17 Short, Sweet Stories About Moms (That Will Make You Want to Call Yours)
In 100 words or less, readers share their poignant tales of the bond between mother and child. Have a story of your own? Tell us here for the chance to be published in Reader's Digest.
Mother of rock
For my brother, my sister, and me, Guitar Hero was a competition of who could score the most points on the hardest level. Mom, on the other hand, would play the ten-minute “Freebird” on the easiest level while we kids prepared for our next showdown. When Mom restarted the song after missing a note, we all shouted our disapproval. “Rock stars do what they want,” she said, and we laughed because we agreed: Mom was a rock star. That’s why, later, her funeral felt more like the last stop on a farewell tour, with “Freebird” as the perfect send-off. —Submitted by Paul Anderson, Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Find out the 13 Mother’s Day songs that will make mom cry.
My favorite barista
One morning, I jokingly told my husband he dropped the ball because he didn’t make me coffee and I was having trouble getting motivated to start the day. My five-year-old son overheard me and asked me to explain what “dropped the ball” meant. A few minutes later, he came into our bedroom holding an overflowing coffee mug with a dishcloth underneath it to catch the drips. He said to my husband, “You dropped the ball, but I picked the ball up,” and he handed me the worst tasting, most watered down, but sweetest cup of coffee ever. —Submitted by Jennifer Stockberger, Mount Vernon, Ohio. These 18 mom-invented products are pure genius.
The greatest adventure
When doctors told us we would never have children, we decided to travel and seek adventure around the world. Shows at the Sydney Opera House. Tables and buffets in Las Vegas. Majestic fjords in Bergen. Tranquil beaches in Honolulu. Abandoned castles and old churches in the Scottish Isles. Endless pools in the Bahamas. Races at Daytona. We were about to book a trip to the Blue Lagoon when we learned I was pregnant. Now, with our toddler, we travel very little. Parenting, it turns out, is the greatest adventure of all. —Submitted by Katherine Colandrea, Winter Garden, Florida. Check out the 10 trips moms and daughters should take together.
The reason why
I was rushed to the emergency room with complications from my high-risk pregnancy. After weeks of mandated bed rest in the hospital, I found myself suffering from an unfamiliar sadness. One day, my nurse brought a surprise to my room—a newborn named James.
James’ mom (who also experienced a high-risk pregnancy) sent her precious, healthy son for me to hold, along with an encouraging message: “This is the reason you are here in the hospital.” Three decades later, my heart is still full of gratitude for Baby James and his mom. And, I am thankful for my own healthy son, Hunter. —Submitted by Lisa Stevens, The Woodlands, Texas. Read 21 signs you’re the mom of boys.
No boys allowed!
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Upon attempting to prepare my 7-year-old daughter for a new baby in a few months, she repeatedly stated, “No boys in our house!”
After several months the BIG day arrived. My daughter came into the hospital room and I told her the baby was a boy and asked her, “what are we gonna do?” She placed both her hands on her hips and without missing a beat said, “well I guess we’ll have to love the little thing!” —Submitted by Karen Dugger, West Plains, Missouri. Here are hilarious one-liners from America’s favorite movie moms.
We lived in the Bronx, all seven of us kids and my single mom. It was mid-January and a huge snowstorm hit. The snow was so thick, the highways came to a complete stop. We lived a half of a block from the highway. The darkness of night was approaching. There were several cars stuck with people and their families and or pets inside.
Mom stood up and said to my brother “I will open my house to the stranded people on the highway.” She said “please go to them and invite them to our house.” We had thirteen families come. Our living room was covered in sleeping bags, blankets and pillows. In the morning, we had three pots of coffee, one huge pot of hot chocolate, bacon, eggs and warm French bread. Everyone showed such gratitude. Mom’s act of kindness and humanity was so profound to me. She showed us all the selflessness of helping others. —Submitted by Diana Allen Castaic, California. Try not to drool over some of Mom’s all-time best recipes.
Two simple words
On the first day of first grade, I stood by the front door with butterflies in my stomach. I voiced my biggest concern to my mother: “How will I make friends?” Crouching in front of me, she handed me advice I carry with me to this day: “Be Switzerland.” Be friends with everyone. Treat everyone equally and fairly. For all of my 20 years, I have lived by these words. Soon I will graduate and become a part of the real world. And on that first day, nervously facing new responsibilities, I know I will whisper two words to myself: “Be Switzerland.” —Submitted by Abigail Wortman, West Long Branch, New Jersey. Don’t miss the 16 best pieces of advice we got from Mom.
My little St. Nick
My six-year-old son, Nicholas, sat in the grocery cart as I perused the canned vegetables. “How about this one, Mommy?” he asked, and handed me a can of asparagus. “I love asparagus!” I told him. “Asparagus is my favorite vegetable, but it’s just too expensive.” I put the can back on the shelf. Three months later, I opened a crudely wrapped present from under the Christmas tree. It was a can of asparagus. Nicholas beamed in delight as he explained how he had saved his pennies to buy me the best Christmas gift I’d ever received. —Submitted by Brenda Bokor Wismer, Pinedale, Wyoming. Spoil mom with any of these 76 perfect Mother’s Day gifts.
The need never goes away
“Mommy, you are a fairy,” I said. My mother laughed like tinkling bells. “I am serious, Mother. You know everything.” “My child, I try to answer as best as I can. When you grow older, you will not need me,” she said. “No, Mom, I will always need you. Nothing can change that,” I said. Her words echo in my heart as I look at the blue sky: “Dear daughter, nothing remains the same except the vast blue sky.” It has been ten years since I lost my fairy. Mom, you were wrong about one thing: I still need you. —Submitted by Saman Rahman, Peshawar, Pakistan. Check out our list of superhuman things only moms can do.
A stand-up woman
My mom had a great sense of humor and a knack for making everything fun. One thing that resonated with me, even as a small child, was how much she seemed to enjoy her own company and found ways to entertain herself. As a kid, I remember her giggling while paying bills. What was so funny about bill paying? She would put humorous notes in the reference section of the check: For the electric bill, she might put “You light up my life,” and for the mortgage she’d write “Four shingles closer to owning it all.” —Submitted by Robin Hynes, Slingerland, New York. This is the one resume mistake moms should never, ever make.
The hardest choice
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Thirty-five years ago, when my mom was 22, she became a widow and a mother within the same month. The life she had imagined was stolen in a heartbeat. She tried to move on, but was lost. She gave me to my father’s family to be raised in the United States. Some call her weak; others call her selfish. I could be mad or bitter. Instead, I’m grateful for the life I have and to have a mother who sacrificed our relationship to give me a chance at a better life. She is courageous. She is my mother. —Submitted by Andrea Cortinas, El Paso, Texas. Learn how to shut down 5 different types of mom-shaming.
Just one more question
“I was chosen to be your mama,” I tell my four-year-old daughter as my younger boys pull at my clothes. She looks at me tearfully and asks, “Why couldn’t I grow in your tummy like my brothers?” “Well,” I tell her, choking back my own tears, “The doctor said I couldn’t grow a baby in my tummy, so your daddy and I decided to adopt a baby. That baby was you.” I hold my breath and wait for a more difficult question. “Can I have some ice cream?” she asks. “Yes!” I say, thankful for her innocence. —Submitted by Katina Brown, West Monroe, Louisiana. Ever wonder why you rarely see moms in Disney movies?
Memories in verse
The day I was dreading had arrived—it was inevitable. I had seen it coming but had chosen to ignore it for as long as possible. My very capable, intelligent mom had started forgetting to pay her bills, and it was time to take over her finances. As I looked through her wallet, I made a remarkable discovery. Tucked away in a tiny compartment were four Mother’s Day poems I’d written for her in the 1960s. She had saved and cherished those simple gifts for 50 years. What a happy surprise! —Submitted by Pat Witty, Fairmont, Minnesota. Don’t miss the 12 funniest things moms have ever said.
To mom, on her special day
In 1976, my grandfather wrote a story about his fondest Christmas memories and submitted it to Reader’s Digest. Recently, while cleaning out his basement, my mom discovered the well preserved writing as well as the letter of regret from the magazine, as the piece was not published. After reading his story, I learned that my mom came from an amazing family—and with the help of my dad, she raised an amazing family herself. Mom, if you are reading this, Happy Mother’s Day! I love you. —Submitted by Megan McPartland, Levittown, New York. Find out the best flowers to send mom on Mother’s Day.
Might as well face it
Coming home from work one day, I found my mom dancing to Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love.” I watched, enthralled, as she moved and sang along, her hips twisting to the beat, big smile plastered on her face. It had been a long while since I’d seen her dance, so this display of pure joy was infectious. She died unexpectedly in her sleep a few weeks later. I have many memories of her that I’ll always cherish, but none quite as happy and carefree as her dance that day. It’s definitely the simple things—thanks, Robert Palmer! —Submitted by Beth Kailukaitis, Kalamazoo Township, Michigan. Science says nagging moms raise more successful daughters.
Pay it forward
You reap what you sow: In her old country, my mom saw a very poor blind woman with her young daughter. She felt sorry for them and loaned them all her savings. Although Mom was worried sick about it, they miraculously returned every cent. Two decades later, when Mom left her Communist country and came to America as a refugee, the Catholic Church gave her money to feed her many children. She returned them every single cent, and her children continued to pay back through worldwide charities. Mom is now 90 years old and has a richly blessed life. —Submitted by Teresa Martin, North Aurora, Illinois. Did you know you get these 5 traits from mom?
A scarlet symbol
My mother was my best friend. She loved cardinals, the male red ones. When she got sick with pancreatic cancer and knew death was near, she told me to always look for the red cardinal—that would be her. I never paid too much attention to that statement; I was too busy becoming an adult. Twenty-five years later, every time I feel at my wits’ end, there is a cardinal flying past me or in a nearby tree. Is it a coincidence, or my mother, all these years later, letting me know that everything will be OK? I’ll take the latter. —Submitted by Priscilla Hartling, West Allis, Wisconsin. Check out 10 things about raising girls that moms wish they knew sooner.