began in 2003, we didn't realize how often people would come talk about their moms in our recording booths. Their age didn't matter — that first, most intimate bond leaves an impression that most people never forget. Almost seven years and more than 30,000 interviews later, StoryCorps is still collecting interviews about moms and preserving them in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. We're thrilled when people tell us that the 40 minutes they spend at StoryCorps were some of the most meaningful moments of their lives.
I love the chance to dig deep into our archive of interviews and start listening through the stories contained within; it's one of the great joys of putting together a StoryCorps book. And when I sat down to work on Mom, I had plenty of material to work with. I read countless powerful stories of struggle through hard times, of learning with your children as they grow, and of unyielding love. A few dozen of these stories stayed with me throughout (and remain with me still) — and it's these stories that you'll read in the pages of this book. Their wisdom, devotion, and enduring love inspired and moved me, and I hope they'll do the same for you when you read Mom.
As a new parent, I found myself taking notes on the insight that these mothers had passed to their children. One mother tells her daughter, herself a new mom to a baby boy, "As a parent you can make a lot of mistakes, but you can always fix them.... You'll make mistakes — you're a human being. So just forgive yourself and move on." In another story, a man tells his daughter about his mother's words of wisdom to him: "Just do the best you can, and I will always be proud of you, and I will always love you."
The mothers in Mom remind us of the human spirit at its best, and what amazing, heroic work it is to be a mom. In each story in this book, I hope you'll find something to inspire you to sit down with your own mom and ask her the questions you've always wanted to ask — or to remember her in a conversation with a sibling or other loved one. At www.storycorps.org/book, you can download a beautiful gift card inviting your loved one to record an interview with you. You'll also find StoryCorps's "Do-It-Yourself" instruction guide with all the information you'll need to do your own interview in the StoryCorps style. By reading this book, and by recording your own conversation with a loved one, I hope you'll discover that listening truly is an act of love.