Ode to Mama

Can you believe I finally found a card to “Mama?” Not “Mother” or “Mom”?

Mama & Myra

Myra and Mama

Several years ago I was frustrated trying to find a birthday card for Mama on her birthday. I wrote a poem for her instead. Later when I published the small gift book, “Mama Always Says…”  I included the poem and story of why I wrote it. She loves it! In fact, if you go by the store where she works, she may pull out a copy and do a book signing for you right there!

In honor of Mother’s Day I’m reprinting the “Ode to Mama” and poem from the book. Although I finally found a card to “Mama” this poem explains why I love my Mama. I think you’ll agree, they just don’t make cards for Mamas who are strong, sassy and bold!

 Ode to Mama

I don’t know about you, but I have difficulty finding cards that I like for Mama. Whether it’s birthday, mother’s day or any other occasion; it seems that the funny ones don’t apply and most are sappy sweet. They talk of “Mother’s “who were always there with a plate of cookies after school and a sweet smile no matter what.Mama Says prf3A (2)

Where are the cards for strong, sassy, bold mamas? Mamas who are loud, outspoken, and flamboyant? Mamas who point their finger in your face and tell it like it is. Mamas who were more concerned with raising you right than with being your friend. Mamas who would tackle the devil himself if he got in her way. That’s the kind of mama I have!
The following poem is one that I wrote for Mama on her birthday a few years ago.

(As you read it, just substitute “Happy Mother’s Day” for “Happy Birthday!”)

Happy Birthday, Mama!

By Myra McElhaney

I went to buy a birthday card to celebrate Mama’s special day

I couldn’t find a single one with words I wanted to say

There were cards that said, “To Mom” and others were for “Mother”

But I found no cards for Mama displayed there with the others

There were cards that talked of “Mother’s’ hands that touched so lovingly

My Mama’s hands are strong; she can change a tire or chop down a tree

They talked of a kind and gentle voice to welcome the children home

But Mama’s voice is loud. It is clear and it is strong

Her songs aren’t sweet lullabies that put babies to bed

Mama sings gospel hymns with a rich Alto voice instead

Those cards were filled with sweetness and while that is nice

Mama is more than sweet; there’s lots of flavor and spice

How do you say “Happy Birthday!” to someone who gave you life?

Who sacrificed her own happiness so that you could thrive?

To one who worked the midnight shift to be there when you were home?

Who taught you how to live and to make it on your own?

Where are the greeting cards for a Mama who is strong and is wise?

Who wears big jewelry, bright colors and has a twinkle in her eyes?

A Mama who’s not afraid to say what’s on her mind

Who has some sauce and sizzle, in addition to being kind?

It’s not that I’m opposed to sweet verses about “Mother”

But I know the power of a love that’s stronger and tougher

Happy birthday, Mama, Thanks for being strong, courageous and wise

It’s because of all you taught me that I can succeed in life

It isn’t a sweet smile and a gentle touch,

The strength, sauce and sizzle is why I love you so much!

What about your Mama? How would you describe her?

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2 thoughts on “Ode to Mama

  1. Myra, I love your poem. It is nice to see your smiling face. I try to go through your mama’s checkout line at Quality Foods each time I shop. I am happy to know of your success. Jane Ferguson

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