Published: 2010 by Penguin Press HC
Length: 208 pages
Source: TLC Book Tours/Publisher
Personal Enjoyment Factor: 4/5
Annette Zumba talking to her sister Jenevieve: I remember Mother's Day: We were very young, and she took us to a park...She asked us to please call her Mrs. Zumba on Mother's Day. So we would be swinging in the swings and say, "Mrs. Zumba, can you push me?" And a person came by and said, "Oh my, it's Mother's Day. Are you doing this for a friend of yours, taking care of the kids?" And she goes, "No, no, these are my children." I remember the woman was just looking at her. With a deadpan look, Mom said to her, "Well, what do your children call you?" Joann and I, because we were the oldest, we got it, and we knew that Mom was just tired of seven kids saying "Mom!" 140 times apiece over the course of eighteen hours: she had had enough. For one day, she just wanted to be called by something else."
David Isay's StoryCorps Project is such a simple but wonderful concept-- family members or friends sit down with one another and talk for 40 minutes about memories that are meaningful to them. The recording is then preserved at the American Folklife Center at the library of Congress for future generations to experience. I had heard these conversations on NPR but never really knew the story behind them. There's just something so powerful about listening to two people talk about something dear to their hearts.
This collection focuses on moms from all walks of life in very diverse situations. It's a sort of melting pot of motherhood. Mothers with disabled children, mothers who had to give their children up for adoption, single mothers, working mothers, adoptive mothers. Some accounts were siblings simply remembering their mothers who have passed on, and the life lessons that were taught. They all share the common thread of the love between a mother and her child.
This would be a great Mother's Day gift for a mom who would appreciate hearing several experiences of non-traditional motherhood, completely throwing that June Cleaver image out the window. This is real stuff. As a fairly traditional mom myself, (but so not like June!)I still felt a connection with these stories of mothers just trying to make it day by day through life's obstacles, and loving their kids because really, they just can't help it! Even if you are getting tired of being called "Mom" a hundred times a day.