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A personal Mother's Day note

May 8, 2013
By SHERRI CONER ( , Pine Island Eagle

Maybe you tried for years to find those extra eyes on the back of her head. Maybe as you raise your own family, you hear her words leave your mouth. Or maybe your mom has been gone for years, but you still grieve the loss of her hug or her laugh. Maybe you even miss that mean face she made, when you were treading on thin ice.

Whether you are still lucky enough to have your mom or you've struggled through the pain of losing her, Mother's Day is a great Sunday for family moments. It is a perfect time to reflect on all the ways you adore the one person in life who loved you, no matter what.

Until she was 10 years old, life was predictable and happy for Misty Ramsey of Bokeelia. But her father died that year. With little girl eyes, Ramsey saw pain take away her mother, Debbie McClelland.

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Kayden Rivero with her mother Misty Ramsey.

"For awhile, she died right along with him," Ramsey said of her mother, who recently relocated from Pine Island to South Dakota. "My mom lost her footing for quite awhile. And I kind of became the second mommy."

While Ramsey was growing into so many responsibilities at such a young age, another little girl on Pine Island was rebelling against the simple stuff of life, such as a consistently expected soak in the family bathtub.

"I was totally a tomboy," Cynthia Nicholson said with a laugh. "I never wanted to wash my hair. I only wanted to go fishing."

Mom's response to her daughter's rebellion against hygiene was simply, "Young ladies bathe daily," Nicholson said of her mother, Debbie Poppell of Bokeelia.

If Nicholson got a little too sassy, the code words from her mother were, "Your mouth is gonna get your butt in trouble."

Now a mother herself, with two daughters and employment outside the home, Nicholson has lots more respect for her mother, in regard to understanding how hard her mother worked to juggle so many responsibilities.

"She works as the post master out at Pineland," Nicholson said.

"And she has worked full-time all of my life. My mom had four daughters but she always made time to spend alone with each of us."

Sometimes, her mom got more than a little bit frustrated with four girls who frequently refused breakfast, Nicholson said.

"She would say things like 'Young ladies who do not eat three meals a day

get sick and die."

But the harsh warnings didn't phase the Poppell daughters. They rarely agreed to even grab a piece of toast on their way out the door.

Mom might have let go of the breakfast fuss, but she never wavered in regard to family chores, Nicholson said. No fun was had until all household chores were completed. Today, she raises her own children with the same approach.

Most of the time, Nicholson walked that expected straight line. But once there was a little issue involving Nicholson's lead foot and a speeding ticket.

Before her confession, the tomboy turned into a culinary queen, at least for the evening she had to break the news about the traffic offense.

"I remember it," Nicholson said with a grin. "It was spaghetti night and I knew I could make that alone. So I made dinner and I did all the dishes, too."

With a 7-year-old daughter and a toddler, too, Kacey Forstner of St. James City describes her mother, Mel Young, as a constant giver.

"She is always doing things to help me," Forstner said. "And she has always encouraged me to do things I wanted to do."

As Ramsey grew into a young woman, her mother instilled in her the strength to be her own person and the confidence to make her own way.

"My mom always said, 'No matter what people say, always stand up

for what you believe. Don't back up and don't back down," said Ramsey, a single mother of one daughter. "She raised me to be a strong woman. She worked her butt off and raised us well."



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