On Children’s Day, a mother gives thanks

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 10, 2000

Features Editor

Children’s Day is a relatively new holiday and it’s not one that is widely recognized or widely observed.

But, Alvia Miles Boykin feels so blessed to have a son like Terry that she is celebrating the day with joy, pride and a thankful heart.

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"People take great pride on special days – Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and now Grandparents’ Day, but did you ever stop to think how special and precious children are?" Boykin asked. "We overlook Children’s Day in some places, but my son is so special to me and now he has a child that holds a special place in my heart, too.

I thank God for Terry."

Boykin said her son had to grow up in a hurry.

"His dad and I separated when Terry was 2 and I used to jokingly

tell him that he was the man of the house now," she said. "God gave him to me and I promised God that I would raise Terry the right way. I promised God I wouldn’t spoil him and I didn’t.

An only child has to be raised right, too."

Boykin and her son shared a special relationship, then and now.

Children grow up almost overnight and, before Boykin knew it, her son was ready for school.

"I remember that first day of school," she said. "I think it was harder on me than it was on Terry."

Terry Miles might have grown up faster than most boys. He had a lot of responsibility placed on him at an early age, but he handled it like a trooper.

"My mother died when Terry was 12 and he pitched right in and helped me with my brother," Boykin said.

"Together we took care of him for seven years. When Terry was 14, I started working at Wal-Mart and he took care of my brother from 3:30 in the afternoon until 10 at night. When he was 15, I started working more hours and he kept caring for my brother."

The mother and son shared housekeeping duties and Terry learned to clean, cook and do every other household chore imaginable. He didn’t seem to mind doing chores that other boys would have resisted.

"I always told Terry that he was an individual with his own ideas and thoughts," Boykin said. "I told him that he could always come to me – tell me anything and talk to me and share ideas and I would listen. I also told him just because I was the parent that didn’t mean that I knew it all or that I was always right. And, I made sure he understood that if his idea was not a good one that he shouldn’t be hurt if we did otherwise."

Terry showed great maturity as a young man going off to college. He talked a lot about what he wanted to do for his mother.

"He was acting like he was the parent," Boykin said. "He was always worrying about me."

Boykin took a part-time job after she got off at Wal-Mart. She ate on her break so all she had

to do when she got home was shower, pray and go to bed.

"I’m not a big eater,

but I do keep food in the house –

canned food in the pantry and frozen foods in the freezer in the upper part of the refrigerator. One night Terry came home unexpectedly and looked in the bottom of the refrigerator. All he saw was an onion. He thought his mama was without food so he went out and bought groceries I didn’t need. But, I didn’t tell him that because I was so grateful he was looking after me."

Boykin reimbursed her son for the groceries he bought, but she never told him the reimbursement was money she had been putting aside for him.

"Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful to have Terry," Boykin said. "We didn’t have much, but we had each other and we had plenty of love. We never end a conversation without saying, ‘I love you’ and ‘I love you, too.’"

When people speak of broken homes, Boykin takes offense to it.

"There was nothing broken about our home," she said. "There was a broken relationship with Terry’s father, but Terry didn’t come from a broken home. I had quite a few struggles, but only God knows about them. I didn’t want to worry Terry with my struggles. He thought everything was fine. He thought his mama had it all together, but I didn’t. I was leaning and depending on God and putting all my trust in Him."

All that while, Terry looked at his mother as a tower of strength.

"I’m not bragging or boasting," Boykin said. "I’m just proud to have a child that has brought me so much joy. Today, I want to pay tribute to him on Children’s Day because he has always been there for me. I’m sure he never knew, but there were times when I wanted to give up, but I didn’t because I had a child I loved and who loved me. He gave me the desire and the will to go on. Every day I thank God for my son Terry, but especially today on his special day."