Every spring it’s a tradition to set aside one day in May that honors mommies-to-be, moms, grandmothers and great grandmothers. The bond between a mother and daughter is indescribable. We reached out to five mother/daughter duos and sent them the same questions to answer about the other, however, they are reading the responses for the first time, here with you. We encourage you to put some thought into celebrating your own mother this year, whether in words, a thoughtful gift or a home-cooked meal (or purchased) together.
CHERRY JACKSON & SHERRY SANDERS
What attributes would you use to describe your daughter and what she means to you? Sherry is a caring, compassionate, and moral lady who loves her family and is always willing to lend a helping hand. Because I am so family oriented, she is the center of my world. I am extremely proud of the strong woman/mother she has become.
What is one of your favorite memories with your daughter from her childhood? There are many that come to mind but I will share with you one that only a mother can appreciate. When she was learning to talk she could not say the “sh” sound so when you asked her to say her name she always said “Herry” and we would try to correct her by saying, “It’s not Herry, it is Sherry” and she would reply, “that’s what I said, Herry!” When I think of that memory I can hear that sweet little voice in my head.
How do the two of you spend time together now? Sherry and I both enjoy our family time. So, we love to share meals together, or enjoy a family trip to the beach. During the summer, we enjoy gardening and canning all of the harvested produce.
What attributes of your daughter do you strive to have in your own life and why? I have always admired Sherry’s positivity. Even through the hard times, she comes back stronger than ever. I also strive to be aware of other people’s needs in the same way Sherry is.
If you could tell the world anything about your daughter, what would it be? The world should know that Sherry Sanders is a wonderful, strong, and loving daughter/mother/friend. I am very proud and honored to have her as my daughter.
Nurse at Moore Elementary School
What attributes would you use to describe your mother and what she means to you? My mom is a selfless, prayer warrior who loves her God and her family well. She is dependable and always there for those who need her. She’s been a great example of a Christian wife and mother!
What is one of your favorite memories with your mother from your childhood? We’ve always had a garden and summers as a child were filled with gardening chores. I have wonderful memories of sitting with my Mom and my grandmother shelling peas, breaking beans or putting up all kinds of other veggies and listening to stories about when my Mom and even my grandmother were little girls and how things were back then. I cherish those memories!
How do the two of you spend time together now? We still garden and can veggies together every year. We also work closely together at the Williamson County Fair in the Little One’s Farming exhibit. And when we can, we love to go to the beach together! I consider myself very lucky to have her only 15 minutes away from me.
What attributes of your mother do you strive to have in your own life and why? My mom has shown me that family is everything. That family loves, forgives, supports, protects and encourages each other no matter what. She’s taught me that prayer will get you through anything and she’s taught me that life is short and to value and treasure every moment.
If you could tell the world anything about your mother, what would it be? She is not only a wonderful mom, but a wonderful friend!
PAM STEPHENS & MANDI MARLIN
Funeral Director, Williamson Memorial Funeral Home
What attributes would you use to describe your daughter and what she means to you? Mandi is one of my inspirations for doing my work – daily. She is vital in continuing the legacy of funeral service that my family started. Mandi has a way of taking things that may appear to be negative and always giving it a positive twist. She never sees the glass half empty; it is always half full and ready to be refilled! She grew up in a “single mom” environment and was taught that with a positive attitude you can achieve anything you set your mind to. She certainly applied that with her positive mental attitude. She has a Christian servant’s heart. She understands the value of taking the responsibility for the families we serve and the honor that comes along with serving families. Mandi is an excellent mother and her children (Stirlin and Langley) adore her. They love the fact that she is strong but gentle; she demands respect and she has taught them the value of being well mannered.
What is one of your favorite memories with your daughter from her childhood? Of course, there are many memories but when she was a little girl we had a pizza party at Show Biz and she was the center of attention from all of her family attending the party. She had a pretty dress on and her hair was full of curls. She definitely looked like a princess until the costume bear appeared behind her and she literally climbed over the chair and crawled up over my head in total fear. I had never seen a look of total freaking out like that before!! She learned then “Mama would always be there”!!
How do the two of you spend time together now? Mandi and I work together but we even enjoy spending quality time together. She has learned how to play golf. We enjoy playing golf and hopefully will have more time to do that even more. My husband and I have a lake house in Knoxville, that’s where we really enjoy spending time together. We both love the lake, sitting in the sun room, riding on the boat and listening to music. We both love to cook, eat at good restaurants and enjoy a nice glass of wine together. Family is important and taking care of my mother is number one to both of us.
Why attributes of your daughter do you strive to have in your own life and why? I want to be more patient and kind, like she always tends to be. She is never judgmental and is loyal to her friends. I sometimes get too caught up sweating the little things and I want to be more patient like her. She says to me all the time, “It is what it is”!!!
Funeral Director Williamson Memorial Funeral Home
What attributes would you use to describe your mother and what she means to you? FEARLESS … I have never seen my mom back down from a challenge. I’ve seen this in her my whole life. She was a single mom, raising my brother and me; all while working full time and volunteering for everything that meant something to her – even coaching my softball team as a child. She may have shown up for practice in heels, but she was always there for me. (We were undefeated that year too, imagine that!) CONFIDENT … She may not always know the answer or how to handle a situation, but she will never let you know it. She is confident in her decisions and being able to figure out situations. GRACE … She’s the most beautiful person I know inside and out. She has a heart bigger than anyone I’ve ever known.
What is one of your favorite memories with your mother from your childhood? My brother and I were always very active in sports growing up so most of our memories were either at a ballfield or a gym somewhere. She was either coaching me or cheering from the stands … I knew she was there. The other thing is growing up in Bethesda off Bethesda Duplex Road, every spring we would go pick buttercups on the hill, something we still do to this day and it’s still both of our favorite flowers.
How do the two of you spend time together now? I am so fortunate to get to spend time with her every day because we work together. People ask me if it’s hard having her as my mother and my boss; the answer is yes!! But I wouldn’t want it any other way. We also travel together a lot. She’s taken me all over the world and we’ve made some incredible memories together. Now that I think about it, we pretty much do everything together … church, work, dining, shopping, golfing, boating, and vacationing. She’s my best friend for sure.
What attributes of your mother do you strive to have in your own life and why? If I can be half the mother, daughter, funeral director and community leader she is I will have succeeded in life. She trusts me to make important decisions at work and in life on my own. I believe she does this because she has raised me to be fearless, confident and not to ever do anything half-way.
If you could tell the world anything about your mother what would it be? Do not ever tell this woman that she CAN’T … because she will prove you wrong. She is an amazing Christian woman who loves to serve others. I see this daily at work. She does not judge a soul and treats everyone she meets with the same amount of kindness. Most importantly if you ever need a party planned or a hand written anything … she’s your go to girl!
TRACYE TUCKER & SHAWNETTE TUCKER
Founder, Daughters of the King;
Special Ed Bus Driver for Franklin Special School District
What attributes would you use to describe your daughter and what she means to you? I would describe Shawnette as a compassionate person who cares about the welfare of others. She strives to be a peacemaker but will stand up and fight for the rights of others if necessary. Shawnette means the world to me because she is the only princess in the family. I have the best daughter in the world, and I am blessed to have her in my life.
What is one of your favorite memories with you daughter from her childhood?My favorite memory about Shawnette is a current event that changed our lives forever. On March 8, 2018, my daughter became a mother, giving birth to my beautiful twin granddaughters. This is the best, cherished memory of all with my daughter.
How do the two of you spend time together now? Shawnette and I currently spend a lot of time together while caring for the twins. I love supporting, coaching, and teaching her the importance of motherhood. Since they have come home, I have enjoyed spending time with my daughter and granddaughters. I cherish each moment I spend with them, and I wouldn’t trade anything for the time we spend together.
What attributes of your daughter do you strive to have in your own life and why? Shawnette is the definition of a social butterfly because she makes friends very easily, loves to talk and make people laugh. By having a sense of humor and making people laugh, my daughter has brought joy and happiness to our family. These are the reasons why I strive to have these attributes in my own life.
If you could tell the world anything about your daughter what would it be? I would tell the world that my daughter is an artsy and creative person. The beauty and fashion industry around the world can expect great ideas and contributions from my young, vibrant, enthusiastic, and talented daughter. Not only does she possess the inner beauty that comes from Christ, Shawnette uses her creativity and sense of style to create beauty in the lives of others.
Hair and Make Up Stylist
What attributes would you use to describe your mother and what she means to you? My mother is the most caring and helpful person I know. She thinks about other people more than herself. She’s a strong women and dependable mother. She is my bestfriend and is beautiful on the inside and out.
What is one of your favorite memories with your mother from your childhood? My favorite memory with my mom was the day I had my twin baby girls. She coached me and helped me through every step of the way. She stayed every night at the hospital, but not only that, she took off three weeks of work to help me out with the babies. I have an awesome mom.
How do the two of you spend time together now? We spend a lot of time together caring for my twin baby girls. We are up together late nights and early mornings feeding and nurturing them; bonding and building a relationship with them.
What attributes of your mother do you strive to have in your own life and why? To be a great mother like she is to me to my children because I want to be the best mom I can be and she’s been that since the day I entered the world.
If you could tell the world anything about your mother what would it be? I would tell the world that my mom is a daughter of the King. My mom is a strong believer and a woman of God and will always be just that.
DIANNE PETTY & LEYA PETTY WHITE
Community advocate and "Dancing Queen"
What attributes would you use to describe your daughter and what she means to you? Leya, my daughter, is one of the most incredible people I've ever seen in my life. She and I have a wonderful relationship, but it's a relationship that ... she's her person and I'm my person. But she's always there for whatever we need ... strong is one of her most incredible attributes. She goes right on with the show no matter what's going on. We have had a setback as of March and I knew she was a really, really special, incredible woman,but I don't know what we would have done without her. She has done everything imaginable. So, there aren't many women and daughters like I have and I'm so blessed to have her.
What is one of your favorite memories from your daughter's childhood? Leya has always been a tomboy, from the time we "knew" her - well. I will never forget ... Leya always played football and that kind of thing (the boys would always come get her to play), she would play with a doll for a little while, but she'd say, "I've played with this as long as I'm going todo it!" and she'd throw it away. I decided she needed to do things that normal girls did, so I signed her up to do dancing with Ann Carroll. The day I signed her up, Leya was in the floor behind me kicking and screaming saying, "I'm not going to do this!" And bless Ann's heart, she was trying to come up with everything she could think of to get her to participate ... and, she did. She took from the time she was in the first grade through the seventh grade.
How do the two of you spend time together now? We have a lot more patience with one another in what we do. We’re extremely different – as daylight and dark. I think because of not having the relationship of shopping and being the girly-girl I wanted her to be … just getting closer in that way. We do get out and go shopping sometimes, but we just spend time at home as a family. And she and I, as mother and daughter, sometimes we gang up on Dad.
What attributes of your daughter do you strive to have in your own life and why? I would love to have her strength, I would love to have her courage … I don’t know that I can sum it all up in a phrase or one word because she is one of the most incredible young persons I have ever known in my life. She has taught me a lot. I was very young when I had her and really, there was a time there where she raised me. She’s taught me a lot about strength and hope … She’s so unselfish.
If you could tell the world anything about your daughter what would it be? The world is lucky to have her.
Leya Petty White
Franklin High School Transitional 2 Teacher
What attributes would you use to describe your mother and what she means to you? Devoted, genuine, generous, insightful, stylish, thoughtful and determined. Mom is a very exuberant lady. She’s cheerful and brings joy to others. She has a feisty, youthful attitude.
What is one of your favorite memories with you mother from your childhood? As I was growing up, I played soccer, basketball and softball and was on some kind of court or field year round. Mom was always there cheering me on. Although she was sometimes a bit vocal, it was so cool to see her in the stands. This unwavering support meant so much to me.
How do the two of you spend time together now? Family meals, thrift shopping and hanging out.
What attributes of your mother do you strive to have in your own life and why? I tend to be a bit more reserved. Mom is more outgoing and open with folks. We are both loyal and devoted to those we love and care about. We are also determined ladies.
If you could tell the world anything about your mother what would it be? I think my mom has a generous heart. It is important to her for those around her to feel important and included. She is generous with her time and friendship. She is also my biggest cheerleader. Her love, encouragement and support have fostered an attitude of confidence and bravery in me. I am who I am because of the love she has given me.
DORA LONG & JULIE LONG
Retired (21 years) Special Ed teacher for Williamson County Schools
What attributes would you use to describe your daughter and what she means to you? From the first time I saw her beautiful eyes and face I knew what love really was. Her bright smile and outgoing personality have brought me through many hard times and makes me love her more and more, if that’s possible.
What is one of your favorite memories with your daughter from her childhood? One of my favorite memories was that she always wanted her friends to come to our house. We always had great times camping out in the yard, teaching her friends to drive (the white Stanza) going to haunted houses and even making our own! We were in Scouts together and I was so happy and proud to be her Scout leader for five years. I wanted to be involved in everything that she would allow me to, and she always seemed so happy that I did. Being her and her brother’s Mom has been the most important and wonderful thing I have accomplished in my life!
How do the two of you spend time together now? We spend lots of Saturdays together looking at yard sales and lots of time together with my wonderful grandchildren! We take the grandchildren on trips together to make great memories. I always dreamed when she was a little girl that we would be close and do everything together. My dreams have come true!
What attributes of your daughter do you strive to have in your own life and why? My daughter is very responsible and hardworking – something I have always admired and have been so proud of. The worse thing in the world is seeing your child cry, and she has been so strong through some very hard times. I applaud her strength and faith every day! I am so VERY proud of her! I see so much of my own mother in her and she was such a wonderful strong woman also!
If you could tell the world anything about your daughter what would it be? My daughter is the most fun-loving, big-hearted person who loves her family and friends beyond words. She would do anything for anybody if you needed her. Her smile and unfiltered, spontaneous actions have and do bring me more happiness than I could have every imagined!
Nurse for Williamson Medical Center
What attributes would you use to describe your mother and what she means to you?The attribute I love most about my mom is her selflessness. She always puts the needs of others ahead of her own. She makes sure everyone is taken care of. She never treats herself to anything and puts her family’s needs first. Family is her number one priority, and I admire her for that. I am lucky to have a mother who cares so much.
What is one of your favorite memories with you mother from your childhood?Some of my favorite childhood memories of my mother was her involvement in my activities. She has been my Girl Scout leader; she was a color guard mom and was at every event and always there to help in some way. One Halloween, she turned our garage into a haunted house; our friends still talk about it to this day! She made it fun for all of the kids to hang out at our house, so she could spend more time with my brother and me.
How do the two of you spend time together now? We spend a lot of quality time together with my kids, who she keeps every day for me! We recently took a weekend trip to Chattanooga and took the kids to the aquarium; we had a blast! We also took a family beach trip to Florida. As a single mom, I am so blessed to have her help. Her kind and loving relationship with my kids make me lover her even more!
What attributes of your mother do you strive to have in your own life and why? Some of my mother’s attributes I strive to have is her creativity and her trustworthiness. She is so crafty and always has the most fun and creative crafts for my kids to do at her house. She is willing to think out of the box and allow the kids to get a little messy for the sake of a good time! Being someone who is trustworthy is something I strive for in my life. She has always been there for my brother and me, and I hope to do the same for my kids.
If you could tell the world anything about your mother what would it be? If I could tell the world anything about my mom it would be that her love is unconditional. She has always put her kids first and continues to do just that. Some kids don’t know what it’s like to be loved unconditionally by their mother, and I am fortunate that I will never have to question that.