There’s no one more special than momma. No one can kiss a boo-boo like momma. No one can cook like momma. No one can hug like momma. And there certainly isn’t anyone we’d like to make proud of us more than momma.
I’m sure Nona Jean Florence was that kind of momma for her son, Frederick. I’m sure his smile brightened her day like nothing else, and I can guess that not too many people made her beam with pride more than her baby boy, Frederick.
That’s the presence of a good momma. When God created mommas, He melded everything we would ever need into one human being. It doesn’t matter if we’re 45 and have kids of our own, we will always be momma’s little girl or momma’s baby boy.
That’s the presence of a good momma.
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Nona Jean was the inspiration for my friend, Frederick. Through her love guidance, and support, Frederick grew up to be a dynamic presence of his own: he became an educator.
I can picture Nona Jean at church bragging to her Sunday school class about her little boy: “He’s going to be a teacher. I am so very proud.” I can hear her in the grocery line: “My little boy is going to be a teacher. He’s someone special, and I know he’s going to be a good teacher, too.” I bet there were times when Frederick blushed a little in her presence, when she began to brag on her baby boy. I wonder if she patted his head like a momma does or grabbed him by the face and planted a big kiss on his cheek like a momma does.
Momma knew her son would be amazing. Despite a distaste for school and a little struggle along the way, Frederick Weldon did become amazing.
In high school, he shied away from college-prep courses, not expecting or initially wanting to go to college. But there was momma. Encouraging, challenging, praying. Although a bit weak in preparatory academics, he headed off to college with a spirit of fortitude and a supportive momma. He started college, then stopped college; started again, then stopped again. And all the while, there was Nona Jean. Momma. Believing, cheerleading, praying.
On Jan. 8, 2001, her prayers were answered, and Frederick had his first day in the classroom as a student-teacher. He soared through the day, confirming he had found his niche. Frederick couldn’t wait to call his momma and tell her all about his exciting first day as a teacher. But momma didn’t answer.
Nona Jean Florence had suffered a massive heart attack.
She would never get to hear about his exciting first day in the classroom. She never saw him walk across three different stages to receive three different degrees. She never got to listen to her son brag on his students or tell stories of the impact he is making in students’ lives. All she knew that day was that her baby boy was going to be a teacher, that he was someone special, and that she was so very proud.
And for Dr. Frederick Weldon, the Academic Dean at Kendrick High School, that makes his heart smile. Because, momma knows. She always knows.
Sheryl Green: firstname.lastname@example.org