“Storytelling can change a room. It can change lives. It can change the world.”
— Gwenda LedBetter

This month’s issue was all set to be Part 2 of “Getting great answers,” but it got hijacked by Mother’s Day. This past Sunday I had to laugh, lounging in bed, as my children and husband came up the steps to my bedroom, bringing the traditional tray of breakfast, homemade cards and surprise trinkets. It wasn’t because they were “shushing!” each other to be quiet that I laughed; it’s because they were fighting.

My husband let our youngest, our six-year-old daughter, carry the box of trinkets, and since he wasn’t ready to let our oldest (age 10) carry the tray of omelet, bacon, fruit cup and steaming coffee up the stairs, that left only a paltry clump of cards for him to deliver – and he wasn’t happy about it.

Eldest child, sullen. Husband, aggravated. Youngest child, victorious. Happy Mother’s Day!

You might want, you might hope for the best part of them to shine through, but life happens, and every mother knows it. You know they love you. You know there are things they love doing with you – as you love doing things with them. But wouldn’t it be nice to hear about it, pure and unadulterated – just once?

A tribute to mothers

That’s why I wanted to put together a Mother’s Day tribute for my sister and for a friend – because I could. About a month before, I gave each child a list of questions to ponder about their Mom and their relationship with her, then set a day for our clandestine audio “interviews.” They told me what they loved about their Mom, and what made them proud. They told me what they loved doing with her, and what they used to do with her that they missed. They told me what she meant to them. Listening to their answers, it was hard not to cry. Thinking about their answers, it is hard not to cry now! We edited them a little, added beginning and closing music, and put a picture of all their kids on the front of the case.

Do you think the mothers cried? Do you think the kids were teary-eyed? In fact, just about everybody cried. And the look on my sister’s face as she listened to each child, eyes overflowing, was priceless. The scene at my friend’s Mother’s Day gathering, I hear, was about the same. And the great thing about it, is that this gift only gets better as time goes by, after their voices have changed and they have moved on to other things.

There’s no reason why you can’t put together such a tribute yourself – for your spouse or sister or parent or child – using your digital recorder or your video camera, and some planning. And don’t forget the Dads. You could even start a tradition of recording the kids every year (if they’d let you) – one year for Mom, the next year for Dad.

And speaking of Dad, Father’s Day is June 15. There is still time!

It is just coincidence, I guess, but in the next month I have three Audio Keepsake interviews scheduled with mothers in their 30s, each asking their mothers to talk about their lives. I am excited, the daughters are excited, and I think even the mothers are excited. This is the type of gift that takes a little planning and a little effort, but when you have the finished product in your hand, you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner – and more often.

For some excerpts from the kids’ tributes to their Moms, click HERE.

Our business is called words pictures stories, and we help people capture and share their stories, using audio and video. Our new service, Audio Keepsakes, help people reflect on the important events and elements of their lives. Our edited memoirs help people tell the story of their lives by adding photos, home movies, memorabilia and music to their first-person narratives in a documentary-style format.

To view some video samples of our work, click HERE.