A First Mother#8217;s Day

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

There is nobody quite like her and nearly every child, whether grown or still growing, will tell you theirs is the best. Mom. One day is set aside each year to honor Mom. Some mothers share their own thoughts on this special day.

The blessing of motherhood

Today, Jami Harper will do something she has never done before: She will celebrate Mother’s Day as a mother.

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The Coal Grove woman gave birth to her first child, Emma Lee, April 7 at Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va.

“She was three weeks early,” Harper said. “But she’s doing well now. When she was born she weighed 5 pounds, 6 ounces and now she weighs 7. The doctor said she was just petite.” And she is her parents pride and joy.

Harper, her mom, Gina Lovejoy, and grandmother, Marge Kelley will attend Zoar Baptist Church together with other family members and then Harper said she is probably going out to dinner. That is how she will spend her first of what will be many Mother’s Days.

Being a mom, Harper said, “is completely different from what I thought it would be. It is 10 times better than I ever imagined. She is so good. She is happy all the time and she hardly ever cries.”

Like all new mothers, Harper said she has worries.

“I worry about everything, ‘am I doing it right?’ My mom was the best mom and I want to be as good as she is,” Harper said. “She’s been very helpful. Everyone has been helpful.”

If mom has been providing a good example and some good advice, grandma is providing that pair of loving extra hands for which grannies are so well known and Harper is thankful for that as well.

“She just likes to sit and hold her and rock her,” Harper said of Kelley. “She told me ‘you can’t spoil them. Hold them as much as you want to.’”

Harper said she had no idea what kind of gift husband Josh would surprise her with this first Mother’s Day but she has already received the greatest Mother’s Day gift she could have ever gotten and it came a few weeks early: little Emma.

“I am so happy,” Harper said. “I am really, really thankful and I feel really, really blessed. God’s really blessed us and he’s been really good to us.”


Mary Carrico and Barbara Pennington, both of Ironton, know a thing or two about babies and motherhood. Carrico had 10 children of her own, Pennington had two.

“Two boys and eight girls,” Carrico said with a smile.

She will spend this Mother’s Day at Bryant Health Center, where she now lives, but she will be surrounded by family nonetheless.

Looking back, Carrico remembers those days raising her family alongside her husband, Berkley, who passed away four years ago.

“My first one was spoiled,” she mused. “My husband worked the midnight shift and when he came home from work he would wake up the baby (son, Jay) and play with him. I was left to get him back to sleep.”

As the years went by, the Carricos showered their kids with attention.

“When they were growing up we would get out and play ball with them. We played ball and we did different things,” she said. “You need to do things as a family.”

If being a mother is not an easy task, it is also often heartbreaking, Carrico, who outlived some of her children, could tell you that. Still, her memories of motherhood are mostly happy ones. It is often, after all, the good times that get you though the bad ones and often binds the ones who are living more closely together. Her favorite Mother’s Day memory? It was the last Mother’s Day before her husband died.

“All the kids and grandkids were in and we just had a good time, just visiting,” she recalled.

She enjoys seeing her children visit her these days. They come every holiday, the grandkids, too. Later this month they will gather for a family reunion and Carrico is looking forward to it. Being a mother never ends.

Pennington said no particular Mother’s Day memory stands out in her mind.

“They were all good,” she said softly. Like Carrico, she will get a visit from family today and she is looking forward to it.

Pennington said Mother’s Day reminds her of her own mother, the late Mina Chapman, a woman, she said, who was an example of what mothers everywhere ought to be.

“She was an excellent mother, a stern mother,” Pennington recalled. “But she was a good one.”

A mother’s thoughts

What advice would Carrico give new mothers?

“Just cuddle them and bond with them and show them love,” she said. “They’re never too young to show them you love them.”

And she had another piece of advice too: Raise those kids in church.

“When I look back I don’t know how we could have raised our kids without God,” she said. “I don’t know how we would have done it. I want to be an example for Christianity because without God, I could not have faced some of the things I went through.”