In April, Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs released a song entitled “The Letter X.” The single, which was in support of the book Rad American Women A-Z listed off name after name of famous women who had made a difference in alphabetical order. Until Pennypacker Riggs got to the letter X, which she sings is for the important women whose stories will never be told because it’s unlikely we’ll ever learn them. The song is powerful and the message it conveys — that we should celebrate all women who have made a difference — is exceedingly important.
Hit play and read on:
This Mother’s Day, we’re sure to hear stories of important moms across our culture — from Jackie Kennedy to Angelina Jolie — but what about the other moms out there? What about the ones who don’t have the spotlight shone on them and still made extraordinary sacrifices for their children? To help you celebrate this Mother’s Day we’ve put together a collection of stories, running the gamut from heartbreaking to hilarious, from people who wrote in to tell us about their “ordinary” moms who are anything but.
Huma writes that her mother is her “warrior angel” for the lessons she’s taught her in selflessness and courage:
My mom immigrated from Pakistan as a newlywed. She was a biology teacher there. They were so poor initially, they didn’t even own a clock and would have to ask their neighbors for the time. After giving birth to my younger brother, my mom decided to start working — had she better resources, perhaps she would have gone to nursing school but she didn’t and worked at Campbell soup, the night shift as a case packer (basically, laborer), for 30 years. She would sleep during the day, and wake up for a few hours in the afternoon to pick me up from school, make our dinner, help with homework, etc and then sleep for a few more hours before heading out to work at nighttime. She retired a year or so ago and now is the full time caretaker of my father — he’s a post stroke patient, on dialysis, with one leg amputated. She feeds him, cleans him, clothes him, and also helps babysit my nephews and takes care of a frequently incontinent elderly cat. She does all of this while waiting on surgery for her second knee replacement and a shoulder replacement. Although from a deeply conservative culture, my mother embraced my white sister-in-law with open arms and heart. She’s my warrior angel.
Marthine writes that her mom has saved her from metaphorical drowning during the first year of her son’s life:
I just had my first child, and it’s week 5. My mom has stayed with us for multiple nights and helped change diapers, do middle of the night soothing sessions, and been a 3rd parent basically since my son’s been born. She’s also committed being his caretaker 3 days a week for the first year of his life, saving us from the insanity of Bay Area daycare prices and waitlists. Most people seem to drown when their babies are born, but I feel like we’re thriving because of my mom’s support.
Mike Kulich (most famous for giving Ted Cruz’s doppelganger an adult film deal), wrote in with a powerful story of his own:
I had a bad DUI in 2011 as a result of drugs. Everyone had given up on me except my mom. She flew from Florida to California. I was in The LA County jail and they said I had a visitor.
I had no idea who it could be, and it was my mom and it was her birthday.
She stuck by me through my trial and helped me get into a program. I’ve been sober ever since.