As people across the country prepare to honor their mothers Sunday, the Tribune asked people in the Cherokee County community their favorite memories of their mothers, what motherhood has meant to them and any advice for new moms.

JoEllen Wilson, Canton City Council

Canton City Councilwoman JoEllen Wilson said one of her most iconic memories involves her mother Sally Jo Bell’s talent as a seamstress.

“I fondly remember showing her a magazine picture I loved and wanted for my Easter dress,” Wilson said. “She picked out a similar material and pattern, and in a few days — voila! My Easter dress appeared.”

As a mother herself, Wilson said one of her favorite things about being a mother is how her twin sons have been arguably her greatest treasure in life and being able to re-live her own childhood through them.

“It has been such a blessing watching them grow into the fine young men they are today. My grandchildren now provide that same blessing of growing up with them,” Wilson said.

Donnie Henriques, Woodstock mayor

Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques’ favorite memory of his mother Madeline was the treat she would give him every year on his birthday.

“My best and favorite memory of my mom was when I was little and she used to make a special cake for my birthday. It was called national velvet. It was a regular chocolate cake, but the layers were sliced thin, and then the icing had whip cream mixed in, so it was very creamy and there was a lot of icing between the layers. Only got it once a year on my birthday, but I sure did like it,” Henriques said.

Kyla Cromer, school board chair

Cherokee County School Board Chairwoman Kyla Cromer said her Mother's Day celebrations began last week, when she traveled to Ohio to visit her mother for the first time in more than a year. Cromer added that Sunday's celebration plans include her family making her French toast and bacon for breakfast, followed by spending some time gardening and enjoying their pool.

For new mothers and those about to be mothers, Cromer had some sage advice to offer.

"My advice to new moms is to not sweat the small stuff. As new moms, we sometimes get wrapped up in doing everything perfect or right," she said. "My second piece of advice is to read, read, read to (your) child! When they’re infants, read aloud whatever you’re reading. They won’t understand it, but will get to hear your voice, tone and inflection."

Harry and Rebecca Johnston

Cherokee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Harry Johnston said watching his mother Virginia following his parents’ divorce was a profound learning experience for him.

“My mother was deeply affected by her mid-life divorce from my father,” Johnston said. “She had to pick herself up and re-invent a new and independent life. And she did. She went back to school, became a librarian and teacher, and established herself as the person she wanted to be. Her example taught me that we can and must deal with tough changes that life sometimes throws at us. She showed me how a big setback can ultimately be an opportunity.”

Rebecca Johnston, Cherokee County's first lady, encouraged new mothers to savor every moment of the experience.

"Being a mother is one of the best experiences of your life," Johnston said. "One of the most important jobs you'll ever have is shaping that young life."

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