This week, EpicChange.org is embarking on a project to channel our love for our mothers into a project to benefit the work of one awesome woman, Mama Lucy Kamptoni, who built a school for the children in her village, Arusha, Tanzania, with funds raised from a small chicken farm. That school, which began with only 10 students has blossomed to serve more than 400 children, and is ranked #2 out of 118 schools in the district.
You can learn more about Mama Lucy and her work at To a Mama With Love. To honor all her and all the women who give their hearts and lives to raise and educate children, I am creating a heartspace for my mom and donating to the cause in her name at the main site, found here. I invite you to do the same for your mother.
And because I like to put my mouth where my money is, I’d like to tell you about my mom and how she’s shaped my view of the world.
My mom offered me ice cream after my first big breakup.
She bandaged my knees when I skinned them. She wiped away my tears when I was the only girl in my class not invited to the big birthday party. She soothed, and comforted, and scolded when necessary.
She raised five children, and any mom knows that each kid comes with their own challenges and joys. Some of those challenges are bigger, like fighting for the education of a special needs child. Some of them are smaller, like making it to your daughter’s orchestra concert after putting in a long day at your small business–after months of squeaky rehearsals that could be heard through the whole house.
She raised a nurse, a writer, an educator-trailworker-sustainable farmer-vagabond, a special needs child who’s on the verge of going into the world to work for the first time, and the world’s sweetest ten-year-old. Answering to the diverse needs of such diverse children could never have been easy; when one needed comfort after a rejection, another was beyond all contact in the wilds of Alaska, and another needed encouragement to keep working to become a healer.
My mom has never liked having her children far away, a feeling shared by most parents. And yet, when I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue my college career after a turbulent freshman year, she recommended alternate paths that would take me far from home but give me experience in the world. And when I decided to give my sophomore year a try, she supported that, as well. She supported my decision to change my major from the safe choice of Secondary Education English to the riskier English Lit.
And when I got sick my junior year, she was the one I called after a night spent crying and getting sick on the cold bathroom floor. She accompanied me to every doctor’s visit and surgical procedure–of which there were many. She rejoiced with me as I embarked on a long, difficult recovery.
When I graduated, I think her smile was the widest. And when I got married, her tears of joy were the most sincere. They were definitely the most plentiful, aside from my own.
She’s my mom. She gave me life and showed me how to make every day worthwhile. She showed me how to rise above every challenge the day throws at me. And more than anything, she’s shown me the true meaning of giving, and the true meaning of love.
My little sister, Rachael, age 22, has a few words of her own to share:
Mom, I appreciate you as my mother. Because I appreciate having you as a mother to me. I really like you as who you are.
Every time, that you come in my room to wake me up. You’re there on every side. When I wake up on my own by myself. I see you putting makeup on every day. I look at you how much what you look. I even told myself, that you do look beautiful without the makeup on your most beautiful face of all time.
When I’m at home by myself and, sometimes I’m not at home. I will still miss you everywhere. When you go to Aunt Missy’s house and to work. When I’m at a meeting with Dana. When I’m with Kristy to go to see a Penguins game.
You are my most favorite mother in the whole planet earth. You are the most beautiful woman. You are the most incredible cook on the planet. You are my #1 fan.
I love you!
And my little brother, Brendan, age 10, has his own tribute:
Mom is good cause she cares for me no matter what and I love her no matter what.
I invite you to not only donate to Mama Lucy’s cause, but to blog about and honor your own special mama. Leave a link in the comments, and I’ll update this post to include it. Not a blogger? Tweet about your mom with the hashtag #ToMamaWithLove. This Mother’s day, let’s show our moms how much we appreciate everything they do, all while supporting another awesome cause!
Special thanks to Jordan Knox for getting me involved in this incredible effort. He is, indeed, a solid 8.0 on the handsome scale–and a solid 11.0 on the awesome scale.