My earliest memories are of being about 4 years old and sitting with my mother on her enormous king-sized bed and “reading” the Bible.
Of course, I was really looking at pictures in my colorful children’s Bible and imitating her reading the real one.
That tells you the main thing to describe my mother: a strong Christian faith that exemplifies her kindness and compassion. She has never met a stranger and was always good about teaching my brothers and me to count our blessings.
Mom never wanted us to be snobby or pretentious, and I still hear her harsh words whenever any of us commented in a way that might be perceived as such.
She reminded us we were blessed to live where we did and have what we had, and those less fortunate were not bad people. In fact, many of them were probably better people than we were.
My husband jokes and says it is a good thing I was raised that way since he came from a poor background and hardly had a thing when we started dating.
This, he says, is how he knows I married him for love.
While I will never know what my parents said behind closed doors, I do know they welcomed Paul into our family with open arms the moment they met him. My mother still says she loves Paul as much as her own sons, and I believe that is true.
While my mother is always striking up conversations with complete strangers (you see, I come by this honestly), you might think she is outgoing and a member of all sorts of clubs and groups.
By nature a reserved and even shy person, this is simply not true.
Mom’s social life has always revolved almost exclusively around her family — the four of us when we were children and then all 11 of her grandchildren. Each one would likely say she is the best grandmother in the world.
I have often said I probably couldn’t have raised four children so close in age had it not been for my sweet mother. I could call her any time and she would drop whatever she was doing and rush over to our house. To this day, she still always asks what she can do to help me.
Since many people remark how unusual my first name is, I will let you all in on how I got it. When my mother was a young girl, she and her friends would sit in school and doodle their names, rearranging the letters and even write their names backwards.
My mother’s name is Nelda. Notice anything? Yes, my name is hers backwards. One day, she thought, I am going to name my daughter that.
My three older brothers have traditional names: Mike, Jeff and Billy (after my dad). When it came time to name me, my father wanted a traditional dual name for his baby girl (he liked Laura Beth).
Standing firm, my mother insisted on Adlen. Somehow Allison was chosen for my middle name; I think she let dad pick this to mollify him.
Many girls don’t like their names growing up, especially those who have unusual names that are generally mispronounced. People called me Alden, Adeley, Adalay and many other names. It never bothered me and I have always liked my name and that it is different. One of my brothers’ childhood friends named his daughter Adalyn, which I thought was sweet.
One last thing you should know. My mother would not want me to so publicly praise her. She’s probably the most humble person I have ever known.
In fact, she will be embarrassed by this column and is sure to admonish me for sounding “braggy.”
If you do meet her, you may not want to mention you even read it.
Suffice it to say, I know I am lucky to have such a wonderful mother and I am going to make sure she enjoys a special day today. Happy Mother’s Day!
Forsyth County resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at email@example.com.