Karissa Miller with her mother, Mary Stewart, at Mackinac Island in 2023

BY KARISSA MILLER

I have fond memories of my brother and I waking up early to surprise my mom with coffee and breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day.

My dad would help us buy her some flowers and a card. He would usually remind me that the most thoughtful gift I could give my mom was to not argue or get in a fight with my brother that day.

I’ll be the first to admit that there were a few Mother’s Days that I was completely thoughtless. I’ll never forget this one particular Mother’s Day when my brother and I did our same breakfast-in-bed routine for my mom and she began crying scary hard.

I wasn’t arguing with my brother so I knew that wasn’t the reason she was crying. I didn’t understand what was going on. We did all the things that we thought she loved and made her feel special, but that year was different.

It was hard for her to put into words why she was crying. Later, my mom told me that sometimes she wished she could tell her mom about everything that was happening in her life. She told me that she wished my grandma could have gotten to know me and my brother.

Pictured (from left) are Eddie Mae Cordle, Mary Stewart, and Vernon Cordle.

My grandmother, Eddie Mae Cordle, died suddenly when my mom was 21, and her dad passed away the following year. While it was painful for my mom to lose her parents at such a young age, it also gave her empathy and compassion for others with similar experiences. These qualities helped make her an incredible nurse during her 43-year career.

My thirties were the hardest decade of my life. I got married, I moved to a new city, quit jobs, started a fresh one and even managed to make an entire school board dislike me. I experienced many ups and downs. My mom was always there for me, offering words of encouragement and reminders to be faithful in prayer.

My go-to phrase whenever we would talk was: “My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes,” to paraphrase Anne of Green Gables. My mom would remind me about the importance of “perspective.” I would respond, “I can see the erosion with my eyes.”

Mom has taught me that life isn’t easy, but to look at the glass as half full, to find joy in doing and put God first. She also taught me to be resilient and remember to laugh.

The thing that I’m most grateful for this Mother’s Day is the fact that my mom and I have been able to become friends and know each other as adults. I feel very fortunate to be able to experience a close friendship with my mom. We talk almost every day, and she has a reassuring voice and offers good advice.

To all the superwomen out there and the moms that we will never forget, Happy Mother’s Day. You have filled us with a lifetime of memories, love and you mean the world to your sons and daughters!

Karissa Miller is a staff writer for Iredell Free News.

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