My mom’s mom (my Grandma Evelyn) with four of her seven children.

It’s a bit past mother’s day, but there’s no rule forbidding me to appreciate my mama any old day, and if there was I would break it.  My mother is the youngest of seven children and the mother of twelve.  Her mother was the fifth of twelve child.  Big families are a legacy of my mom’s side of the family, and she is the perfect person to carry on that legacy.  She has an incredibly calm demeanor and if anyone is suited to gracefully raise twelve kids, it’s her.


My Grandma Evelyn was an artist, and painted this picture of my mom on her first day of kindergarten.

While I was finishing my masters courses in Lebanon in 2011-2012, there were many days when I would find myself feeling very homesick for my family.  My mom would send these amazing little emails that helped cheer me up and make me feel like I wasn’t missing out.  Here’s an example of one that I received:

“Hi Marie! I’m sitting in the kitchen and Collette and Hannah are drawing pictures. Hannah draws an ‘ugly person who hit her toe on a piece of granite’ and her armpits smell so bad that she has stink bombs coming out of her arms! Ha! Only Hannah! Love, Mom”

As the years go by she seems to enjoy life more and more, and I feel confident and lucky that I’ll steal that quality from her.


Mom trying out hookah/shishah with my dad during their visit to Lebanon.

I inherit my appreciation for children’s literature, my need for daily outdoor exercise, my love of music, and my low tolerance for clutter from my mother.  She is one of the people with whom I have laughed the hardest.

Here’s what some of my siblings (I didn’t ask all of them), my dad, and my friend say about her:


Mom with her five youngest.

“She has a really funny sense of humor. Yesterday she read a whole application in a Scottish accent. And she always does things for others.”     -Celine

“Mom doesn’t think twice about being kind.  It comes so naturally to her to put others first.” -Liz


Comforting her granddaughter Isla

“She’s so peaceful. It’s hard to remember her ever being angry or upset.  She has this quiet calm way about her like she knows every day won’t always go smoothly but she’s gonna make the best of it.  Mom always says ‘You gotta have an attitude of gratitude’ and I think that’s where her peace comes from, because whatever the situation, she’s grateful for what God has already given her.  Also she’s hilarious and has an awesome sense of humor.” -Jim

“Mama T is one of the most amazing people I have had the pleasure of meeting in my life.  Seeing her and being in her presence brightens my day and makes me want to be a better person.  I admire her patience and kindness that is not only reserved for her close family but for everyone that comes her way.  Being away from home (the Murray household) I miss our morning talks about life in the kitchen while she made us tea” – my friend Tessy

“With all that she does –and it is a lot–she does not draw any attention to herself.  It is one of the very top things I appreciate about her.  This humble virtue seems to have been passed down to each of you children.  Many people would say that I do a lot and often say that I do too much, but mom does more than me both inside and outside the home and not many people know it nor would she want them too.” -Dad