“Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother.”
That famous quote, from an unknown author, helps sum up the importance and the role of a mother with her children and family.
And then there are these – all also from unknown sources:
“A mother is your first friend, your best friend, your forever friend.”
“Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.”
“Always my mother; forever my friend.”
Sunday is Mother’s Day, and to pay tribute to moms across Kendall County, The Star reached out to community leaders and asked them one question:
“When you think of your mother’s love and kindness, what are the first thoughts that come to mind?”
Some of the responses were short and sweet. Others were quite lengthy. And a few opted not to respond to the question for whatever reason.
But to celebrate this special day, here is what they said.
We will start with Kevin Thompson, senior vice president of Frost Bank of Boerne and the chairman of the board of directors of the Greater Boerne Chamber of Commerce. He referenced a column he wrote for The Star a few years ago.
“For all the motivational experts and the purveyors of inspiration, moms have the original fire in the belly. They are the original incubators, creating a safe place for new life.
“For all the entrepreneurs and startup junkies, for all the adventure sport fanatics, for all the seventh-grade boys looking for their first date to a dance, moms are the world’s biggest risk-takers.
“They give of themselves, literally and figuratively, in the face of endless potential harms. They bring life into a world fraught with death. They nurture that life until it can stand on its own, with no guarantee that it will, in fact, ever stand.
“Motherhood, wherever it may be found, is a purely remarkable feat. May it be forever honored, first by fathers, then by others. Without it, the world simply would not go on.”
He then wrote about specific things that come to mind when he thinks about his mom: “Soft hands and back scratches, … macaroni and cheese and Smiley Stew, … Easy Listening 92.9 FM. The music soothed Mom’s stress amidst bumper-to-bumper traffic. It gave me a headache. … I think of her sitting next to my bed on nights I was scared or sick. I think of the hum of the humidifier and amoxicillin aftertaste.”
Thompson’s list went on and on.
And then there’s Kendall County EMS Director Jeff Fincke, whose answer was very short and sweet:
“She always put family and friends above all. Would do anything for anybody.”
Here is what others had to say.
• Kendall County Prosecuting Attorney Nicole Bishop:
“When I think of my mother’s love and kindness, I think about the many challenges, tragedies and difficult times my mother faced. Many people in her situation would likely say enough and give up.
“However, I do not believe that ever crossed her mind. She loves her family fiercely, and she always relied on her faith in God to get her through. She showed me how to unravel inner turmoil, find calmness in prayer, and how to dig deep and endure when things are difficult.
“My mother can get through anything because of the love she has for her family and God.
• Precinct 2 Boerne City Councilman and Mayor Pro-Tem Nina Woolard:
“I come from a long line of strong women. My grandmother, despite feeding her own family, fed the homeless during the Great Depression. She would wrap leftovers and take to the homeless encampment under a bridge along the main highway running through our town.
“My mother started her own business at a time that most women didn’t work outside the home and volunteered her time through various organizations throughout the community we lived in.
“What I learned from the example both my grandmother and mother set for me I have tried to pass along to my own two daughters. I was surrounded by unconditional love and with a sense that I could do anything I set out to do. It was just as important to try and fail than to not try at all.
“My mother taught me through example how to treat people with respect on a personal level as well as a business level, which has served me well throughout life.
“I lost my mom 19 years ago and I miss her dearly. I catch myself repeating things I remember her saying to me to my own daughters and granddaughters, I only hope I can pass just a fraction of what I learned from the love of my mom and grandmother to them!”
• Boerne City Manager Ron Bowman:
“(My) first thoughts are her always being there for her kids. Sporting events, school activities etc. I was born in the former Canal Zone in Panama and my dad died when I was 7, so my mom went from homemaker to full-time worker and college-at-night mom to get her degree.
“But not once were my brother, sister nor I not taken care of. As a single mom, she made sure all her kids were provided for up to and including the necessary funding for all three of us to go to college in the U.S. while she worked full time for the U.S. government in a foreign country (Panama) until she retired years later.
“As a grandmother, she continued that love affection and attention to her grandkids also.”
• Boerne ISD Superintendent Tom Price:
“Chicken and dumplings and bad gumbo. My mother loved to cook – that was when she was happiest. She would always make me chicken and dumplings – I loved them! Mom tried to make gumbo, but it was so bad, but we ate it and smiled.
“I miss her and would love to taste the great dumplings and even the bad gumbo one more time.”
• Boerne ISD Chief Human Resources Officer Elaine Howard:
“My mother always played along when I would tell stories of seeing the tooth fairy late at night, and she let me sell the frogs and horny toads I would catch in the backyard on the side-walk in front of our home. Her love and kindness for me was ever present in her sacrifice of her own dreams so that I could always pursue mine.”
• Kendall County Precinct 1 Commissioner Christina Bergmann:
“When I think of my mother’s love and kindness, the first thing that comes to mind is the sacrifices she made for myself and my family. She always made sure we were taken care of and she would give up things she wanted so we could have more.
“She was such a loving, caring and giving person. She would drop what she was doing to be there for others. I still have individuals tell me that when they moved here she was one of the first people they meet, being as she worked at the lumber yard, and she always made them feel welcomed and loved.”
• Boerne Kendall County Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Amy Story:
“When I think of my mother’s love and kindness, I think of my mom who was always there for her daughters. My mom was and still is, my most trusted advisor and friend. Her uncanny knack for helping me get a perspective on a situation is something I have always respected most about her.
“Everyone knew and liked my mom when I was kid, and she was the first to volunteer to help in any way. I knew as a child, and I know as an adult, that no matter what happens in life, I will always have her unconditional love and support.
“I hope I have been half the mom to my four kids that she is!”
• 451st Judicial District Judge Kirsten Cohoon:
“I come from a single-mother home. My dad worked in Florida and was not around a lot during my formative years. I remember mom working very hard to put food on our table. She was a nurse and there were many late nights to ensure that I had what I needed (glasses, clothes, food, etc.).
“Mom was very good at what she did (she was the director of nursing at the local hospital) and I remember many recruiters calling mom to offer her other, more lucrative, jobs. Mom did not take those calls.
“So the first thought that came to mind remains the same thought after much contemplation: SELF-SACRIFICE.
“My mother’s love for me (and my brother) can easily be characterized as that of ‘self-sacrifice.’ She has always put my happiness and success ahead of her own. Each time. Every time.
“From a very young age, she taught me that I can do and become anything I want if I work hard enough. She instilled in me the beauty of a hard day’s work doing what you love.
“Over the span of my lifetime, my mother has taught me many things, but her continued self-sacrifice to assure my happiness continues to humble and amaze.”