1. She wakes you up every morning with a song.

Singing “rise and shine and give God the glory, glory!” or Revelli at the top of her lungs to get you out of bed is single-handedly the most effective and annoying alarm clock you’ve ever had. But knowing there’s a steaming bowl of buttered grits and a plate of biscuits soaking in peppered gravy waiting for you makes the excessive singing just that much more tolerable.

2. And on Sunday mornings she plays hymns on the piano.

What better time to practice “I’ll Fly Away” for Sunday service than at 8am on your antique sterling spinet piano that’s tuned a half step too low?

3. No matter how hungover you were, you went to church.

“If you can go out on Saturday night, you can go to church on Sunday morning.”

4. It’s always “yes, ma’am,” “no, ma’am” when she’s around.

And if you thought she’d quit correcting you once you were an adult, you were sadly mistaken.

5. Her house is decorated in quotes.

If you walk into someone’s house and there’s a plaque that reads “GOD BLESS THIS HOME” hanging over the kitchen door or “PRAY HARD…WORK HARD…TRUST GOD” over the fireplace, you just might have found yourself in the natural habitat of a southern mother.

6. She’s made more than enough lifelong friends in line at the grocery store.

“Could you believe it? There we are, in line waiting to buy some streak o’ lean for Sunday’s revival service, and before you know it, my buggy bumps into her’s and we get to talkin’ and, you won’t believe this, but we realize that her great grandmother was my Uncle Hershel’s ex-wife’s cousin! Anyway, she’s coming over for supper tomorrow night so don’t you dare make any plans.”

7. Standing up straight around her is a necessity.

And she’ll physically correct you in public if your shoulders slouch even in the slightest.

8. She reacts to every tragedy with a casserole.

Death in the family, divorce, a broken thumb — it’s nothing a chicken casserole can’t fix.

9. She still makes you write thank you notes.

No matter if it’s $100 or $5 in your birthday card, you better not spend it until that thank you note is in the mail. And no, a phone call will not suffice.

10. “Bless your heart” is one of her finest insults.

11. Thanksgivings are always a magic show.

One second, the counters are bare. The next, they’re slammed full of deviled eggs, oven roasted turkey, cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, hash brown casserole, brown sugar glazed carrots, cranberry sauce, fruit salad, vegetable salad, cheese toast, pecan pie, and pitchers of sweet, iced tea.

And for her next trick, she’ll make you set the table.

12. On more than one occasion, she’s threatened to “smack you upside the head.”

Usually for talking during church.

13. She can’t say no to animals.

So, as a kid, when you brought home a plethora of stray pets and her response was “You’re crazy if you think we’re keepin’ that critter,” you knew it was only a matter of time before you were picking out names.

14. She’s not sure what being a “vegetarian” means.

“The green bean casserole is made with chicken stock and has bacon in it, but it’s a veggie dish so have at it!”

15. She’s always fixin’ something.

Fixin’ cornbread, fixin’ to fix her hair, fixin’ to go to choir practice, fixin’ to turn this car around and give you a whoopin’.

16. She threatened to send you to manner school as a kid.

But only if you didn’t stop smackin’ your mouth during supper.

17. “You just wait ’til we get home” is the last thing you want to hear from her.

Because nothing good could be waiting for you after those words are said.

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18. “Let me tell you somethin’” is a close second.

This is usually followed by a passionate speech of what you did wrong, how she’s always right, what you can do to fix the situation, and how she never dared to back talk her mama like that.

19. She really doesn’t give a damn what you think.

She doesn’t care if Mrs. Parker lets her kids stay out past midnight or if Mrs. Johnson lets her children watch R-rated movies — it’s her house, her rules, and you’re expected to follow each and every one of them with a grateful attitude.

20. All of her closest friends are your aunts and uncles.

And she won’t understand your confusion when you realize in your early teens that Aunt Sue was never really your aunt in the first place.

21. And all of your friends are her adopted children.

As soon as they step foot on her porch, they’re invited for supper and given a big glass of sweet tea, forever branding them one of her’s.

22. But you’re her favorite.

And she loves you a bushel and peck.