On the anniversary of the birth of ‘Grammar’
Today is my mother’s birthday and probably the anniversary of a lot of other people’s births, too.
But only one of them is my mother. Today she is [muffled noises] years old.
The product of a Northeast Mississippi agricultural-industrial household, Mom grew up the third child in a home with two boys and two girls, working hard and learning lots.
She and my dad met while students at William Carey College in Hattiesburg. I was born, the second child, when they were living back in Northeast Mississippi and Dad was a pastor. Both he and Mom also were teaching.
In large part due to my mother, I grew up loving food — she’s a good cook — loving to read, to create, to question things and form my own opinions, to work hard and to love God.
Those lessons have continued for me my entire life, so far, and they have influenced my children, as well as my brother’s and sister’s children.
Because of Mom’s career as an English teacher, her grandchildren call her Grammar.
It’s not just a catchy, fun nickname for her — it says a lot about who she is.
She’s not going to slap you on your wrist if you misuse or abuse the language —she’s used to us doing it and her eyes have gotten strenuous workouts from all the rolling they’ve done at us.
But my mother can accurately be described as having high standards morally and ethically, tremendous faith, long-suffering patience, great compassion and a heart that poured out love on every student she ever had, no matter how difficult it may have been to try to teach them or work with them.
I think her practice at home with me certainly helped a bit.
All of these things come to mind when I hear the word “Grammar” — maybe it’s because the word refers to the proper use of language, and my mom can accurately be linked to proper usage of a life. But more likely I think of those things when I hear the word “Grammar” because those are the things I think of when I think of my mother, and therefore they have defined “Grammar” for me.
I’m very grateful for all the lessons I have learned from my mother, including to sit up straight; say yes or no sir and yes or no ma’am; respect everyone; share the love of Jesus through practical means and not just words; and close the door because I was not born in a barn.
I’m grateful for all these things, but above all else, I’m grateful she’s still around today for me to say, “Happy birthday, Mom. I love you.”
Brett Campbell can be reached at email@example.com. His mom can also reach him by yelling his full name out the back door.