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I have a wonderful legacy of faithful Christian women, including my maternal grandmother, Ieula Dick Baird, who died in 1973. Mama Baird, as we called her, was a Godly woman, as is my mother Ruth Baird Shaw, who was the 11th child born to Mama Baird and Benjamin Wilson Baird.

When I was just a toddler, Mama Baird gave mother a Bible story book with an inscription in the front:

“You may have tangible wealth untold,
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be,
I had a mother who read to me.”

One of my favorite childhood memories is of mother reading to me and my sister. Later, she read to my other siblings as well. No wonder we all grew up avid readers.

My mother often reminds us that becoming a mother doesn’t make you into a saint, but there is something about becoming a mother that does bring out the best in most women. Certainly, with my grandmother and mother, I have a wonderful heritage. Here is a ballad that my mother wrote for Mama Baird in 1983. The lesson of Mama Baird’s life is worth remembering this Mother’s Day.

A Ballad for My Mother
By Ruth Baird Shaw <>< 1983

My mother grew old. . . had lines etched in her face
Worked hard all her life. . . with uncommon grace
She lived by the Bible. . . And I’d visit awhile
She taught me her secret. . . of life with a smile

She said. . . Today is the first day
Of the rest of your life.
Don’t borrow trouble
With yesterday’s strife.
Take time. . . smell the flowers
That’s what makes life worth while
Then pick up each new day
And love and a smile!

Widowed while young. . . Mama worked in the mill
Washed on a scrub-board. . . Brought wood up a hill
She sang as she labored. . . to stay out of debt
And taught me this lesson. . . I’ll never forget

One day I said, Mama,. . . Your life has been hard
You’ve buried two babies. . . Out in the church yard
You’ve known all the heartache of struggling for bread,
She smiled through her tears and these words she said:
Today is the first day
Of the rest of your life.
Don’t borrow trouble
With yesterday’s strife.
Take time. . . smell the flowers
That’s what makes life worth while
Then pick up each new day
And love and a smile!

Her old fashioned tea cakes. . . We ate the last crumb
Her old fashioned flowers. . . She had a green thumb.
She lived by the Bible. . . each day and each mile
She taught me her secret. . . of life with a smile!

For more of Ruth Baird Shaw’s poetry, visit www.cwfa.org/rbs/.

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