What is Bud's mother like?
Bud's mother is a hard worker. Although Bud never says that specifically, it is definitely indicated in the story. She has to be. She's a single mother during the Depression. She has to work hard just to survive and ensure Bud's wellbeing. Bud doesn't recognize it as hard work, though. He is too young, but he does describe her actions.
"Everything moved very, very fast when Momma was near, she was like a tornado, never resting, always looking around us, never standing still."
Momma was always doing something for or with Bud: cleaning his room, folding his clothes, reading him a bedtime story, etc.
It's also clear that Momma loves Bud very much. She would leave notes for him in the morning, which is caring in the first place. Those notes would also include those three special words (I love you). Bud remembers that, specifically, so it definitely made an impact.
Bud's mother is also adamant that Bud grow up knowing about himself and the world around him. Bud knew something was truly important because it was about the only time Momma slowed down.
"The only time stuff didn't blow around when she was near was when she'd squeeze my arms and tell me things over and over and over and over."
Her technique worked, because Bud is able to remember a lot of her rules and teachings. Chapter 5 has that great section on the four things that Momma really stressed.
Momma isn't all work and rules though. She has a softer more poetic side to her as well. That's clear by thinking about what she named Bud. She named him Bud, not Buddy. She's says that a Bud is a flower to be. It's waiting to open up and show the world its beauty and purpose. Momma tells Bud that's what he is.
She'd tell me, "Especially don't you ever let anyone call you Buddy, I may have some problems but being stupid isn't one of them, I would've added that dy onto the end of your name if I intended for it to be there. I knew what I was doing, Buddy is a dog's name or a name that someone's going to use on you if they're being false-friendly. Your name is Bud, period."
I'd say, "OK, Momma."
And she'd say, every single time, "And do you know what a bud is?"
I always answered, "Yes, Momma" but it was like she didn't hear me, she'd tell me anyway. "A bud is a flower-to-be. A flower-in-waiting. Waiting for just the right warmth and care to open up. It's a little fist of love waiting to unfold and be seen by the world. And that's you."