Family Matters: The Best Thing

By Claire Mullen

That she can never tell a funny story without bursting into laughter midway through. –Vernetta Purcell, 36,
daughter of Alguina Purcell
That she will always love me no matter what. –Annabelle McLean, 6, daughter of Rosemary McLean

In honor of Mother’s Day, I took to social media to pose one question to anyone who wanted to answer. I received an overwhelming number of responses from folks of all ages. Some from multiple generations of the same family. Some from sneaky dads and grandparents who interviewed their little ones. Some from people I know, and some from strangers. Some of the answers were silly. All of them were heartwarming and filled with the one–of–a–kind love that we have for our mamas.
Here are the answers to “The best thing about my mom is…”
That she’ll still scratch my back if I ask her to. –Brandi Raikes Paris, age 38, daughter of Kelly Raikes


That we can get into laughing fits at the most inappropriate times, yet we can never remember what started it. –Keri Hall Efird, 37, daughter of Gretta Hall
That she lets me dress up like the bad Sandy from my favorite movie “Grease.” I really don’t care for the good Pink Lady one. –Sally Alderman, 5, daughter of Molly Alderman

That she has always been my No. 1 cheerleader! –Shannon Stephens Morehead, 36, daughter of Kay Stephens
How she always thinks of new adventures for her grandchildren to experience.
–Maggie Carson, 48, daughter of Sherry Petty


Her spirit of adventure. From the mountains to the beach, snow or sunshine, you’ll find her enjoying the great outdoors. –Kerry Wheeler, 33, daughter of Kathy Miller
That she is Elsa from Frozen and that she is my favorite friend. –Lilly Grace Craven, 3, daughter of Heather Craven
That she is always joyfully willing to lend a helping hand, puts her family first and loves unconditionally to the core. –Matthew Runkle, 37, son of Marie Runkle

That she is strong, loving, and hardworking, and she shows me every day who I want to be when I grow up: Her! –Kathryn Morketter Parlett, 30, daughter of Frances Morketter
That she still answers the phone every single time I call. –Lindsay Williford Hall, 41, daughter of Wanda Williford
Her ocean–deep kindness and sincerity. She is a true friend to everyone who knows her. –David Courie, 50, son of Ann Courie
That she’s funny and nice. –Paisley Riddle, 7, daughter of Amie Riddle


That she is the epitome of an Army spouse and parent, while still striving to make Fayetteville a vibrant community. –Dan K. McNeill, Jr., 39, son of Maureen McNeill
Her constant care and love for those around her. –Julian Barbaro, 20, son of Heather Barbaro
That she is truly devoted to our family! She gives her all in everything she does for us from her beautiful and delicious holiday meals to her continuous prayers for her children and grandchildren. –Mandy Barnes, 46, daughter of Janet Cameron
That she lets us pick out our books at bedtime. –Mary Prescott Kells, 7, daughter of Lacy Kells
That she is always there for me, no matter what. –Sandra Strickland, 55, daughter of Joe Ann O’Briant
How she shows up daily to support everyone in our family! –Anna Haley, 40, daughter of Martha Goetz

That she reads to us and gives us great snuggles. –Simmie Kells, 7, daughter of Lacy Kells

That she has patience. –Tristan Nolan, 6, son of Casie Nolan
That she’s really nice to me. –Madison Nolan, 8, daughter of Casie Nolan John Palmer, Simmie,
Mary Prescott & Lacy Kells
That she reads to us and gives us
great snuggles. –Simmie Kells,
7, daughter of Lacy Kells
That she gives the most thoughtful gifts for others, and she is the best to snuggle with.
–John Palmer Kells, 9, son of Lacy Kells
That she has a great attitude about everything. –Cameron Nolan, 10, daughter of Casie Nolan
Her commitment to Christ and her love to share him among her 10 children through her daily genuine practices. –Martha Wood, 66, daughter of Dolores Beck
That she is the most selfless person I’ve ever known. She is the most loving, giving and the kindest person you will ever meet. She works circles around me and never gives up. She is the friendliest person around. Her faith in the Lord is the strongest you will find. She’s my momma and she’s a blessing. –Cynthia Burton Parnell, 58, daughter of Gloria Burton
That she lets us snuggle in bed with her and watch movies. –Brooks Pennink, 5, son of Tiffany Pennink
That she helps me poop on the potty. –Stella Pennink, 3, daughter of Tiffany Pennink
All her love for our growing family and all the “bushels, pecks, and hugs around the neck”.
–Jenna Graves, 36, daughter of Beckie Bishop That she loves me, feeds me, and helps me get my schoolwork done. –Samuel Davis, 13, son of Virginia Davis
That she keeps it real and is one of the funniest people I know! She is quick to tell a joke, always positive, and has taught me to work hard and be a part of the community. She also puts up with me and my brother Mike!
–Andrew Pennink, 36, son of Suzanne Pennink
That she loves me. –Elliott Coggin, 5, daughter of Dr. Kristen Coggin
That she loves like Jesus – selflessly and unconditionally. –Lisa Orr, 60, daughter of Polly Orr
That she’s an overcomer, a go-getter, an overachiever, a survivor, one tough cookie, a victor, a prevailer – she never gives up. –Lynne Smith, 56, daughter of Judy Dawkins
That she takes me fun places. –Henry Hess, 6, son of Caroline Hess Mona McFadyen & Jennifer Hammond That she has a solution for everything –
she knows how to make the best potato salad and deviled eggs ever, how to get out a rogue stain when you realize your daughter was playing dress up in a church dress, how to teach complicated math concepts to elementary schoolers, and how to pick the perfect gift for someone special.
–Jennifer McFadyen Hammond, 36, daughter of Mona McFadyen
How she shows up daily to support everyone in our family! –Anna Haley, 40, daughter of Martha Goetz
That she’s nice and she likes to cuddle with me. –Emerson Yanagi, 10, daughter of Megan Yanagi
How supportive she is in everything that I do. –Reese Yanagi, 13, daughter of Megan Yanagi
That she is always ready and willing to help whenever we need her, and she is the best Grammy a kid could ask for! –Mitch Guy, 34, son of Susan Guy
How selfless she is. She is willing to give up anything to help or make life easier on her four children, their spouses and her six grandchildren. She is truly super woman! –Megan Duggins, 38, daughter of Martha Wood
That she saves babies’ lives, and she loves me. –Merritt Coggin, 8, daughter of Dr. Kristen Coggin
How we can grow and learn together about the best ways to love our neighbors. –Sara Montgomery, 39, daughter of Katherine Pugh
That she puts other people before herself.
–Chris Bullard, 30, son of Sharon Bullard Young
That she is really the best mom ever, and she’s good at snuggling. – Elizabeth Ciccone, 6, daughter of Serriah Ciccone
That she always makes good dinner for us.
–Leah Gray, 4, daughter of Hannah Gray
Dominique Robinson & Shirley Henderson
That there is nothing in the world that
she would not do just to see me smile.
I love you, Mom! –Dominique Robinson, 38, son of Shirley Henderson
That we do girls’ nights and that I help her bake cakes. –Olivia Hosseini, 5, daughter of Andrea Hosseini
That she plays sports with me and that she is a good cuddler. –Perrin Shankar, 6, son of Suzanne Shankar
Her selflessness and willingness to always go above and beyond for us and others. –Anne Schaefer, 19, daughter of Emily Schaefer

That there is nothing in the world that
she would not do just to see me smile.
I love you, Mom! –Dominique Robinson, 38, son of Shirley Henderson
That she always goes above and beyond for her friends and family. You might find her in the kitchen baking her famous cheese bread for someone who needs something warm and uplifting, or she’s dropping a card on your doorstep
just to say she’s thinking of you.
–Anna Lambert, 34,
daughter of Jane Buryk
That she takes each and every opportunity
to make people feel special. She loves to
make an ordinary day a real occasion.
She’s been known to call up and say, “Let’s
go out and wear our fur coats to dinner this
weekend,” or to send flowers to my office for
Halloween. Her china doesn’t just sit in the
cabinet– every casual dinner at home is an
opportunity for an evening of elegance.
–Caroline Gregory, 34,
daughter of Anne Cowan Gregory

That she takes care of me. –Sullivan Coggin, 7, son of Dr. Kristen Coggin
That she’s the best friend who always answers the phone when you call (even for the 4th or 5th time that day just to bother her and see what she’s doing) and is always up for a random Target and Home Goods run at 7:00 on a Tuesday night. She loves her children and grandchildren unconditionally and always has a little something for everyone when we see her. –Allison Lewis Davis, 35, daughter of Sharon Williams Lewis
That she is the perfect example of what it means to be a great mom, wife, daughter, sister and community leader. –Jane Schaefer, 22, daughter of Emily Schaefer
The love and support she shows us every day.
–William Schaefer, 24, son of Emily Schaefer
Her flossing skills! –Katie Bullard, 26, daughter of Emily Schaefer
Her generosity. She is always helping others no matter the circumstance and always finds new ways to support our community. –Covey Holmes, 20, daughter of Mary Holmes
That you can always count on her! You can count on her support. Count on her love. Count on her cooking. Count on her advice. Count on her all around! –Jessica Kouba, 36, daughter of Marsha Kouba
How much she gives to her family and the community. –Coker Holmes, 28, son of Mary Holmes
No matter my struggle, she is always there to catch me, and I love her for it. – Laura Warnock, 46, daughter of Linda Warnock
Her drawings on my lunchbox. –Yianni Frangakis, 4, son of Tina Frangakis
Her hugs and kisses. –Thomas Frangakis, 6, son of Tina Frangakis
That she cooks sausage. –Charlie Klenzak, 3, son of Jessica Kouba
Her necklaces! –Ella Klenzak, 5, daughter of Jessica Kouba
Her huge heart. The way she cares for, loves, and supports her family, friends and community speaks volumes to her character and it’s just one of the many qualities I love and admire about her. –Anne Lea, 36, daughter of Edwina Kyle
That she buys me shoes and milk and gives me hugs and water. –Jackson Graves, 4, son of Jenna Graves Jane Buryk, Anna Lambert &
Emerson Lambert
That she always goes above and beyond for her friends and family. You might find her in the kitchen baking her famous cheese bread for someone who needs something warm and uplifting, or she’s dropping a card on your doorstep
just to say she’s thinking of you.
–Anna Lambert, 34,
daughter of Jane Buryk
The constant caring and compassion she exhibits on a daily basis. She always puts the needs of others before herself, and I’ve always admired that. – Sam Hatch, 20, son of Eileen Hatch
Her love and faith in Christ and her ability to share it with the ones she loves. –Virginia Davis, 42, daughter of Donna Frazelle
Her ability to make someone feel like the only person in the room. –Daniel Runkle, 40, son of Marie Runkle
How caring and giving she is. She’s very selfless and loves strong. I admire her every day and she is an excellent role model. –Leighton Hatch, 23, son of Eileen Hatch
Her selfless love, devotion and dedication to her friends and family. –Samantha Alexander, 38, daughter of Kim Love
The extra mile she takes to make me feel special, like the elaborately decorated scrapbook she surprised me with at my college graduation that contained every notable piece of memorabilia from kindergarten to college that I never knew she’d kept or cherished over the years. –Allison Guenther, 36, daughter of Dayle Fowler
That she cuddles with me. –Quinn Yanagi, 6, daughter of Megan Yanagi
When she lets me have a sleepover at Nana’s! And when she puts me to bed with stories, takes me to the beach, and snuggles with me. –Georgia Guenther, 5, daughter of Allison Guenther
That she loves me. –Savannah Berry, 6, daughter of Summer Berry
The best thing about my mother is hard to decide. She died on January 10, 2021 at age 101. She lived a remarkable life. Her kindness and friendliness were evident to all. She always thought of others, placing their needs above her own. Her devotion to her family was unwavering. Her faith was very important to her, and she lived every day as a Christian witness. My mother was love personified. I miss her every day, but I know I will see her again! I know this is much longer than one sentence, but 101 years is hard to tell about in a short span. –Linda Warren, 72, daughter of Edna Riddle Hall
Happy Mother’s Day to each and every one of you. I hope that you feel the love and are proud of all of the best things that you do.
Claire Mullen can be reached at clairejlmullen@gmail.com.

The unconditional and selfless things she
does for the people and animals she loves.
Everything my mom does is for the greater
good and betterment of others. A good
mom will let you fall and learn from your
own mistakes while still having the heart to
catch you if you fall. I think my mom fits that
description pretty well and that’s why
I think that she is the best.
–Angel Barraza, 20, son of Rosa Gregory
That she is lovable and her beautiful blue eyes. –Clara Shankar, 4,
daughter of Suzanne Shankar