“The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.” – Frederick Buechner What an encouraging and challenging quote to consider as a mother whose life’s desire has been to touch my sons’ lives, not just for good, but for the best. – Polly Holladay

eParis Extra will be highlighting a few mothers in the Paris area as we approach Mother’s Day this Sunday. This is a tribute to all Mother’s who have sacrificed for their children and families and put them first throughout their lives. We want to take a moment and give Moms the appreciation they deserve! Below, we introduce Polly Holladay – local Mom of six who is just one of many examples of what being a Mom is all about.

What was your childhood like, and when did you begin your own family?

Doc and I met at Paris Junior College in the fall of 1980. Eight months later, we were married. Coming from a mostly, single parent home, my heart cried out for many children and for them to have both a mom and a dad. While my mother was the hardest worker I knew, having a daddy around would have made a more positive difference in my life. My upbringing helped shape me into the woman and mother I would become: driven, focused, determined to provide better for my future children, and having a “never give up” attitude. Doc and I would eventually have eight children. Sadly, two were lost through miscarriage, but we were blessed with six sons who are my life’s joy and crown. When I was in my teens, I had three goals: to be an actress, a chef, and a basketball coach. From being on stage at Paris Junior College, creating my own private chef/catering business, Polly the Food Snob, and the honor of coaching a homeschool basketball league, I have been blessed to participate in each of those dreams. I loved each of these endeavors, but in comparison to motherhood, they were wood, hay, and stubble.

What is life like as a mother?

With thirty-six years of marriage and thirty-four as parents come many ups and downs, but the key, as in all things, is to look ahead when making decisions in the moment. Sometimes Doc and I were successful, sometimes we weren’t, but through it all God has been faithful, gracious, merciful, forgiving, and patient. These are the same characteristics we tried to exhibit in raising the boys. The rewards of doing so come as we watch our sons, now 19-34 years old, each maturing, independent and self-sufficient, following in their father’s footsteps of providing well for their families so that their wives can also stay at home to raise their own children. And unmarried Michael, has the same goal as he waits for a family of his own. They learned by example that work came before play, and work was a blessing from God, not a curse. We provided all their needs, but as my mother told us, “There’s a three-letter word for anything you want. It’s called a job. Get one.” And we passed that same expectation onto our sons. It wasn’t easy during those early years, but diligently training, as well as homeschooling them, were some of our best decisions.

What’s been most difficult about Motherhood?

Parenthood is not easy. We had many sorrows and challenges along the way. The most difficult would be losing two babies to miscarriage, followed by watching our children at times struggle spiritually, letting go when it was time for them to leave the nest and the gut-wrenching physical ache at the knowledge that those younger years with our sons were gone forever. But the joys far outweigh the sorrows as we are now friends with our boys and their amazing, beautiful wives. We get to experience how funny they are as I see them with their daddy’s dry-witted humor. They all make me laugh.

What’s something comical you’ve experienced in Motherhood?

One standout was when Michael allowed a ladybug to go up his nose, and I, in a moment of mommy desperation, used my rainbow vacuum cleaner balloon attachment to try to suck it out. On a more serious note, every son of ours has made a trip to the emergency room. From a German Shepherd attack on our oldest son’s face at age five requiring over fifty stitches, to flipped vehicles, a four wheeler crash, broken bones and deep gashes that required attention, the Paris hospital received its fair share of our income. But with all the highs and lows, the trials and errors, the day to day challenges, I’d do it all over again…. as long as  I got to take the wisdom I’ve attained back with me. Since that’s not possible, I take pride in where our sons are today.

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Where are they now?

Kevin is a World Class Tech for GM. Timothy is a custom cabinet builder. Jonathan is a graduate of Diving School in Houston, and is an excellent mason and custom tile layer. Michael is the lone bachelor, a published author of medieval fantasy, and is working while pursuing an English degree. Daniel is employed at Kimberly Clark. Benjamin, our youngest, works as a tree broker and deliverer. Each enjoys what they do, and are hardworking family men, loving and caring for their wives and children.

Thoughts from a Mother:

It’s tempting to look back at mistakes or regrets, but I doggedly refuse and instead focus on the joy-filled memories and the honor and privilege of raising our sons. And I look ahead to enjoying the blessings of our constantly growing family. Nine grandchildren and hopefully many more to come will keep Doc and me young and full of hope for the future. It hit me about a year ago that my sons don’t think about me nearly as often as I think about them. And I smiled because that means we had done our job well. Our sons were about the business of creating their own lives and focusing on their own families, which is how it should be! Doc and I continue to keep our hearts and arms open wide, beckoning them home with the greatest gift of all: unconditional love.

This week a local Mom will receive a bouquet of flowers on us! To nominate your Mom simply comment on our Facebook post with a photo of your Mom and why she deserves flowers on this special day. The winner will be selected at random (how could we ever choose a favorite?!) and announced on Friday Afternoon.

Click here to enter!