Tahlequah Daily Press

May 12, 2014

Million-dollar moms

Locals pay tribute to their mothers on their special day

By RENEE FITE
Special Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Mother’s Day is about celebrating those special women who make life a lot sweeter.

Many moms are role models for their daughters, and can even inspire their sons in knowing what qualities to look for in a future spouse.

Stacy Matlock loves her mother, Ruby McGarrah, and remembers her banana pudding.

“She was a great cook and a wonderful mom,” said Matlock. “She raised five boys and three girls of her own before adopting me when she was 54, and I was 2. I appreciate her caring and kindness. It’s something to take someone else’s child and raise as your own.”

One of Matlock’s favorite memories of her mom was watching her in church.

“We were raised Pentecostal. My mama could get down!” she said.

Matlock’s daughter, Kortney Bailey, recalls the birth of her first child as one of her most memorable experiences with her mom.

“The night before and the day I had Lorelei, mom was with me. We played cards for six hours,” said Bailey. “I never, ever saw her like that before, nervous and excited. She stayed with me the whole time I was in labor, all 56 hours, except when she took a shower and got something to eat.”

Today, her mom is a lot different with her granddaughters than she was when Bailey was growing up.

“[In her eyes] they can never, ever do wrong,” said Bailey. “She’s very devoted. What family we have is everything to her.”

Bailey most admires her mother’s strength and determination.

“She’s probably the strongest person I know,” said Bailey. “And she’s funny!”

When Bailey was growing up, her mom wanted to be sure Bailey learned the value of being independent and did what she wanted to with her life.

“Being independent taught me to be a better friend, mother and daughter. Not having to depend on anyone else made me outgoing and self-reliant,” said Bailey. “It’s a quality I value in myself, and want my girls to be the same way.”

And the little girls know they are loved. Lorelei, Bailey’s 5-year-old, loves her mother.

“She takes care of me,” said Lorelei.

Jocelyn Presley, 3, loves her mother, “because she gives me snacks.”

One of Bryn Smith’s favorite memories of her mother, Teri Otterness, involved the birth of her son. Otterness took pictures of Smith’s son, Benjamin, while he was in the neonatal intensive care unit for seven months, and made a card for Smith’s birthday using some of the pictures.

“She told me what an incredible mother I am; she’s very sweet,” said Smith.

Ben was also in and out of the pediatric intensive care unit for two years, his progress very slow, Smith said.

“Mom took pictures to show me he was progressing, and to help keep it normal,” she said.

Smith said the words “serene” and “sincere” best describe her mom.

“I love how calm she is, and that she always thinks very hard to make gifts that are sincere for people,” Smith said. “And she’s very humble. She has never competed with another woman; she loves people for who or what they are. She’s loving and understanding of others. But I also learned she’s protective. If anyone if her family is hurt by another person, she’ll give them what-for.”

A funny memory for Smith was when her older sister went on her first date, and was late getting home. Her mom took off her bedroom slipper and swatted the guy on his shoulder.

Some grandmothers live nearby and lend a helping hand; others travel great distances to see their families. Dr. Tracey Childers’ mother, Celia Way Edwards, fits into the latter category.

“My mother is the epitome of sacrificial love. She consistently puts the needs and concerns of her children ahead of her own,” said Childers. “She has blessed me in ways that I cannot find words to describe. I hope to emulate her in the lives of my own children, Tess and Emma.”

Kyle Cooper thinks of his mother, Jo Prout, as a caring individual.

“The amount of caring she has for everybody and everything she does is what impresses me,” said Cooper. “She always goes above and beyond to make sure everything is done right.”

Cooper’s favorite memories are of summer trips with his mom and dad, Hedley, driving from southern Florida to Tahlequah to visit maternal grandmother Nann Bogan.

“We took different routes and saw different parts of the country; it was fun,” he said, “Those are pleasant and fond memories.”

Prout also works hard to make her grandsons feel special.

“She’s always there to watch the kids of we need her at short notice,” said Cooper. “Mom is nice to and likes everyone she comes in contact with. She’s a loyal and caring friend.”

Facebook responses also reflected how wonderful moms can be.

Ron Yott said he has too many fond memories to recount of mom Virgie.

“She insisted when I first got married, many moons ago, on bringing my wife and me several sacks of groceries just about every week,” Yott said. “She didn’t want her little boy to starve.”

Jamie Leahey said her mom, Janice Dumont Seaman, was a fun and caring mom, who taught school and was beloved by many.

“I remember her using her Walkman, dancing and singing while she cleaned, which is something I do as well,” said Leahey.

Mesa Sitton, a mother of three, is a hero to her family, said her daughter, Tanya Comingdeer. Comingdeer’s youngest son, Richard, is autistic. What the family thought was going to be a typical fishing trip could have ended in tragedy. Richard fell into the river, and Sitton jumped in and brought him back to safety.

“She’s a wonderful mom, beautiful friend and lovely wife,” said Comingdeer.

Melanie Thompson remembers her mother, Emma, fondly.

“Mom worked the switchboard at the newspaper office; when she came home the day President [John F,] Kennedy was assassinated, she was devastated and in tears, worried about what was going to happen to our country,” Thompson said.

Sometimes the best mom isn’t linked by biology. Winifred Lear was hired to take care of Marcquitta Hamm when she was 8 days old.

“She was a true mother to me and still is, more than 52 years later,” said Hamm. “She is loving, giving and full of grace.”