Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Tribute to My Teen Mother by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

You were only sixteen when you brought me into this world. Frightened, you bravely met your new role as my mother. You've often told me the story of my birth and how you cried because you wanted your mother there with you. When they laid me in your arms, you whispered, "now I have someone who will really love me." Those words could never be more true. I love you, Mama.

I love you for not looking at my birth as an end to your life because you were only sixteen--for not thinking of me as a mistake. I love you for keeping me and raising me. I love you for sharing yourself with me. I love you because you have shown me who you really are--who God is.

Thank you for leading a nine year old girl to the Lord after she watched the Jesus movie and cried so hard she couldn't speak. Thank you for taking me to church and making sure I knew who I was in Christ. Thank you for teaching me how to pray and depend on faith when things looked so very bleak. Thank you for letting me cry in your arms as a child and an adult through my daughter's seizures, job losses, and other disappointments. Thank you for sowing so many spiritual seeds in my life. Thank you for being my spiritual mentor.

I will always treasure the talks we had each night. The memories of your grandparents are now memories of my own as I think back to our talks--even though I never knew them. You instilled a love for reading into my life and pushed me to go to college. You encouraged me to dream. When I hand wrote my first novel on a spiraled notebook at twelve, you read it and gave me my first critique. You didn't let me win at checkers, you made me learn how to play. You taught me to stand up for myself and you gave me courage when I needed it. You attended my track meets and pushed me to keep practicing in the summer when I wanted to be lazy. You gave me so much practical advice and Godly wisdom.

I wasn't sixteen when I became a mother. I was twenty-five. I felt overwhelmed and frightened that I would fail in some way. How in the world would I ever fill your shoes as a mother? I only had to be the mother of one. You were the mother of four. I had one child with special needs. You had two, one with a learning disability and the other needing speech therapy.

I now carry some of the same wisdom and traditions of your motherhood into my motherhood. We had her photo taken in the very dress you brought me home from the hospital. I've had the honor of leading my daughter to the Lord. We watch girlie movies just like you and I did. We read together. I was a Girl Scout troop leader just like you were. We've hand-picked our strawberries in the Spring, just we did. I tell her everyday that I love her, just like you did for me. And now, my sister is a new mother, spreading the same deep rooted love with her daughter, who is named for you, your grandmother, and great-grandmother.

You may have only been sixteen, but God knew what He was doing when He chose you to be my mother. Through you He gave me the gift of life--here on earth--and eternally through faith. Now your fruit is prospering in me and in a new generation through my daughter and through the words He's given me to weave into stories as parables, a witness to others. 

God gave me my debut novel on my birthday in 2008. Now in 2010, I feel so very honored to hand-deliver to you the fruit of your labors so long ago when a twelve year old girl dreamed of being a novelist, and you patiently encouraged her by reading and critiquing every word. How very fitting to be able to give you this gift on Mother's Day weekend. 

But more importantly, thank you for teaching and sharing with me God's greatest gift of all--His unconditional love. 

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Note: The first photo above is of my mother holding my daughter. The second photo is of my sister, me, and my mom.


  1. Hi Jennifer:

    If there is a more beautiful tribute to a mother, I haven’t read it. It must be wonderful to be your mother.


  2. Jenn,

    How blessed you were and still are to have such a wonderful mother and such a beautiful relationship. Your tribute is most touching.

    Happy Mother's Day,

  3. Waaaa!! You made me cry!!!

    Will your mom get online and read this? If not, you have to mail her a copy!

  4. Thank you, Vince and Edwina!

    Missy, she saw it, but couldn't print it b/c she doesn't have a printer. You're right I need to print a copy and mail it to her. She cried.

  5. What a wonderful Mother's Day post!

    I remember hearing somewhere that "when you give birth to your daughter you are giving birth to your best friend" - so true!

    Happy Mother's Day Everyone!