The Heroines

Constance L. Loveall

is honored with a Brick from Wendy, Scott, Angee & Brandon

Constance Loveall is my mother. All of my life, she has loved me and cared for me and freely given to me all that she possibly could. I cannot remember a tenth of the sacrifices made on my behalf, yet even those that I knew and remembered often seemed so great that I was overwhelmed. I often felt like there was no way that I could live up to that much love; no way to keep from feeling guilty in light of all that she had given me, and the little I gave in return. I can remember a thousand specific reasons my mother is my heroine: for insisting on natural childbirth when it was unheard of; for nursing us all, despite social pressure to do otherwise; for raising me to truly believe that I could do and become anything I wanted; for reupholstering our couch with no experience and no pattern; for growing and canning acres of fruits and vegetables; for forgiving my teenage years - all of them.

It has been easy to say, as I have grown older, how much I appreciate what my mother has given me, but until recently it was true only in a remote, cognitive sense. I am certain that if I had not had a child of my own, her most precious gifts would have remained unknown to anyone but herself. I never fully understood her love, or allowed myself to acknowledge and accept the grace of that love until Riley was born. When I nursed my child, I could feel the love she must have felt for me, and could be grateful for her sustenance and her comfort. When I changed diapers and did laundry and rocked my crying baby, I realized that these were manifestations of a love and a joy so profound that they needed no repayment. I am so grateful to have been the beneficiary of my mother's love. I am even more grateful that my son is the new beneficiary of her love. Somehow, knowing that she loves my child no less than I do, that she would freely sacrifice anything for him, is the greatest gift that she could ever give me. Finally, I know enough and am in the right place to experience this gift fully in the moment it is given. Thank you Mom.

Submitted by Wendi K. Born
I am not sure how to tell you what it is like to look back on my childhood, and only now recall that my mother would wear the same clothes year after year when she took my sisters and I shopping for new school clothes. I can recall wondering why she was so excited when she saw that Sears had Tough Skins Jeans on sale. I remember how excited everyone in our family would get when Kentucky Fried Chicken ran a special on a bucket of chicken. Those were the good old days.

I can tell you the exact day I began to realize the sacrifices that were made for me. I had grown up, moved away from home and started a new job at Boeing in Wichita. I remember driving home and feeling rather pleased with myself. I thought about how much money I was making. Adding up the number of hours I had worked and multiplying in my head the amount of my next check. And as I sat there at the traffic light, deep in my thoughts, my mind wandered from myself to my parents. How my mom had also once worked at Boeing. How she must have made the same journey. I wondered if she had ever sat at the same light, added up her own paycheck, subtracted the bills she had to pay. Then it hit me. When she worked, she made less money than I made now. She had children and a lot more bills than I had. How did she do it? All these years later, I still don't know how she did it.

Today I see so many people leaving their kids with a babysitter or a daycare so both parents can go to work. They work all day for what? So they can make more money to pay the babysitter to raise their kids? So they can buy their kids Tommy Hilfiger jeans instead of Tough Skins? So they can eat Kentucky Fried Chicken whenever they want? I am glad that I rarely had name brand clothes. I am glad that eating fast food was a treat and not part of the ride home for me. My mom never worried about what the latest fashions were. She worried about what was best for me. She worried about my character. She worried about my values. I don't have any children of my own, so I am not sure how much of these lessons I will be able to pass on to anyone. I only know that I am not my paycheck, I am not my clothes, I am not my car. I am my mother's son. I like to think that I am someone she can be proud of. . . because I am very proud to be her son.

It is hard to explain what my mom means to me at the age of 17, but I know she has loved me unconditionally despite all of the things I have done to her and myself. She has always forgiven me when I have gotten in trouble, she has always cared for me when I have been hurt or injured, and she will always love me no matter what I do. When she and my dad got divorced, she fought as hard as she could to keep me and to my benefit, she succeeded. In times of hardships she was always there to support the family, even if it meant working extra long hours and having less time to spend with her beloved children. I just want to take this time to tell her how much I love her and that I appreciate all of the things she has done for me. Also, no matter what happens in the future, I will love her with all of my heart. Maybe one day my heart will be big enough that I can love her as much as she loves me.

Brandon Trapp
Oh Mama, where do I begin to thank you for all your love? You have always been a beacon of light to me, myself, who has often been stumbling through darkness. Most of all, though, I want to thank you for letting me make my own mistakes, learn from them and carry on. I hope that I make you as proud of me as I am of you and Robert. Know in the depth of your heart that this child praises and worships you, even when we are not in agreement. Your loving and forgiving soul has left permanent imprints on my life; I hope that someday I can grow into the caliber of person that you have.

You are wise beyond your years, and beautiful beyond your youth. Your words ring through my head over and over again ... "Don't go past your CC's," "Don't be too hard on yourself, everyone make mistakes," "Do your best, even it it's just getting up in the morning," "Have fun BUT be careful," "If you worry too much about what other people think, you won't know how to think on your own," and many other kind, wise remarks. It was you who taught me how to love without fearing pain, how to swim, how to read, how to laugh. I have so much to say and no room left to say it. Just know that I love you and respect you and miss you.