me "all my kids have graduated from college."
We grew up with strong core beliefs and she has always been there for us no matter what. I remember many times in my life where I wanted to give up but she kept me strong. She has given her whole life to helping my two sisters, my brother and I succeed.
I played basketball at Rock Bridge High school and wanted to quit my senior year because I never got to play, but my mom encouraged me to finish. I am so glad she did. I am now a coach for fourth- and fifth-graders, going on my sixth year. Many times we go to our mother knowing it's not always going to be what we want to hear, but know she has much wisdom and love to offer to help us grow as wonderful human beings and to share that same wisdom to others.
— Ami Romero-Perez
I chose the word supportive because my mother and I have not always agreed on everything, but my father and her always supported me and pushed me to do my best and have fun while doing it. This support really helped instill my work ethic and positive outlook on just about every situation.
— Allison Love
From left, Karen Love (mother), Jim Love (father), Jake Love (brother) and myself, Allison Love, on Christmas 2012.
Four years ago, my mother was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. Whenever you hear the word cancer the notion of death immediately comes to mind. The notion of death never even flickered in her mind. She took action immediately, dealing with cycles of radiation and chemotherapy. To any mere mortal this would be challenging enough, but no, my mother decided that she would continue teaching third grade without even taking one sick day off. It has been four years and her breast cancer is still in remission, but to this day she will always be known as "fearless."
— Daniel Kfoury
She is my best friend. I can tell her anything. She is always there for me, and she has always been there. I strive every day to be more like my mother. When I needed a shoulder to cry on, or someone to make me laugh, she was there.
— Stephanie Bryant
She is the only person who can be my best friend and also not be afraid to kick my ass if I need it. She is always willing to help with anything I need, including driving two hours on a road covered in ice to pick me up off the side of the road when I rolled my truck, even though I told her not to. Not to mention all the times she deals with our craziness. Simply the best!
— EJ Deml
This was taken when my mom, Rita Deml, took first place at the Sand Drag Grand Nationals in Benton, Ill., in 1988. It even continues to this day with our newest car!
She is always there for me anytime, day or night. We're 10 hours away, but she would jump in the car in a second if I needed her.
— Kate Canterbury
I don't need a single moment or situation to show why I chose the word "hero" to best describe my mom. No matter what is going on in my life or hers, my mom is my rock. She celebrates with me in times of joy, she cries with me in times of sorrow and she soothes me in times of anger or fear. She is the most loving and kind-hearted person I've ever known and exudes positivity everywhere she goes. The last year hasn't been easy for my family, and a lot of weight has fallen on my mom's shoulders, but no matter what she pushes on and smiles through it all. She is a tremendous role model and through her example she inspires me to be the best person I can be. I am blessed to call her both my mother and my best friend. She is my everything; my hero.
— Ry Colman
This is my mom, Cathy Hughes, and me at my grandmother's house during my birthday weekend in March.
My mother does selfless things every day. Growing up, it was just me and her, and things were tough, but I never really noticed. She worked three jobs just to make sure I wouldn't have to do without or experience a single worry. And even though she was always busy, she always had time to be there for me when I needed her most.
— Jessica Shearin
This was my favorite book, "Stone Soup." I would make my mom, Lois Shearin, read it to me every night when I was about 5. It was always important to her that I read every day, and I can never thank her enough for that.
She had an ill husband and a daughter in college, yet she still worked and paid every bill on her own. She stayed happy and never gave up. Never had a "woe is me " attitude. You never would have known what she was going through. She was motivated and dedicated to provide for her family. ... Her love for us was strong ... just like her!
— Gabriella McCord
My mom is an RN, and after I was in a car accident in college, I was in an orthopedic wing of hospital following a minor surgery to put a pin in my broken wrist. Although I kept complaining of stomach pain, the nurses assured me that was normal — probably from my steering wheel or seat belt. My mom insisted that I be evaluated by an internal medicine doctor, rather than the wrist specialist, and that doctor quickly found that I had a ruptured spleen, was bleeding internally, and needed to be rushed to emergency surgery. After surgery, he told me to thank my mom, as I would literally have not survived another few hours. Thanks, Mom, for saving my life!
— Scott Wilson
My mother stayed at home with my brother and me for several years before deciding to go back to school and get her teaching degree. She has never let time stop her from going after what she wants, and her love of her job inspires me to strive for the same thing.
— Tori Partridge
Tonja Partridge, left, and Tori Partridge at a family wedding in St. Joseph on Aug. 25.
During the post-9/11 period when it became more difficult for her and my father to find a job in the U.S., Mom got a job overseas to support our family living here in the states. Now, after the passing of my father, she is selflessly working 60 hours a week to not only support my eighth-grade triplet siblings but also to make them as happy as possible. She is truly a dedicated, selfless, loving mother.
— Naif Bartlett (Missourian copy editor)
Najla Al Salama takes a break to enjoy the scenery with her 2-year-old son, Naif Bartlett, on a 1994 hike in Washington state.
When I was working at a small resort in the back range of Colorado, my mother decided to partake in Ride the Rockies. This event is a weeklong bicycling trip through the Rocky Mountains and thus, by default, one of the most grueling cross-state bike events in the country. For my own sake, I cannot reveal her age when she undertook this ride — in 2008, for those who know her — but a spry 20-year-old she was not. She had trained for the ride in the flat plains of Iowa, which barely saw elevation gains of a hundred feet over a 10-mile stretch — while Colorado had gains of thousands in a mile. This is a woman who trained for extreme bike races — 150 miles in 24 hours. Who takes weeks off of teaching to ride bikes across states. Someone who has chased dreams on a bicycle since she discovered her love for it. In Colorado, she battled to the full extent of her capabilities, making it three or four days on mountain pass after mountain pass before calling it. She put her bike to rest in Crested Butte and rented a Hummer, then drove a couple hundred miles to visit me and spend some quality time four-wheeling around the hills of Grand Lake, Colo.
This story is memorable to me because it's the only time I can remember her stopping short of the finish line when she had her mind set to finish. That this had occurred while riding up and down the 12,000 foot passes of the Rocky Mountains is to me, even more impressive. When someone ceaselessly accomplishes so much in their lifetime, is an inspiration to generations of students/people, and is ceaselessly good natured, it is almost too easy to take their limitless abilities for granted. When you finally see a moment that they don't achieve what they set out to — even it was as daunting as riding a bike over the Rockies — it provides a touch of perspective, a measuring tool. That moment helped me to understand how extraordinary my mother truly was.
— Robson Abbott (son of the Missourian's managing editor, Jeanne Abbott)
Add your own tribute to your mom in the comments below. And we don't want to leave out dear old dad, so we also invite you to tell us how you would describe your father.
Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.