By Emilie Plants | Columnist
I come from a long line of Pajama Mamas.
My mom was one. Her mom was one. Her mom’s mom was one. You get my drift.
Since I took the reins and joined the “pajamahood” in 2006, I quickly learned that being a Pajama Mama is a 24-hour-per-day, seven-day-per-week job that isn’t honored or thanked enough.
Today, I would like to pay respect to two of the greats — my mother, Edra DuBois, and my late granny, Elverta Parker.
Elverta Parker was simply Granny Parker to me. It took just a few steps to get to her house from my childhood home, and I walked that path for some 20-plus years until she went home to be with Jesus.
She was a wise woman, who took pride in being a stay-at-home mom.
As a kid, I often would head for her well-made bed to jump or sit, and she would tell me that once you make your bed, you never lounge on it, because it will mess up the work that went into making it. Now, every morning, I religiously make the bed, and my bottom never touches it until bedtime.
Granny Parker was forever cleaning something, and she loved to rearrange her furniture. I must admit I keep a pretty tidy house. My husband loves it, until he gets up in the middle of night and stubs his toe on a piece of furniture in a new location.
She was a great cook and made the best sweet tea you ever put in your mouth. She would bottle it in milk jugs. We tried to get her to open her own business, but she was content with making the tea for free. I still love a glass of sweet tea and the memories it evokes.
She was quite the seamstress. My mother said they were poor growing up, but Granny Parker made sure she and her twin sister were dressed well. She couldn’t afford the store-bought dresses many of the girls wore, but she made dresses that were as good as or better than the designer ones.
She could build anything. Even if it was a man’s job, that didn’t stop her. Although I didn’t inherit the ability to sew or build, I did inherit her go-getter attitude. I have run two half-marathons, and I continue to train.
She loved to garden and was always mowing the yard, pulling weeds or sweeping. Since my children started school this year, I have taken on the yard work. I understand the pride she felt in a well-manicured yard.
She was a content person. She never had much money, but what she had, she gladly gave away. She enjoyed being at home and watching her grandkids. I’m finding in my own life that being content brings such peace to my life, and I have her to thank for an amazing example.
Granny Parker was good at a lot of things. What made her great was her faith in God. There were countless times as a child that I would come into her house and she’d be sitting in her rocking chair with her Bible open. Her Christian example lives on in me.
There’s a famous quote by Tenneva Jordan: “A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” That was my Granny. She was the most selfless person I have ever known.
The apple didn’t fall far from the tree when Edra DuBois became a mother to me, my two older sisters and my brother.
My mom does it all. She makes a mean bed, cleans, cooks, sews, builds, mows, gardens, babysits her grandkids and loves the Lord.
To add to it, she is an amazing artist, who can create just about anything her imagination can dream up. She painted a mural in my daughter’s nursery and has made just about every one of my children’s birthday cakes.
My mom was forever using her talents to make things for me and my siblings. She never did it for her own glory. Her life was and still is all about her kids.
I always knew I could count on her, like the time I announced at 9 p.m. that we had to make chicken enchiladas for my Spanish class the next day. She went to the store, bought the ingredients and helped me make them. She wasn’t thrilled, but that recipe has become one of our family favorites. Imagine that!
I was involved in activities such as cheerleading, dance, gymnastics and track. I could always look up in the stands and know she’d be there cheering me on.
She spent countless hours volunteering at my school and took on positions such as “room mom.” This year, I was named “room mom” for Cooper’s preschool class, as well as a volunteer parent in Scarlett’s kindergarten class. I know how much it meant to me to have my mom involved in my life, and I want to do the same for my children.
My husband and I just signed Scarlett up for soccer and Cooper for tee ball. They always will be able to count me on being their biggest fans. As I take that seat in the bleachers, I realize I am just doing what I’ve been taught.
I am the greatest role model my children will ever have. As I go about my daily life, I am teaching them. Every time I stoop over to pull a pesky weed, there’s a little bit of my hard-working Granny Parker coming out of me. Every time I wait in a long car line to pick up my sweet Scarlett, there’s a little bit of my selfless Mama shining through.
I am thankful for the impact these two ladies made in my life, and I can only hope to make the same lasting impact on my own little girl. Perhaps she will be a Pajama Mama, too.
Nothing would make me more proud.
Emilie Plants, a Plant City native, is a stay-at-home mother of two, freelance journalist and a former Florida Strawberry Festival Queens Court member.