I've always wanted to do a Mother's Day book, and I'm starting on one now with a goal of 2014, and you can be in it. The planned title is "More Than Mortal," and I'm collecting stories about ordinary women who rise to greatness in important moments. Tell me your story, or share a great mothering moment about your own mother.
I'm looking for stories about real, everyday women who, when in the crucible of life, found a way to do something extraordinary.
Let me share a story of my own mother to give you an example.
I grew up in a family on a very tight budget. My father's job took him out of the country for months at a time leaving Mom, a very shy woman, in charge of managing all life's problems alone and with very limited resources.
I had been invited to my first semi-formal dance, an autumn high school homecoming gala, but I had nothing to wear and I knew there were no funds to buy a new dress. My poor mother had been limping around with a gaping hole in her only flat shoes, worn through by the brake pedal on the school bus she drove to supplement the family income. She was carefully scrimping a dollar here and there to buy shoes so she could work, so there would surely be no funds for the extravagance of a formal.
And then a miracle occurred. Mom told me she had made a little extra money driving for a field trip, and she wanted to use it to buy me a dress for the dance. The precious nest egg was fourteen dollars, and the only dress in the store in my size and price range was a yellow, cotton, summer dress on the clearance rack. Wrong season, wrong color, but we took it home with plans to make it work.
The dance came and was gone in an instant, but the memory that followed has been an abiding testimony to me of a mother's love. A few nights after the dance I awoke and found the kitchen lights on. There in the center of the floor, on her hands and knees, was my mother, her holey shoe placed over a section of corrugated cardboard as she traced an insert for her shoe. She carefully cut the shape out and trimmed it until it fit inside, and then, using a black marker, she painted the cardboard to match the rest of the sole.
She never knew I was standing there as the cost of her service and sacrifice was revealed, but I watched her more carefully after that night, seeing countless moments when a serving of something she loved passed to a child because she suddenly wasn't hungry. I've remembered these selfless moments, and I've tried to let them shape my own mothering. I saw greatness that night on the kitchen floor.
Greatness occurs in quiet moments, in moments of sacrifice, love, forgiveness, kindness, humor, and creativity. You've probably been the recipient of some, and you've probably been the subject of more than a few. So please, share your experiences. I'll select a few dozen for inclusion in the book, but every person who submits a story will be entered in a drawing for a prize package of books and gifts.
Please keep submissions to two double-spaced pages where possible. Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.