As the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, Men are what their mothers made them.
The same more likely applies to women, who carry on the tradition of teaching what they learned from their mothers to their own children, keeping that wisdom alive from generation to generation.
The Telegraph spoke with a few Middle Georgia moms who were able to celebrate Mothers Day as grandmothers, daughters, grandmothers, and of course, mothers themselves.
Celebrating the holiday
As Jovie Grays, 26, tries to keep track of her 2-year-old son Eric while holding a baby carrier for 6-month-old Zayden, its hard for her to come up with one specific nugget of wisdom she learned from her mom, Vonda Mullis.
All of her advice is good, Grays said. I cant pick one thing. Thats a wise woman over there.
Grays and her family came into Macon Sunday from Fort Stewart to celebrate the holiday with Mullis, who lives in Gray, and Mullis mom Jeanette West, 72, of Cochran. Grays credited both women in helping to raise her.
I told (Grays), Dont sweat it. Always be behind (your children), support them in whatever they do, Mullis said. If you can get through the teenage years without strangling them, its going to be OK.
To show how all three women are on the same wavelength, as they waited for West to exit the restaurant, Mullis said the most important thing she learned from her mother was how to dress.
She always looks so well put-together, Mullis said of her mother.
Moments later, when West exited the restaurant, her response to the most important thing she taught her daughter was, I tried to teach her out to dress, eliciting laughter from all three women.
When you work, you have to learn how to dress right, West said.
Grays said being a relatively new mom is still so much a learning experience, especially with a son in the terrible twos.
You cant get mad every time they get into something, she said. (Eric) does a lot of stuff I didnt know a 2-year-old could do.
Taking notes for the future
While Elizabeth Kistler, 29, doesnt have children of her own yet, she said she thinks she has already learned quite a bit being an only child.
Kistler and her husband, Kurt, came down to Macon from Atlanta to celebrate the holiday with her parents, Gayle and Bill Durham of Milledgeville.
As an only child, its very important to celebrate Mothers Day, she said, adding, even though we dont live in the same city anymore, and even though its raining and damp.
Kistler presented Durham a bowl of flowers for the holiday as they prepared to leave.
She told me not to judge people, Kistler said. She could be a pretty hard mother sometimes, but its paid off.
Durham, 64, said that as a kindergarten teacher, she always stressed hard work.
I always told her to do her homework ... and to always do her best, Durham said.
When Kistler does have children of her own, there are a couple of traditions she hopes to pass along.
I want to cook with them, for sure, she said. And well go to church, for sure.
Five generations at once
When five generations can share in a Mothers Day meal, its safe to say that the holiday is an important one.
Eva Simonton, 48, of Macon, waited outside the restaurant for her own mother, Elaine, 67, to arrive while her grandmother, Cur-tis Mason, 86, and her own daughter, Kristen Simonton, 23, took Evas grandkids inside to get a table on a busy Sunday.
It means a lot to have four generations of women in a family still living, Eva said.
Simonton said the most important value she learned from her mother and grandmother that she told Kristen is to maintain an academic focus.
They taught me the value of a good education, and I passed on the value of a good education (to Kristen), Eva said. Shes got her bachelors and an MBA.
Ultimately, Simonton said, it makes for an even greater lesson for each generation of the family.
Strong women make their own way, she said.
Jennifer Grogan, 28, said her own mother, Frances Harrison, sacrificed a lot to stay at home to raise her, her brother and her sister when she was growing up.
She sacrificed a lot of her whole life to be a stay-at-home mom, Grogan said. Your own desires have to come second to your child.
Grogan is now doing the same for her own children. Though she worked as a nurse when her first son, Luke, was born nine years ago, she decided to become a full-time mom when her son, Jace, 1, was born.
Its different when you stay at home, she said. Its harder. (When you work,) its easier to get out and have adult time. You have to do that self-sacrifice if its best for your kids.
At lunch Sunday, Grogan said it was Jace who decided when it was time to leave.
When theyre ready to go, its time to go, she said with a laugh. You cant compromise.
She said her mother still helps her regularly raise her own sons.
Shes a real good example to me, Grogan said. She helps me a lot, too. Thank God for her.
And while being a mom often means being at the whim of her children, its an experience she wouldnt trade for anything.
I just love being a mother, she said. Its one of the most rewarding jobs you can do. Like nursing, its a caretaking job. Its very rewarding. I love it.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.