Can you believe I finally found a card to “Mama?” Not “Mother” or “Mom”?
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.
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?
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
Ms. Ferguson, it’s so nice to hear from you! Mama loves her job at Quality Foods and enjoys seeing everyone. Thank you for reading and commenting!