Mother of the Year an inspiration to family, friends

Published 8:23 pm Friday, May 12, 2017

In honor of all moms everywhere, each Mother’s Day the Washington Daily News asks its readers to share their stories of why their moms are so very special. From those submissions, the Daily News selects a Mother of the Year, and in previous years, a staff member has written an article about that special mom. However, sometimes the words of the person nominating their favorite mom say it much better.

Such is the case with this year’s Mother of the Year, Nancy Wallace. The following was written by her sister, Carla Mitchell:

I’m not sure what qualifies a “Mother of the Year” because there are countless names I would submit for such a title, so I narrowed my list down to “my hero,” Nancy Alligood Wallace.

2016 tipped the scales.

My Mom and Dad make sure my sister and I balance everything in our lives with faith. We serve a living God; present and purposeful, even when His will seems to lack elements of fairness and equality. As a human, I struggle with why there isn’t a better balance between tragedy and triumph. The reality is God’s plan is superior, and some people are built to endure more than others. Life isn’t fair, and that’s OK. Through my sister, Nancy, and my niece, Callie, I have the privilege of seeing God more vividly in eight quick years than some see Him hazily in a lifetime.

Callie is a blue-eyed, blonde-haired firecracker. She is sassy, stubborn and (often) as sweet as Bojangles tea! Our family knew eight years ago that Nancy and Callie’s would be a journey of high mountains and steep valleys. When we got the diagnosis of spina bifida, a couple doctors were naive to the powers of God and a mother like Nancy. They gave us heavy hearts and little “balance” of hope. The right mother defies science and odds and opinions. The right mother takes a little girl like Callie and instills in her self-confidence to the very core; the kind of confirmation that overcomes physical limitations and changes the world. If you’ve seen Callie around town — brace yourself! With braces on her legs and a designer 4-wheeler (her walker), she will blaze by you. Her laugh is infectious, and her no-pity attitude brings my day-to-day complacency to a screeching halt. Nancy and Callie offer perspective to transient trials we all face, for their challenges are chronic. The good news: Nancy Wallace makes hard look easy!

Like many, she has been through countless valleys over the 10 years. Before the age of 40, Nancy had mourned the loss of both of her in-laws, nursed her “healthy” 12-year-old son through a surgically fixable heart condition, saw her husband hospitalized twice for serious infections, two shunt surgeries for Callie, and finally, her summer storm of 2016.

SURPRISED: Friday, Nancy Wallace was surprised by family members outside of Oasis Salon and Spa, where she does manicures. Son David Lawrence hands Wallace flowers from the Washington Daily News, an acknowledgement of her Mother of the Year status.

I honestly don’t know how she does it. It baffles me every time I spend a “day in the life.” Her patience is power. She is not easily rattled, but is constantly calm and caring. All mothers love their children. They are our greatest glory. What fascinates me is how Nancy’s children love her back. They never take her for granted; they see with their whole hearts how hard she works to provide for and protect them.

The summer of 2016, Nancy lived by Callie’s bedside in Chapel Hill as she went through a milestone surgery. Her lifetime condition will lend itself to many hospitals stays, doctors’ appointments and consistent diagnostic testing. That’s a given. This August “tipped the scales,” when Nancy started nursing school the very week Callie was readmitted at University of North Carolina for a serious infection. She woke up at 4 a.m., calmed Callie’s “I don’t want you to leave Mommy” tears and drove two hours to Beaufort Community College. Nursing school alone is a heavy load, yet for Nancy, it was much lighter than what was waiting for her at the end of class. She drove back to Chapel Hill every night because Callie was counting the hours until her return. Not once did Nancy lose her faith, her cool or her “balance” to her son, David Lawrence. The entire community rallied to help her any way they could — it is love Nancy (and all of her family) still feel to our very core.

Nancy is a humble servant. She is going to freak out when she finds out I wrote this letter! She has a heart for Jesus and never says no to her church or His calling to do for others. Even in the middle of her own personal storms, she’ll downplay her details because she would rather listen than talk. She is a “phone-a-friend” to so many who love her. I stay inspired that she still prioritizes our crazy calls seeking her wisdom. She is her mother’s daughter — selfless sacrifice comes naturally to both of them. It’s just how they are wired.

I have wanted to nominate Nancy for the Washington Daily News’ Mother of the Year for years, but, like everyone, I got distracted. This year, I couldn’t put off the inevitable because on her journey, I felt the presence of God covering us with confidence, carrying Nancy when she was past the point of exhaustion. God is using this mother/daughter duo to witness unconditional everything to a community already so rich in love and legacy.

I asked Nancy once, “If you had one wish, would you make Callie our version of normal?”

With a gentle grin, her quick response was, “No, Callie is God’s will, and I can’t wait to see what He does with her.”